21Aug
0

If you can do pretty much anything online, why are you still leaving the house? It’s true: The internet is a dream come true for agoraphobics and those who prefer their own company to that of others. Of course it’s healthy to go out and be social, but at the same time why should you leave the house if you don’t have to? Plus, you get good karma points by lightening your carbon footprint, saving money on things like gas or public transportation and you can save the most precious commodity of all online: Time.

Sure, you might have a job that doesn’t offer a virtual environment, but you’re probably still leaving the house for unnecessary reasons. If you want to maximize your time and save money to boot, check out these things many people don’t realize they can do online:

1. See a doctor

There are certainly instance where a virtual check-in (even with video) isn’t going to work for your medical needs. However, for many routine check-ins or even a virtual session with a psychologist, it’s just as effective to do it online. Plus, with lower overhead your bills might even be lower if you’re paying out of pocket. If you have insurance, many reputable online doctors might be in your network.

2. Deal with the drycleaners

Check out your local drycleaners and you’ll likely find one that doesn’t just pick up and deliver, but lets you choose the dates and schedule online. That means no more scrambling for parking, leaving the house just to get your suit cleaned, or otherwise wasting precious time.

3. Taking the kids to school

You already know an online degree is a great option for adults, but did you know virtual schools are becoming more common for kids, too? With overcrowded schools, cyber bullying and classmates who are at different levels, many kids benefit from taking online courses. Just make sure they still get plenty of socialization, too.

4. Getting pampered

Who has time to drive across town to the salon? There are mobile salons gaining in popularity, and you can schedule one to stop by your house by making an online appointment. These are more common in major metros.

From scheduling online package pickups to scouring the internet for the perfect gift, you can do virtually anything online. It’s easy, you can find more affordable options, and you maximize the hours in the day.

21Aug
0

With skyrocketing energy bills and winter just around the corner, you should consider looking into alternative methods of heating your house. Your furnace might do the job, but is it affordable? Whether you use alternative heat sources in conjunction with your traditional furnace or you want to try something a little more energy efficient, there are plenty of choices out there to allow you to stay warm affordably.

Geothermal Heating Systems

These nifty little systems use the heat of the earth to warm your house. The stable temperature of the earth ranges from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your home’s latitude, so the temperature inside the earth is often higher than the outside air thus taking less energy to get your house to a comfortable temperature. Big coils are buried and circulate a mixture of water and antifreeze. The liquid is heated to the temperature of the earth and then run through the house where a compressor pulls the heat from the water. These systems can also be used to cool your home in the summer, saving you from running the AC constantly. Up front costs can range from $7000 to $15000, but geothermals usually pay for themselves within six years of installation.

Pellet Stoves

If you love the intense heat from a wood stove but don’t like the smoky smell that accompanies it, you should look into a pellet stove. These stoves are heated with renewable resources like sawdust or switchgrass and can heat an entire house. Up front costs of a pellet stove range from $1500 to $3000, while pellets usually run about $150-$200 a ton. On average, you should expect to go through two to three tons of pellets, meaning your heating bills could only cost you around $600! If you can find a local source of pellets, your costs will be even less as a big portion of pellet costs are comprised of freight charges.

Ductless Heat Pumps

Most traditional heating systems use ducts, which means that the air comes from the furnace and blows through ducts that are installed throughout the house. A ductless system uses small cut outs in the wall in individual rooms. The heat pump will pull cooler air from different rooms of the house and flush it into warmer areas with quiet fans. You can choose to heat just a few areas of the house or the whole house, whereas a furnace will make you heat the entire house. The ductless system is energy efficient and saves you from the wear and tear of constantly running a furnace. According to this site, there’s even an $800 rebate for houses that upgrade to ductless systems.
Don’t feel stuck this winter with crippling heating bills. Thanks to technology, you have a choice to take charge of your energy consumption and keep your wallet full even through the coldest days of winter.

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20Aug
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houseflip

House flipping, the practice of buying investment properties and quickly reselling them for a profit became very popular in the early 2000s. Investors purchased homes in need of repair at lower-than-market value prices, fixed the problems in the home and then sold it for a profit. Although the term “flipping” was fairly new, the practice of buying and reselling houses as an investment has been in practice for many years.

Period of Unprofitable Flipping

Unfortunately, reality shows such as “Flip This House” and others made it appear as if house flipping was easy and extremely profitable. This led to a considerable number of people entering the real estate investment market attempting to flip houses quickly at tremendous profits. Many of those who entered the house flipping industry overlooked the basics in real estate investing and lost a considerable amount of money.

Common Mistakes

There are several common mistakes that people make when they decide to start investing in real estate, whether it’s to flip a house or commit to a long-term investment in rental property. The first is lack of adequate funding. Although some homes, especially those that need improvements, are offered with low or no money down financing terms, those deals are not easy to find. In addition, if you’re financing the purchase, you’ll be paying interest until the home is sold. In order to make a profit, the purchase price, cost of renovations and any additional costs, such as interest or taxes, must be less than the sale price for the home. It also takes time to perform the renovations, which may also include a need for building inspections that must be scheduled, as well as the time it takes to sell the home. You also need to be able to perform much of the work yourself as hiring professionals will significantly reduce your profits.

Industry Improvement

RealtyTrac released data earlier this year that indicates home flippers earned a 30 percent gross return on investment in the first three months of 2014, one of the highest levels in years. The best market for flipping a home was in Pittsburgh where the return on investment was an average of 89 percent. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington was the second best with a 56 percent return on investment. Experts say that a more stable housing market, slower new-home build market and fewer total home flips have led to the increase in profits in 2014. However, not all markets fared as well for house flipping. Indianapolis, for instance, showed a -12 percent return on investment for homes flipped in that area, while Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg showed return of investment of -11 percent. However, experts caution that some markets had relatively few flipped houses and the cost of renovation was often not included in the data.

Although flipping houses can be hard work, if you have knowledge in construction, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, you can earn good profits on real estate investment of homes that need repairs. According to this website, funding is available for those who are interested in entering the house flipping or other real estate investment market.

15Aug
0

nature

High-quality, science-based natural ingredients are the way forward to better health and wellness. These ingredients are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities to the latest compendia of quality standards. According to this blog, these are available to the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and functional food industries in a variety of products.

Nutritional Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, and it is important to buy products that are grown, collected and manufactured to the industry recommendations. Some of the most beneficial are:

• Aloe Vera – an inner-leaf freeze-dried powder that helps the gastrointestinal tract and supports an already healthy immune system. It also supports normal blood sugar, stomach acid and cholesterol levels. It is an anti-oxidant as well as one of the best burn repair products available.

• Beta-Carotene – is a well-known antioxidant that protects the body from damage that free radicals cause. It improves the reproductive and immune systems. It is converted in the body to Pro-vitamin A retinol.

• Vitamins – a whole range of top-quality vitamin supplements are available that meet the standards of being GMO-free, Animal-free, Allergen-free, GSE/TSE-free, Halal and Kosher. These products are suitable ingredients for any dietary supplement. Vitamin C protects the immune system and is part of the body’s process of manufacturing collagen for younger-looking skin. It also protects against cardiovascular disease and prenatal health problems. It’s derived from many different fruits and vegetables. Vitamin B complex contains the essential B vitamins to protect against heart disease and stroke. It’s essential for healthy hair, skin, liver and gastrointestinal tract.

• Minerals – calcium is one of the most important minerals in the human body. It not only strengthens teeth and bones, it also aids muscle contractions, blood clotting and transmission of nerve signals. Iron is essential for building red blood cells, and a deficiency in iron can lead to anemia.

• Amino Acids – there is a long list of essential amino acids for the optimal functioning of the body. They are required for cell replacement and a full spectrum can be found in fresh Atlantic salmon. This protein source is easy to digest and supports metabolic recovery and regeneration of muscle mass. It makes a significant difference towards wellness for people who are sports enthusiasts, elderly, diabetic or post-surgery. It can be used in conjunction with antibiotics, chemotherapy and other prescription medications.

• Soy protein isolate – provides all the essential amino acids and is low in fat and cholesterol-free. It is kosher, GMO-free and food-grade with a neutral flavor, which makes it ideal as a food or beverage additive.

In order to be beneficial, dietary supplements need to be easily digestible and taken in the proper doses. The technology today allows for these botanicals, amino acids, vitamins and minerals to be extracted and processed without losing their nutrients and other beneficial properties, so they can be packaged and delivered to consumers who want to improve their health and wellbeing. They are used in a wide variety of products manufactured for dietary food and nutritional supplements.

14Aug
0

Not in the mood? Sometimes it happens but you don’t really want to tell your significant other the thought of a pint of ice cream and binge watching Netflix sounds more appealing than getting frisky. It’s crucial to have a log of excuses ready to go. However, you need to get creative because using classics like “I’ve got a headache” screams of falsity and your SO might end up offering you a painkiller instead of respecting your need to finish the last season of Breaking Bad (again).

Of course, the options for your excuses will sometimes be dictated by your gender. If you play your cards right, you might be able to swing a raincheck on top of a little pampering. You can always customize your excuses for your own situation and preferences, but here are a few samples to get started. Who knew putting something off could be so simple?

1. Sprained muscles

When you sprain or strain a muscle, people have to take your word for it. There’s no tangible or physical evidence, and it also shows proof that you were working hard for that ripped body (perhaps a little too hard). It earns you sympathy points, “heals” quickly and makes you look like a badass.

2. You’re coming down with something

The early stages of the flu or cold can be tough to spot, but you feel them immensely. However, there’s very much truth to 24 hour bugs and many times your body can fight off an illness before it takes over. This buys you a day, plus it also shows that you care too much about your SO to want to give him or her your illness.

3. Ply them with food

Food hangover, anyone? If you’re in the mood to splurge, you can always whip up (or pick up) a delectable meal and encourage a little gluttony. Few people are in the mood when a food baby is present, and you’ll shine because you treated them to an indulgent meal. Just be careful with any wine or cocktails, since those are an aphrodisiac.

4. Hearing the kids

Obviously this one will only work if you have kids at home, but wanting to prevent them from the traumatizing ordeal of hearing their mom or dad getting it on is a very valid excuse. You can also be worried that one of them is getting ill, which means you need to play doting parent for the night.

13Aug
0

newjobhunt

Whether you’re unemployed or looking to get out of your current position, starting a new job search can be a thrilling yet scary experience. While you might be focused on impressing prospective employers, you shouldn’t sell yourself short.

Keep in mind that employers should also be working to make their open positions appealing to candidates like yourself. As you explore your new career options, it’s essential to examine the benefits thoroughly before you agree to a new job.

Here are some of the primary items to keep an eye out for during your search for new employment.

Dental

While many companies offer basic health care packages, their offerings are often separate from dental care benefits. Inquire about the dental coverage options and providers.

You might discover that a prospective employer doesn’t offer dental coverage at all, or that their plan has only an extremely limited choice of providers. These offerings may sway your decision to pursue employment at that firm, especially if you expect to be needing significant dental care work in the future.

Transportation

What does your daily commute to work look like? Will you be expected to travel frequently for your role?

If a company does not provide travel reimbursement or assistance to its employees, then you might end up losing money by paying for gas, automobile maintenance, and other expenses. Before committing to a position, try to estimate the actual commuting costs involved with working on site and arranging business trips.

Some companies provide transportation benefits, such as bus passes, free parking, and toll passes to alleviate the cost of your daily commute. Those are the ones you want to work for.

Education

Certain companies are dedicated to the continued professional development of their employees. If you’re hoping to return to school in the future to get further professional training, you might want to discuss that with your future employer.

Companies with education reimbursement programs can pay for your classes if the content is relevant to your duties.

Health

Examine the health benefits available through a prospective employer thoroughly to be certain they will meet your needs. Also, check to see if you will have workers compensation benefits to protect you against on-site and work-related injuries. These benefits are vital to your health and wellness.

Are you taking the next step in your professional trajectory by seeking a new job? Make sure to review carefully the benefits on offer before you sign the contract. These details can protect your health and advance your professional development.

 

12Aug
0

supplements1

You’ve heard the arguments from whole foods only advocates, and what they say seems to make sense. Why would you take a supplement for something when you could get it from a local, organic whole food instead? Going with whole foods can help you plan healthier meals, feel fuller with fewer calories if done wisely, and supports the local economy. Isn’t this a win-win situation?

In an ideal world, yes, but it’s virtually impossible for almost anyone to get 100 percent of their nutrition from foods alone. Once you start adding in the need for all those minerals and vitamins you’ve never heard of (but which are paramount), you suddenly realize you’d need a 5,000+ calorie per day diet to work it all in. Unless you’re a professional body builder or Dwayne Johnson, that’s not going to work.

A case for supplements

It’s true: Whenever possible, get as many vitamins and minerals as you can from whole foods. However, there’s a caveat. A lot of people have food sensitivities or health issues (such as high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, etc.) that makes it very difficult to get the nutrition they need from foods without upsetting their sensitivities or health issues. Let’s say you want to get in your daily reverstrol, but you’re pre-diabetic and there are only a few places to get this naturally (the skin of red grapes, mainly). They’re loaded with sugar, so what can you do?

Do the best you can given your unique parameters, budget and preferences and then supplement the rest. However, don’t just reach for the most available or cheapest supplements available. Do your research and choose a supplement with no additives and with reviews from independent testing organizations. Many times, you can get all natural ground supplements (turmeric is a great example) that’s basically the same thing as spooning powdered turmeric from your spice cupboard.

Mix things up

Humans are prone to getting into ruts, and that’s never truer than with supplements. Change up what you eat each week so that you’re getting your nutrition from different whole foods each week and supplementing with others. To make sure you’re on track, get an annual nutrition deficiency test from your doctor. Together, you can pinpoint where you need some work and test which foods and/or supplements your body responds to best.

Supplements are just what they sound like: They “supplement” a healthy diet, they don’t replace it. Treat them as such, and the path to health will be much smoother.

 

11Aug
0

Heat shrink is one of those tried-and-true products fixing everything that withstands high heat, from metal to thick plastics. In fact, this video shows a savvy consumer fixing his vehicle’s air intake with heat shrink, showing that even cars have a temporary solution with heat shrink. However, there are many safety concerns regarding heat shrink, making it critical to use this material only for specific projects.

Choose the Right Size

Heat shrink usually comes in cylindrical shapes with varying diameters and material thicknesses. Consider your project’s size and match it to the heat shrink’s diameter. The heat shrink should be wider than your item, allowing it to easily slide on. It should also have a suitable thickness to avoid cracking or splitting during the heating process. If you have a particularly sharp or heavy-duty item to fix, use thicker heat shrink. For basic wire insulation projects, thin heat shrink is more than adequate. It should last longer than any other connection strategy, such as duct or electrical tape.

Heat Tools

The choice of heat tools is considerable, but most people use the traditional heat gun for the best results. It’s possible to use a torch for experienced technicians. A torch gives off an actual flame, however, making it crucial to keep the flame off the heat shrink to avoid melting it improperly. Other savvy heat shrink enthusiasts place their item in an oven to activate the material evenly across its surface. Whatever your heat tool selection is, follow all safety precautions to keep yourself safe from harm. Burns are a risk of this repair tactic.

The Heating Process

For torches and heat guns, activate the tool and move it carefully toward your item. The heat shrink should already be placed on the right area to cover permanently. This also applies to oven heating strategies. Wear a glove on your free hand to avoid any accidental burns. Carefully turn your item as the heat shrink slowly adheres to the surface. Ideally, you want the material to conform around the item uniformly. Pull the tool away from the heat shrink if it appears to warp. Although you’re heating it, the heat shrink shouldn’t have any damage to its outer surface.

Check for Damage

Heat shrink may seem to adhere quickly to the item’s surface. Once you see a lapse in shrinking action, turn the tool off. Inspect the item for any damage. Heat shrink that has been excessively heated could develop low areas and warping. Any accidental cuts into the heat shrink prior to installation will be amplified, allowing the item to spill out of these bulging holes. If you see any significant damage, cut the heat shrink off and try again. Adhering this material to your items is an art so repeating the process isn’t unheard of for amateur users.

Even if you follow all the instructions, use your best judgment when using heat shrink. This seemingly perfect repair strategy does use excessive heat to work, requiring a sharp eye and hand to safely activate the material.

09Aug
0

When you run a business, the key to a sleek workday is quality employees. From technicians who have fixed machines for 20 years to the fresh salesperson, it’s critical to keep your company filled with knowledgeable people. Not only do profits soar, but professionalism reflects off employees and on to the customers. They’ll be pleased to purchase an item or service when treated right by a smart representative. Keeping those employees, however, takes creative management.

Cross-Training Perks

According to this website, a talented employee pool needs to be nurtured with stimulating training throughout the year. Cross-training is one of the best ways to shore up all your employees’ talents. Newer hires work with seasoned veterans to learn tried-and-true protocols, for example. All employees feel happy with their positions because each person learns something new, regardless of their seniority. This strategy also helps the company by reducing training issues with new software, for instance. Because everyone has a chance to practice with the new computer system, the transition process isn’t as difficult as once thought.

New or Transfer?

Every manager knows hiring a new person off the street is one of the most expensive parts of business. From interviews to training programs, a lot of money is dedicated to this one person who may quit during the probationary period. Management is often rewarded with a turnkey employee by networking with their own employees and industry colleagues. For example, you may offer a finder’s fee to an employee finding a friend who fits the open position perfectly. Your employee essentially vets the applicant out for you, saving the company substantial money.

Keep it Moving

Knowledge always needs to flow to the entire company to keep everyone abreast of industry trends. If there’s a chance of a product being discontinued, call a meeting to discuss this pertinent information with the employees. Rumors and poor company morale reduce your profits and may even contribute to workers leaving permanently. Bringing a reasonable amount of information to the forefront is critical to make the workforce feel like they’re part of a team. Secrets and closed door meetings only feed the fire of inadequacy, creating a culture of disgruntled employees.

Simplicity Pays Off

If you see other companies paying out huge bills for specific perks, such as a personalized gym in the basement, you don’t have to feel obliged to copy the same idea. In fact, most employees aren’t looking for expensive perks. Everyday contributions must be met with appreciation. People want to be recognized for their work. Announce their name during a meeting or offer them a free lunch for their effort. The fact you recognized them only motivates them further to achieve even more.

From a simple “thank you” to a new skilled learned, employees stay with a company for a variety of reasons. It’s up to management to hone in on motivational factors that work for their workforce. Whether you offer a free lunch every Friday or quarterly bonuses, all employees simply want appreciation for their efforts every day.

08Aug
0

Few creatures are more feared in nature than the King Cobra. A squirrel nearly meets her doom at the fangs of a cobra, but is defended by the resident snake hitman, the mongoose. Watch how the battle unfolds with “Speed Kills”, a new series from the Smithsonian Channel that utilizes high speed film to capture nature’s most intense battles. Each killer’s abilities and skills are broken down with state of the art technology, but the battles often turn out differently than one would expect. Check out the outcome of the mongoose vs. cobra battle below:

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