Archived posts from this Category

Three Aspects of Moving that Can Be Easier

Posted by on 14 Sep 2012 | Tagged as: Advice

Moving to a new home is one of the most difficult things for a person to do. There are lots of different tasks that have to be completed, and there are plenty of important decisions to be made, before you can consider the event well under way. When you first look at the situation, it may seem both overwhelming and hopeless, but there are some tried and true methods of dealing with this. Moving to your new place doesn’t have to be the nightmare that you might be expecting; it can, instead, be a time of transition that you and your family can almost enjoy as long as you plan ahead and take a look at these three major aspects of moving and how you can make them easier.

1. The Family

If you have a family, moving is much more difficult than if you are moving on your own. Not only do you have more stuff to pack and relocate, but you also have to consider the effects that the transition will have on the younger members of the family. Kids don’t like change, so employ the following methods to help ease their fears along the way.

  • Communicate openly about the move. Let them know when and where and how the entire process is going to go. The sooner you tell them, the more time they will have to digest it all.
  • Get them involved in the moving process. They can help pack, organize, or even man a yard sale table when you are cleaning things out. Younger children can help label boxes.
  • Give them something to look forward to at the new home. Yes, they will be leaving some friends behind, but they will have a new room that they can paint and decorate the way they want to.

2. The Pets

Another one of the biggest worries that people have when they are moving involves how to get their animals to their new home without too much trouble. This can be tricky, because unlike kids, pets are unable to speak about the change and how it worries them. At the same time, they will show signs of stress, so you need to plan ahead for moving day and the move in general.

  • Find someone who will help watch your pet on moving day or clear out a room and lock the door or put a sign up so no one goes in that room.
  • Take your pet to the vet to get a final checkup. Make sure that their shots are up to date and get copies of their records to take with you to your new home.
  • Keep your pet’s routine the same so that they see some things remain unchanged even if their environment is changing around them.

3. The Stuff

Moving involves taking all of your worldly possessions and transporting them to a new home. This can be quite difficult, especially if you have a large family or if you have been in a home for a good amount of time. Still, there are some things that you can do to avoid too many problems when it comes time to start the packing process.

  • Consider hiring professional moving companies who can at least transport your things safely to your new home. You can also hire them to pack for you if you want to free up some of your time.
  • Weed things out as you pack or clean the home. A good rule to follow involves getting rid of anything you’ve not used in the past year. Have a yard sale to make some money that can go towards moving costs.
  • Use the right packing boxes and materials for the different items in your home. Don’t try to pack glasses or fragile items in boxes that aren’t made for this purpose; they will only get broken somewhere along the way.

While there are plenty of different aspects involved in the moving process, there are some tried and true methods that you can employ to make the entire process easier on everyone. Be sure to keep these things in mind so that you can enjoy the transition to your new home without having to suffer from the stress so often attributed to a move.

Kristy Chin is a writer for With over twenty years of experience in the moving industry and related fields, she strives to provide valuable information to anyone who is facing the need to move in the near future.

The Many Services of Moving Companies

Posted by on 21 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Advice

Are you someone who has just found out that a move is in your near future? Are you dreading the need to relocate all of your things to a new home located quite some distance away? Chances are it isn’t on the top of your things to do list. Luckily that is not a problem as moving companies are available at your request to help you get everything in your home moved to your new place. A moving company can make any move one that is simple and carefree, allowing you to relax while people that actually do enjoy moving, or who are good at the tasks associated with it, take care of the hard work.

What Does a Moving Company Offer?

Professional moving companies can do a little or they can do a lot. It depends on your individual needs and how much you are willing to spend on the services that they offer. Most moving companies honor special requests such as dismantling furniture and loading or unloading the truck. But, should packing and dismantling your furniture be a task that you want to handle on your own, you’ll find that a good mover will work with you and charge you only for the services you need. You will find an assortment of boxes and wraps made available from the mover, making it even easier for you to pack your things on your own while having the expertise of a mover nearby to help.

Hiring a professional moving company also means you are putting yourself out of danger. Heavy lifting can cause back strain and other harmful and debilitating conditions when not properly done. Is this a risk you want to take? Are there stairs in your home? Going up and down those stairs can be dangerous, especially when there are boxes and other items in your hands. But you don’t have to worry about these problems with a professional mover there. Older people can also find moving too much of a job for them and can appreciate what a moving company can provide.

Virtually anyone can benefit from a moving company!

A moving company can take the hassle out of getting your items to their new location. Stuffing that king size dresser into the back of the SUV is not going to happen unless you have some sort of magical powers, however they fit quite comfortably into a moving truck. Movers come equipped with all of the necessary tools to move your belongings without trouble. And, to provide you even more assurance, all moving trucks are equipped with tracking systems so you always know where your items are at. These are a few of the wonderful benefits that you will find when hiring a moving company. Whether it is a small move or a large move, a home or a business, consider these services and make your next move easy.

Author Bio: Scott Smith is a moving professional with decades of experience in the industry. He strives to provide information to consumers who are looking for flat rate movers, which has greatly reduced the stress involved for many who read his informative articles.

Rock your Office Cubicle with Cool Appliances

Posted by on 17 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Advice

Do you spend most of your life working in a cubicle day in and day out?  Join the club because I am one of those people.  If you look at it negatively, it could get you pretty depressed knowing that this is what you have to look forward to until you retire.  If you look at it in a positive light, which is what I try to do, there are a lot of people who are out of work who would love to be sitting in your dreary cube collecting a paycheck twice a month.

Another thing that I try to do regularly is to accent my office cubicle with office items that make my working existence better.  When you think of a cubicle, you probably don’t think of the word appliance.  This term is typically relegated to the kitchen.  But, to be honest, there are a couple of appliances that are great to add to your cubicle.  One of those appliances which help my day go by a little smoother is my portable mini fridge.   I bet that if you work in an office, you probably store your lunch in a joint refrigerator.  There is either one in your cafeteria for all employees or maybe you got together with your co-workers and purchased a smaller one for your department.

I’m here to say that the better option is to buy yourself a personal mini fridge that you can store either on your desktop or on the floor under your desk.  I store mine in an out-of-the-way location on the floor under my desk so that it doesn’t clutter up my desktop.  I store my lunch and cold water bottle in it instead of having to head down to the company refrigerator to get it at lunchtime and to be able to drink cold water throughout the day.  I even purchased one of these for my daughter at home so that she can keep cold drinks in her room.

Another small, yet very convenient appliance that I purchased for my cubicle is a one cup office coffee maker manufactured by Black & Decker.  To be perfectly frank, I don’t like the coffee that they give us for free at my work.  I’m happy that they actually spring for coffee for the employees but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  I am very particular when it comes to my java.  If I’m going to drink coffee, it has to be good!  With this single-serve model, I’m able to buy the coffee that I like and brew it as strong as I like since it’s a drip model.  I chose this type over the K-cup models because it gives me the flexibility to add more or less coffee and to brew the type that I love.  It has lasted me now for over 2 ½ years and still works like a charm.  For a small purchase price of $20, I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that coffee maker.

Your office cubicle is your home away from home.  Enhance it with appliances and other office items that help make the days go a little smoother.  If you do, you just might start appreciating the fact that you have a personal working space to commute to each day!

Income Tax 101: Updated Regulations for Claiming Dependents

Posted by on 29 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Advice

People have been claiming others as dependents on their taxes in order to reduce their tax liability and take advantage of many tax credits. At one time, you could count someone as a dependent as long as they were someone you cared for. However, the laws have changed and the people you count as a tax dependent has changed. The following are the updated regulations for claiming dependents.

Who Can Be Claimed As a Dependent?

In order to claim someone as a dependent, they must first meet the criteria of being a qualifying child or relative. However, there are many rules to keep in mind. First of all, only one taxpayer can claim someone as a dependent. For example, if a divorced couple has a child, only one person can claim that child. If you aren’t sure how to handle this situation, ask a professional how to file a tax extension and then take the time to talk to a professional or to finalize the details of your child custody arrangements.

What Are the Basic Qualifications?

In order to claim a qualifying child on your taxes the child must meet the relationship qualification (child, step-child, adopted child, etc), be the proper age (under the age of 19 at the end of the year, 24 if living at home, or any age if permanently disabled), you provided over 50% of the monetary support for the dependent, and they live with you for more than half the year. In order to claim a relative, they must meet many of the same qualifications as children, except they cannot be a qualifying child and they must be related to you in certain ways and have proper citizenship. They also must not be a qualified dependent of someone else. Lastly, they must have made less than the personal exemption amount for that year. Qualified relation status includes all immediate family members and does not end just because the person linking your relationship passed on. For example, if you’re a step-father and your wife dies, you can still continue to claim your step-daughter as a dependent.

What About Foster Children?

The biggest update with foster children is that foster parents no longer have to wait an entire year before claiming foster children. Foster parents can begin claiming foster children the year that they start living with you. If you are unsure about how this works, talk to your state social service agency or the group you are working with to care for your foster child. They’ll know how to best direct your efforts.

Not much has really changed with the rules for claiming a dependent, but you must always follow the rules carefully to make sure your dependent meets the qualifications or risk being audited. This means you need to check the laws every year before completing your taxes and ask for tax help if you are overwhelmed. Just because you could count someone as a dependent one year doesn’t mean you can the next and this has gotten many taxpayers in a heap of trouble.

Lightweight Backpacking Tips

Posted by on 13 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Advice, Outdoors

Are you an avid outdoorsman? Do you love spending time with family and friends in the great outdoors? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are probably well aware of the beauty of backpacking. Backpacking allows you to get away from crowded camping spots and allows you to get back to nature. When it comes to planning a backpacking trip, there are a few important considerations to remember. Below, we will discuss tips on how to pack light on your next backpacking trip.

Plan your hike

The key to having a good backcountry experience starts with a good plan. Figure out where you will be hiking. Plan your route carefully. Once you know the length and duration of your hike, you will be able to assemble the proper gear. Is your hike a short weekend trip? You won’t need to bring extensive survival gear. Is your hike a week long expedition? If so, you will need to plan on bringing a lot more food and other gear items. Planning ahead is essential to a positive backpacking experience.

Trim the excess

Once you have determined the route, length, and duration of your backpacking trip, it is time to pack your bag. Lay everything out before stuffing your backpack, and bring along a scale. Weigh everything you plan on taking with you. Add it all up. This is where you can make some gains towards having a lighter weight backpack. Ask yourself a simple question as you weigh each item: do I absolutely need this? If the answer isn’t an obvious yes, leave it at home. Another thing to think about when deciding if you should bring along a certain item or not is whether the gear item serves more than one purpose. Multi-purpose gear items are more easily justified when packing for a lightweight backpacking trip. Trimming the excess can also mean finding a lighter weight alternative. Look for smaller, more compact substitues for gear you normally bring camping.

Distribute the weight

Another great way to cut down on excess weight is to distribute the weight of larger gear items amongst the group. This obviously only works if you plan on hiking with friends or family. If you are flying solo, you will need to carry everything you need yourself. In a group, however, you can split up heavy group items, like cooking gear and tents. More physically able hikers might be able to carry more weight than others, and this is a great way to distribute the weight throughout the group.

Pack light, hike light

Remember that if you pack light, you will be hiking light. Your back and legs will thank you once you reach camp. Good luck planning your next backpacking trip, and keep these lightweight backpacking tips in mind.

Learning How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

Posted by on 09 Jul 2012 | Tagged as: Advice, Indoors

As children we often heard, “Good night, Sleep tight, Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” We have probably said it as adults; however with the current state of bed bug epidemic in the United States, indeed reports of bed bugs have increased over five hundredfold in the United States alone. There are several theories of how bed bugs have experienced resurgence. Most of them involve the increased mobility of the citizens of the US and international travels.

In this suggestion, bed bugs become the souvenir that you did not want, hitchhiking a ride in your luggage and creating a bed bug problem in your home. When discovering that you have a bed bug problem, getting rid of bed bugs becomes the ten thousand dollar question. Discovering how to get rid of bed bugs is a long and arduous process. There are many companies that advertise that they can get rid of bed bugs in a simple application or two. This is simply not realistic, as a bed bug infestation requires a concentrated effort, and usually the use of several bed bug products designed to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

The first step in your process of how to get rid of bed bugs involves identifying that you have bed bugs. This can be by visually seeing the bugs themselves, or by observing signs of their presence. Bed bugs are nocturnal and very secretive, and do not come out of their hiding, except to feed, and they do not need to feed every day. Observing bites can be a first hint, although the bites are not always identified as bed bugs bites. Finding blood spots on the sheets or small black fecal droppings, resembling black grains of salt can also show a bed bug infestation. In your next step of how to get rid of bed bugs at home, you will need to contain the bed bugs.

Often, people throw away their mattress, box springs, bedding, furniture, etc. This is not really necessary, and encasements can be purchased that are designed to keep the bed bugs in the mattress, box springs, pillow, etc. These encasements are also designed to trap bed bugs into the bed or furniture, causing them to starve to death. These bed bug products have special zippers that have small teeth and no gaps for bugs to get in or get out. After removing the sheets, seal them in a bag and take them to the washing machine.

Wash and dry the bedding on the hottest setting possible for the fabric and dry for at least twenty minutes. Throw away all the bags that you use to transport your bedding or clothes in case there are stowaways. Remove all clutter from the room, as the more hiding places that are available for the bed bugs to hide inside, the harder it will be to get rid of bed bugs. After you have covered the mattresses and furniture, there are several products available to kill bed bugs.

You can use powders, sprays, steamers, and heaters to take the next step in how to get rid of bed bugs. Bed bug products have come a long way from using DDT, a harmful pesticide widely used. DDT was very effective, but deemed as not being safe, and now traps, steamers, safe sprays and powders are the bed bug products of choice. The average home bed bug infestation takes several weeks to get through and requires proven bed bug products and determination and diligence on the part of the homeowner in order to get rid of bed bugs at home.

Is Renting to Own a Home the Best Option for You?

Posted by on 30 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Advice, Finance

The recent collapse in the real estate market and the rise in unemployment rates has turned purchasing a home into an intimidating experience. To alleviate some of the concerns of buying a home, many potential buyers are considering rent-to-own options.

A rent-to-own contract will set the purchase price of the real estate at the beginning of the contract, but the renter does not actually purchase the house for a number of years. By fixing the cost of sale early on, the renter is able to see whether the value of the property rises or sinks before making a decision on whether or not to purchase the property. If the value decreases, a reasonable risk in today’s shaky market, the renter has no obligation to purchase the property. If the value increases, the cost does not increase to the buyer.

Renting to own can be a way to work towards buying a house for people who do not have the means to make a purchase immediately. A portion of the renter’s monthly payments are going to the purchase of the property; the renter is essentially building a down payment with every monthly rent payment. The renter is also buying time to build their credit.

While there are many benefits to a rent to own contract, renters need to be very cautious in reviewing the language of the contract. Some rent to own contracts will be voided if the renter makes late payments, or the late payment will not count towards the purchase of the house. Many contracts will require renters to handle certain repairs, or in some cases renters will voluntarily make improvements to the house. But renters need to remember that if for any reason the purchase does not go through, they will most likely loose any money that they put into the house.

The contract should take into consideration circumstances such as death of the seller, foreclosure of the property, or other transfers. A good attorney can help a renter eliminate the risks of a rent-to-own contract, so the renter can feel confident that he is making a good investment in his or her future.

You can also work with a rent to own service like Ownerwiz. These types of companies help make the process easier for both the buyer and the seller. Ownerwiz and similar companies provide listings of rent to own homes in your area and in your price range. They will also ensure the contract is funded and that your rent to own home becomes a reality.

Whichever road you decide to take, owning your own home is something many Americans will only dream of. If you have the opportunity, do your research and find out if one of the home ownership options makes sense for you.

Acne Treatment Using Aloe Vera

Posted by on 17 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Advice, Health

Aloe vera is considered to be one of the most commonly used “wonder plants”. This is because of the various health benefits this plant can offer. All parts of the plant can be utilized to treat a variety of ailments and diseases.

The Uses of Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a popular ingredient used in countless natural remedies for minor skin abrasions and burns. It can also effectively alleviate inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema skin yeast infection or psoriasis. It is also used as a natural treatment for hemorrhoids and herpes. Aloe vera consumed orally can help relieve health problems, such as constipation, diabetes, stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal tract infections. Aloe vera has also been proven to melt down kidney stones and ease urinary tract infection.

Acne Treatment

Aloe vera utilized in its pure form is an excellent acne natural cure. The inner sap of aloe vera stalk can be applied directly onto the affected areas. Continuous and regular use of aloe vera sap can also help improve the texture of damaged skin. It can also help lighten up skin pigmentation and help greatly reduce the appearance of acne scars. Not only that it cures acne, but it likewise moisturizes the affected areas and promotes new cells regeneration. It also enhances the skin tone, thus making your skin a lot more healthy and youthful looking. For people who have not yet experienced acne breakouts, applying aloe vera directly on their face can help them prevent the occurrence of acne.

There are many ways to make use of aloe vera for acne treatment. One best way of utilizing aloe vera as acne treatment is by using aloe vera in its pure form. Simply gather fresh aloe vera stalks. Cut open the stalk and extract the gel-like sap. Apply the sap directly onto the affected areas of your skin. Let it stay there for a couple of minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly with warm water.

If in the event the aloe vera plant is not available, you may purchase an over the counter aloe vera gel that is formulated with 99% aloe vera. Rub on a sufficient amount of aloe vera gel directly on the affected areas and leave it there as a face mask for 20 minutes.

You may also ingest aloe vera orally. Collect enough number of fresh aloe vera leaves. Thoroughly clean the leaves and place them in a food processor. Blend the leaves until fine. Drink the resulting fluid. You may have it diluted with water or take it in concentrated form. You may also add it to your favorite juice drink. Taking aloe vera extract internally does not just help minimize and prevent acne breakouts but will also cleanse your digestive system. It likewise help cure any other health-related problems.

Three Things I do to Stay on Task and Productive

Posted by on 11 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Advice

Staying productive is tough. There are constantly things calling you to distraction. The internet. The cell phone. Coworkers. Family. The things that can distract you are endless. But, you’ve got to fight the temptation when it arises. Here are three things I do to stay on task and productive.

1. Enlist the Help of Others

If there is one motivating factor that almost everyone can get behind, it’s embarrassment. No one wants to fall short of expectations. No one wants to make promises that aren’t kept. Peer pressure, in the right circumstances, can be a powerful and effective motivator.

So why not use it for good? Why not enlist the help of friends, family, and coworkers to help you stay on task? You can do this in several ways, but the easiest is to simply include them in what you’re doing. Setting deadlines with others involved ensures that you will have to answer to someone if you don’t get your work done.

For example, I know this guy who’s a personal injury lawyer. He has his own law firm, and he’s a solo practicioner. You’d think this would make it impossible for him to enlist the help of others, but he does it. He uses the people that would most like to see action on his cases – his clients. When they sign up he lays out a plan for resolving the case, including specific deadlines. When he makes those promises to his clients it’s easy for him to stay on task.

2. Eliminate Distraction.

I know a guy, we’ll call him “Bill.” Bill gets distracted easily. He has a hard time staying on task and staying productive. He asked me over one day to try to help him out, to help him fix his problem. So I went to his office and just sat down and watched him work for a little bit, to see his style. In the 15 minutes I was there the following things happened: an incoming email notification went off 3 times; a words with friends buzz went off once; twitter notifications went off 4 times; and he received 2 texts.

Can anyone guess what I recommended?

Distractions are going to happen. It’s inevitable. But to be our most productive we’ve got to do our best to eliminate those distractions. Turn off the notifications. Your tweets can wait. Your email can wait. Words with friends can definitely wait.

3. Work When You are at Your Best

Getting back to my personal injury lawyer friend. One day we were going to meet up to talk business, talk life, and just generally catch up (that’s what we business geeks do – get together and hatch plans to take over the world). I suggested we meet up for breakfast, you know, get the day started on the right note. But I was suprised when he told me he doesn’t get to work until 10:00 a.m. every day. When I asked him why he said he hates mornings and he is more productive when he works from 10 to 7 instead of 8 to 5. Hard to disagree with that logic.

Now, this obviously might not be an option for everyone, but even if you are required to be at work for certain hours, there are probably times when you are more in tune with working than others. Recognize this and make sure you take advantage of those super productive times while doing what you can to boost productivity during the off times.

There are no magic pills for staying on task and being productive. It’s a struggle for everyone at one time or another. But if you try out these three things then I’ll guarantee your productivity will increase. Why not start today?

About Me – I’m a personal injury lawyer who knows how important it is to be productive and who works every day to get a little bit better. If you’d like to know a little bit more about me you can check out my website or my blog. Thanks for reading!

St Louis Gutter Cleaning Professionals

Posted by on 05 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: Advice, Outdoors

Most people do not give much thought to the drainage system on or around their home. They assume that if the roof is in good shape that their home and its contents should be well protected. The drainage system consists of much more than just the roof, however. It is also important to consider the rain gutters. All of the water from precipitation gathers on the roof and then flows off. When a good gutter system is in place, this water will flow into the rain gutters. The rain gutters collect the water and then channel the rainwater to another location, usually dispersing it some distance from the actual home. This allows for the water to go into the yard where it will be helpful instead of gathering around the base of the home where it can cause damage. Water that pools around the base of the home can get into the home through window wells or through cracks in the foundation.

For this reason, it is essentially to have a good drainage system on the roof of any home. Even if a good drainage system was originally installed, it may need to be fixed. Many people do not realize that rain gutters can become filled with debris and become clogged. When this happens, it is important to call a St Louis gutter cleaning professional. Most people find that cleaning out the rain gutters is not as easy as they had at first thought. Rain gutters tend to be located high off the ground. It is possible to damage the gutters through the improper placement of a ladder or through excessive body weight leaning against them. It can also be somewhat dangerous to try and clean out the gutters without help. Some people have inadequate ladders or do not know how to use the ladders properly. These situations can lead to significant injuries. The best way to have gutters cleaned is through the use of a professional. The person who calls a St Louis gutter cleaning professional will be able to avoid the hassle of cleaning the gutters. He will be able to rely on the expertise of someone who is used to getting gutters cleaned well and efficiently. The process of calling a St Louis gutter cleaning professional is really not difficult nor expensive.

It actually costs less than most people think. Once a St Louis gutter cleaning professional has been called, he will be able to come to the home quickly. He will look at the gutters and decide what will need to be done. He will have the proper equipment to get the gutters as clean as possible. The good thing is that he will be able to clean the gutters without damaging them, and he will also have the tools necessary to ensure safety. Once he is done, the rain gutters will work well again and there will be no threat of any water getting into the home. It is good to call a St Louis rain gutter professional periodically to have the gutters cleaned because over time they will continue to fill up. The rain gutter professional will be able to make a recommendation as to how often the gutters should be cleaned. He will base this recommendation on the location of the home and the type of foliage that is in the area.

For example, a home with many large trees will likely need to have more frequent gutter cleanings than a home with no foliage at all. The professional will also be able to detect areas on the rain gutters that may have been previously damaged and will be able to fix them.

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