Friday, July 21, 2017

Homes That Dreams Are Made Of

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Most of us who are lucky enough to own our own homes would typically agree with the well known proverb ‘home is where the heart is’. Owning a house of your own is something that you aspire to when you are young and taking your first tentative steps into adulthood. Once you consider yourself a fully fledged grown up, have a career and a regular income, you will probably be ready to take the next step, namely a step onto the property ladder.

Buying your first home can be a nerve wracking experience. After all, it is probably the most expensive purchase that you will ever make, so it is important to take your time and make the right choice. Borrowing money, saving and signing your very first mortgage deed is a terrifying prospect for most of us but rest assured, it could be a good thing because this could mark the beginning of the rest of your life.

Meeting, getting to know and marrying your chosen life partner often goes hand in hand with a house purchase. For those who are blessed, children may follow and all of a sudden that little house which once seemed almost palatial can begin to feel increasingly cramped. Babies arrive and bring with them masses of equipment, toys and ‘stuff,’ with every nook and cranny soon to be filled with strollers, travel cots, sterilisers and playmats. Then they grow into toddlers and collect unfeasibly large amounts of toys and more ‘stuff’ which inexplicably multiply year on year when Christmas and birthdays come around. It isn’t long before you can go from feeling like king of the castle to a lodger in your own home.

As life moves on and families grow, many of us choose to extend our homes in a bid to create more space for our rapidly expanding brood, adding on playrooms, games rooms and family areas or making more of the outside space instead. If there is money available some will look to buy a bigger property which they can grow into and some of us on the other hand just sit tight and make the best of what we have got.

That said, these days we are increasingly aware of the property market, both where we live and further afield, and it is perfectly natural for us to regularly scan the real estate pages online if only to have a good old nosey at the neighbours’ decor and pass judgement on what they did to their garden!

It is in those ‘sit tight’ moments, however that our thoughts can often turn to some of the amazing homes that we read about and see on the television property programmes. These are the types of homes that we could never even imagine being able to afford, but they are themselves aspirational and undoubtedly inspirational in their own right. We can spend hours marveling at the jaw dropping designs of some of the world’s most incredible architectural creations. We can only imagine what life would be like and marvel at how the other half live.
From ocean front mansions to sprawling country estates with unbelievable amenities, let’s take a look at some of the world’s most covetable properties.  
Set on 189 feet of golden sand on the Kona Kohala Coast is the breathtaking oceanfront estate, Kamuela in Hawaii. This property boasts a patio which spans more than 1000  square feet alone, which is more than the average modest sized house! Couple that
with an awesome infinity pool, so beautifully
designed that it appears to just float in from the ocean, and you have one of the most beautiful beach front residences ever seen.
         
If you love the water but don’t need all that space, then maybe a modern luxury houseboat in Seattle is more your thing. Still, with incredulous ocean views, one such creation by architect Jim Olsen features contemporary fixtures and fittings and luxury amenities that you could only dream of

If playground crossed with bachelor pad is more your thing, then look no further than the Sandcastle Estate, Bridgehampton, New York. Stretching across 31,000 square feet the property offers a two-lane bowling alley, golf simulator, a skateboard half-pipe, a rock climbing wall with gym and complete spa facilities thrown in too. A definite man cave if ever we saw one.

If you like a bit of history in your home, then you may want to take inspiration from the historic mansion that was built in 1908 by acclaimed architect Alfred F Rosenheim as his personal residence. In latter years this has been the setting for numerous films and tv shows, probably most recently American Horror Story.

As we begin to look further afield, the properties just seem to get better and better. Who wouldn’t want to spend time at the Lawedua Estate on Wakaya Island, Fiji? A vacation favourite for the likes of Celine Dion and Jim Carey, this property achieves what so many of us set out to capture with our own modest homes, seamlessly blending indoor and outdoor space into one.

And the list goes on. Residences inside cinemas, houseboats, and aquariums you name it, and people have designed and built their homes in and around it. But don’t despair in the face of all this grandeur. With so much information available to us online these days we are privileged to be able to see inside some of these wonderful homes. We may not be able to replicate them, but we can still take inspiration from them in some small way and bring it into our own living space.

So if you feel like you are stuck in a residential rut use some of what we have seen here to spruce up your home and give it a new lease of life.

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 Colour palette

The easiest way to breathe new life into a tired interior is with a lick of paint. Take inspiration from some of the contemporary and minimalist examples we have seen and note how they have used light yet bright inviting color palettes for a crisp, clean finish, and plenty of natural light to give the impression (or perhaps illusion) of space.

If you like to be a little more adventurous why not opt for a feature wall. You can either paint it a particular colour or choose some striking wallpaper to make a statement.

Fixtures and fittings

Another simple and inexpensive way to freshen up your home is to change some of the fixtures and fittings. Go for simple lines and fuss free surfaces to keep clutter to a minimum. Chrome effect finishes are always stylish with a modern feel.

Furniture

If you can afford to replace your existing furniture that’s great, pick something modern and functional but don’t be afraid to make it a feature too. One chair in a bright citrus colour can provide a neutral room with an attractive focal point. However, if this is not an option why not have your existing chairs reupholstered in a fabric of your choice. This won’t cost the earth if you shop around and they will look as good as new when they are done.

Flooring

Changing the flooring is a major upheaval in any project, and the chances are, one that you don’t want to tackle. Carpets can get a new lease of life with a thorough steam clean. Or maybe you could sand down existing floorboards to see what lies beneath. Alternatively, hardwood floors can be re-stained, varnished or painted for a whole new look, but if you are not in the market for a major project, a stylish new rug will do the trick.

Lighting

Adding a new light fitting or fixture can dramatically change the feel of a room. Lighting is one of the most important fundamental considerations when designing an interior so why not experiment and add a standard lamp or two for a totally different feel.

Hopefully, these examples have illustrated just how we feel about our homes and how, in turn, our homes make us feel about ourselves.

We have looked at some of the reasons that we yearn for change and witnessed some of the most extreme and extraordinary creations that have been designed and built in the pursuit of ideal living.

Finally, we have looked at just how we can take inspiration from some of these amazing dwellings and bring just a little bit of decadence and luxury into our corner of the world. Afterall, it is not all about limitless budgets and extravagant tastes, know how and a sense of style are just as important when designing your home.

So next time you are having one of those ‘sit tight’ moments and your mind strays to the blingtastic homes of the rich and famous, reflect on what we have learned here and channel your energies into some home improvements of your own. However small and inexpensive they can make a significant difference to daily your lifestyle and bring you a little bit of happiness to boot.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Top 3 Places To Live In San Antonio, Texas

If you are looking for a city to live in, you should look no further than San Antonio Texas. It is the ideal city to live, work, raise a family, and have fun. The surrounding area in the city boast of houses and accommodation that are available for purchase in various price ranges, providing you with many options and allowing you to acquire an abode in your budget range. Therefore, whether it is a downtown bungalow you are looking for or a luxurious estate, there is something for everyone! According to reliable reports, the average home in San Antonio that boasts of four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and spreads over an area 3,000, costs $140,000. It is pretty affordable to live in, isn’t it?
So, what is it about San Antonio that makes it so desirable to live in? Well, despite being a metropolitan city, San Antonio is one of the few big cities that still have a small-town feel to it. Without straying away from the topic any further, learn more about San Antonio, Texas by taking a look at the top 3 places to live in San Antonio, Texas.
1. Alamo Heights
Alamo Heights is only around 11 minutes away from the downtown area. Despite its close proximity to the downtown area, it is still quiet and tranquil. Home to many established families, the streets of Alamo Heights are crammed with an abundance of stores that caters to the needs and requirements of the middle-class and the affluent. In addition to that, the neighborhood also possesses plenty of restaurants, museums, bars and boutiques etc.  Purchasing a home in Alamo Heights doesn't come cheap; on an average, a home in Alamo Heights costs $500,000. What is the benefit of living here? Well, you get the opportunity to get a small-town feel in the midst of a metropolitan city!
2. Olmos Park
Were you aware of the fact that the high school graduation rate in the neighborhood of Olmos Park is 97 percent? Pretty impressive, isn't it? The homes in Olmos Park can cost anywhere in between $450,000 to a million and a half. What makes the neighborhood great? Well, there is an abundance of trees, large playgrounds, and less traffic in the neighborhood. In addition to that, the neighborhood also features a business district that is crammed with stores, restaurants and salons. Therefore, there is hardly any need to leave town. The average commute time from Olmos Park to the city of San Antonio is 16 minutes.
3. China Grove
The neighborhood of China Grove is located 12 miles east of San Antonio and is a wonderful place to live in. The neighborhood boasts a median household income of $90,341. Therefore, living there guarantees the opportunity to rub shoulders with affluent families. With fewer than 700 crimes reported per 100,000 people, the neighborhood of China Grove is deemed as one of the safest suburbs in San Antonio. The neighborhood features over 600 restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. If you are looking to move away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you should consider living in China Grove!

Monday, July 10, 2017

4 Natural Ways to Detect Pregnancy

A lot of things change when pregnancy happens. These changes are not just physical, but emotional as well. While many opt to take a pregnancy test right away to determine if they are pregnant, there are still those who would rather look for natural ways to determine if they are pregnant.

There are even homemade pregnancy tests that can be done to determine if you are pregnant. Before the innovation of pregnancy tests that can be bought from drugstores and pharmacies, there were such things as the onion test or the wheat and barley test. Now for those who do not want to buy the drugstore variety, they use some common household items such as bleach or toothpaste to test if they are pregnant.

But even before taking a test, there are already symptoms one can look out for if they want to check if they might be pregnant. While some women do not exhibit all the symptoms, most of the following can be experienced by women who are on their way to becoming a mother.

1. Nausea and vomiting – often referred to as morning sickness, this is actually one of the earliest signs of a possible pregnancy. But do not be fooled by the term morning sickness as it can happen any time of the day and not just in the morning. A lot of things can trigger these symptoms, from the usual food you eat or even your perfume. Some pregnant women opt to eat bland foods like crackers and dry cereals to stop the urge to vomit.

2. Tender breasts – another indication of a possible pregnancy is that a woman’s breasts will feel tender and the nipples will feel tingly. Granted, this may be a normal occurrence for women who are used to these symptoms when their period is nearing, but there are other indications also. Such as the nipples and the area around the nipples, called the areola may get darker. Some may also see white spots on their nipple area.

3. Urinating too frequently – when women are pregnant, the hormones in their bodies undergo changes, such as the increase of progesterone. This causes more blood to flow to the kidneys, which in turn results in the kidneys producing up to more than 25% more than the normal amount of urine. This may happen a lot especially during the first trimester, and also during the last stages of pregnancy as there is more pressure on the bladder while the baby prepares to be delivered.

4. Implantation bleeding may happen – while the usual sign that women look for when pregnant is a missed period, when they get pregnant they may actually experience a bit of brown or pink spotting around the time they should be having their monthly menstrual period. Although the truth is there are also women who get them at the start of their period, so it is important to know the difference between the two. To educate more women about this, here are 12 FAQs about implantation bleeding that everyone can read so that they can know more about it.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

5 Tips To Setting Up At A Craft Fair

It is normal to feel nervous when setting up a show at a craft fair especially if you are doing it for the first time. Setting up the inventory, creating a mesmerizing display, communicating with the customers, and taking credit card orders can overwhelm you. Fortunately, we have listed 5 tips to help you set up at a craft fair. Therefore, you need not lose your sleep worrying about it anymore.
1. Creating Inventory
While creating inventory, it is imperative for you to come up with items that are targeted towards people of all age groups. Therefore, you must have a variety of things. It is advisable for you to have a good amount of each item and not take custom orders. Of course, the items must be priced carefully too, with the price range varying from cheap to affordable to expensive. While at it, you can also create a custom bag to provide to the customers.
2. Importance of labeling items
You must label your items with hang tags in order to create a wonderful impression of your business; you can even add swing tags to the items. By labeling items, you can provide the customers with valuable information such as your contact information, the price of the item, information on how to use it, and how to keep it stored or cleaned. Let's be honest here; your product must be visually appealing to draw the customers’ attention. Labeling is, undoubtedly, one of the best methods of marketing and advertising.
3. Create business cards
An important factor that you cannot overlook is the importance of having your own business card. For instance, if the customers cannot purchase a particular item due to it being sold out, the customers will be able to order again if you provide them with your business card. In addition to that, the customers might also recommend your products to their friends. And, who knows? One of their friends might just be the owner of a huge boutique, who might, in turn, order items from you in bulk!
4. Importance of having a mock display
Prior to setting up at a craft fair, you must already know how you want to set your booth beforehand. And, you can do so by setting up mock displays of your booth at your home. You will be able to know how much space your booth will take up, how you can efficiently place the tables, chair, products, items, lighting and other decorations. Setting up mock displays will help you make your booth more presentable and less cluttered.
5. Rewards
You must have spent days and weeks planning, organizing, and shopping for the success of your booth at the craft fair. Of course, it is important to reward yourself and celebrate after a hard day’s work at the craft fair. And, if you were helped by your friends and families too, you must also thank and reward them. Simple gestures such as buying a round of drinks can really make a huge impact.

Monday, July 3, 2017

5 Things to Teach Your Children from an Early Age

There are hundreds of things you can teach your kiddo throughout their life, but there are a few essentials that enrich both their childhood and adulthood. While some dads might think MLB clothing is a must-have for their little sports fans-to-be, there are simply a couple other musts that benefit kiddos a bit more. Read on to learn the 5 things you should teach your children from an early age.

How to Read and Love Great Books

Literacy is one of the best, most precious gifts you can give to your child. The ability to read and truly love a great book will allow them to escape into whole new worlds as adults, when life and work get a little too stressful. Plus, reading together promotes a strong bond, as bedtime stories are remembered as fond childhood memories.

How to Show Kindness and Acceptance to Others

A day will come when your child will feel unaccepted, or even bullied, by someone else. However, if you instill a love of self and a love for others within your kiddo, they are better equipped to deal with the rudeness of others. And, for the record, kindness and acceptance are contagious. Therefore, when your child shows respect for others, they will likely receive the same respect in return.

How to Care for and Respect Animals

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to have a sincere respect for animals and all living creatures. Therefore, kindness and care towards animals is a significant thing to teach your children. There are so many news stories that detail animal cruelty, and you want your kids to go in the opposite direction. Teach them that love and care of animals is important.

How to Handle Financial Situations

Writing checks has become almost obsolete, but those financial aspects have been replaced with others, like doing math to balance a debit card or making credit card payments. Since most schools don’t teach everyday life skills, you should work with your children to help them understand finances. Run through scenarios, give them imaginary money for these situations, and teach them how to manage their spending and save their earnings.

Manners, Manners, and More Manners

Please and thank you are still bigtime components in teaching kids respect of others and respect for themselves. Go through the steps to help them become polite and kind, with please, thank you, excuse me, and you are welcome. Manners make a difference. And they are attributes that children will carry with them through the rest of their lives.

Use the aforementioned article as a list of guidelines or suggestions on what your children should learn. Remember to instill kindness, acceptance, and love, while encouraging a bond that lasts between you and your child forever.