Category: Lifestyle

First Time Homebuyers: The Importance of Home Inspections

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A home represents the single largest investment that most consumers make. First time homebuyers are a group at particular risk for making mistakes during the complicated process. Inexperience and excitement can easily compromise a new homebuyer’s best intentions.

Safety First

Horror stories about homes purchased with significant structural or mechanical system problems are far too numerous. Even homes that look great to the untrained eye are often plagued with expensive problems. Inspectors are trained to uncover faulty construction issues and code violations that can threaten the safety of your family and friends. Shaky deck handrails, subpar electrical wiring, rodents, bad plumbing, toxic substances and chimney hazards represent just a few of the common issues that lurk inside many homes. Inspectors are trained professionals who will provide a detailed report about the condition of the house. According to Bankrate, one of the biggest benefits of using an inspector is the fact that they are hired by you to uncover all the problems of the house and can be trusted to be impartial since they get paid whether you buy the house or not.

Investment Protection

If you pay too much for a home that needs substantial repairs, you undermine your investment and may end up regretting the purchase. Since a home purchase represents a high price in terms of both time and money, it is important to obtain accurate information before deciding on a fair price to pay. After the inspection results are reviewed, you can renegotiate the price to reflect the condition of the home.

Another reason inspectors are necessary is to protect you from buying a home with too many issues. Based on the inspection report, a buyer is allowed to back out of the contract citing problems in the final report. This important report provides a way out of a bad deal.

Budget for Future Expenses

According to Investopedia, an inspection will provide invaluable information about upcoming costs so you can plan for future costs. An experienced inspector can provide advice about how long the appliances should last and when the roof will need to be replaced. Smart buyers factor in these costs when making a decision about a fair price to pay.


There are practical reasons to hire a home inspector before buying a home. Ensuring that the home is safe and represents a solid investment opportunity are two of the main reasons to get an inspection. By tagging along with the inspector, he can point out future expenses so you can budget in maintenance expenses to guarantee that your new home remains in good repair. Knowledge is definitely power when it is time to buy a home.

3 Ways to Cut Costs on Fall and Winter Clothing


Updating your wardrobe each season can be quite expensive. While it’s important to have clothes that are appropriate, updated, and in good condition, there are ways to look great without spending a fortune. Here are three key ways to cut costs when you begin to shop for fall and winter clothing this year.

1. Invest in Transition Items
A few key pieces can help you wear many of your warm weather clothes well into fall and winter. Look for functional knee high boots, thick tights, scarves, jackets, and other items that can help you stretch the length of time that you get out of your favorite pieces. Think layers, a trendy look that will keep you warm and save you money. Pair longer, looser tops with skinny bottoms or vice versa to avoid being weighted down.

2. Look for Bargains
Bargain shopping doesn’t mean buying the cheapest possible items. Rather, it means seeking out high value items at affordable prices. Choosing durable, well made clothing that lasts through several years makes more sense than purchasing inexpensive items that will only make it through one season–even if you are spending a little more upfront. Planning ahead so that you can shop the clearance racks off season can help you save money, too. According to Time magazine, the best time to buy winter clothes (especially coats) is in January and February. Shop discount and consignment sites, both online and in person, for the items you have to have. You should also think outside the box; perhaps hold a clothing swap with your friends to hand off items you don’t wear anymore and get some great new pieces. Or, sell your unworn clothing on consignment and use the store credit to buy things you’ll actually wear.

3. Care for the Clothing You Already Own
Once you invest in the fall and winter pieces that are meant to last, take proper care of them so that they look great for years. Follow washing instructions carefully, remembering that it’s not necessary to wash many pieces after every single wear. According to the money blog Wise Bread, you should always fold heavy sweaters instead of hanging and store with cedar blocks to avoid moth infestation. Using wood or fabric hangers rather than metal protects the clothes you do hang from damage.

By following these three steps, you’ll be able to develop an enviable fall and winter wardrobe for pennies on the dollar.

Insurance Claim Adjusters: How to Work with Them

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Everyone dreads being involved in an accident. However, once they happen, the victims should immediately file a claim and seek monetary compensation as guaranteed by their insurance policy that they faithfully pay. Below explains how to best understand and work with insurance claim adjusters.

Understand the Claim Adjusters’ Background

First, understand that there are different kinds of insurance claim adjusters. There are adjusters who inspect property damage, vehicle damage appraisers who inspect cars after accidents and claims examiners who review documentation and evidence. There are also insurance investigators who deeply probe into clients who they suspect are guilty of fraudulent or criminal actions. However, most people will deal with a car or home claim adjuster. They must determine whether the insurance policy covers the claim and if so, what the appropriate payment should be. They will perform research, gather information, negotiate settlements and authorize payments.

The Vehicle Claims Process

A person who is in a car accident may deal with the three different types of adjusters. There may be one to investigate personal injuries, one for property damage claims and one for vehicles that are totaled. However, most minor car accidents will involve an initial investigator who will perform a comprehensive assessment. Upon receiving the claim, the adjuster will enter the data into their software program so they can prepare their report paperwork. After a few days of receiving the report, they will contact the claimant and perform a short review of the incident and schedule a face-to-face interview. If there are any injuries, the adjuster will ask for written release of the related medical records. However, there is no law that requires an immediate, in-depth report of the accident. Therefore, claimants should take their time to gather their thoughts, write out a detailed narrative and consult with an attorney if necessary.

The Vehicle Repair Process

Adjusters will require an estimate from a reliable repair shop. Claimants should ideally take their car to the dealer or a shop that offers high quality repairs. A car dealer will most likely charge higher amounts than the adjuster is willing to pay, but it is better than going to a small shop with limited experience and mediocre repair quality. When negotiating with an adjuster, the claimant should be firm and persistent while avoiding being demanding and confrontational. Keep in mind that claims adjustors most likely have a heavy case load and are under deadlines with complex paperwork. Therefore, claimants who are disagreeable may experience bureaucratic loopholes that reduce their claim amount or even deny their claim.

Overall, claimants should understand that adjusters will attempt to minimize costs while resolving the claim. Therefore, claimants should perform research, ask the right questions and cooperatively work with their adjuster to successfully process the claim.


Electric vs. Real Cigars: Main Differences to Know


A growing number of people are switching to electronic cigarettes as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. This is also becoming the case with cigar smokers, who now have a wide range of electronic cigars to choose from. Naturally, there are also those people who have never smoked a traditional cigar in their lives, but who are interested in trying the various electronic varieties. However, many newcomers to the hobby may find themselves uncertain of the main differences between electronic cigar and a real one. Here’s a breakdown that can help.


On major distinguishing factor between real and electronic cigars is the cost. Purchasing an e-cigar requires a greater initial investment in most cases, whereas real ones are generally somewhat cheaper per cigar. However, many kinds of e-cigars are reusable, and the only recurring purchases you have to make are cartridges and batteries. Furthermore, depending on the cartridges you choose, many will provide you with as much nicotine as two or more traditional cigars. This makes e-cigars substantially cheaper than their tobacco counterparts.

Fewer Chemicals

It’s widely known at this point that cigars contain roughly 4,000 different chemicals, many of which have exhibited the potential to cause serious health problems. Meanwhile, there is little doubt that e-cigars contain far fewer chemical by-products. Indeed, they possess only three to four ingredients: vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol or both, nicotine and FDA-approved food-grade flavorings.

No Unwanted Effects

Real cigars are famous for their powerful odor that clings to everything it touches, which most people find highly objectionable. Because e-cigars only emit water vapor instead of smoke, the only thing anyone might smell is the pleasant and mild aroma of the flavoring. In addition, using traditional cigars can lead to stained teeth and fingers, bad breath and even oral health problems. Many people also endure aggravating lung problems caused by using real cigars, which e-cigars don’t cause. Electronic cigars allow you to still experience all of the joys of smoking a cigar, but without all of the unpleasant effects.

Greater Personalization

E-cigar liquids come in several levels of nicotine, and it’s possible to purchase ones that don’t contain any. They’re also well-known for their wide array of wonderful flavors, which can include classic tobacco, banana cream pie, ocean breeze or just menthol. This enables you to customize your e-cigar experience according to your personal tastes, or even enjoy a little variety.

Because of their numerous advantages over real cigars, electronic types are a ideal option for anyone who enjoys an occasional cigar. They’re better for the environment, produce no unpleasant odors, cost less, last longer, taste better, offer more flexibility and are considerably safer than their tobacco counterparts.

Wedding Gown Styles: What Your Dress Says About You


A wedding dress is one of the biggest things of a wedding. Expensive, opulent, and usually white, it can tell more about you than simply what kind of dresses you like to wear. Hemlines are one thing, but the style of dress and what kind of wedding it relates to are also fair game for telling your guests more about your personality.

The fairy tale gown is full length, puffy, and opulent. You love to be the center of attention, and you should be on this day. However, if your imagination runs away with the dress, you could get lost under layers of tulle, satin, velvet, and other expensive fabrics.

The short dress – regardless of how puffy, pouffy, or fairy-tale like it is – means you’re unique and, in some cases, can mean that you like a dress you can wear for multiple occasions. No matter the hemline, flare, or sleeves, the short wedding dress can also indicate that you’re a city girl – and the idea of wearing a dress for more than one kind of occasion appeals to you quite a bit. You are the boss of your wedding, and this dress makes sure everyone knows it.

The fishtail or mermaid dress is a unique option. You’re straightforward, confident, and glamorous. You like to be over the top and perfect at the same time. You will have done a lot of planning for the wedding, which will not surprise anyone who knows you well. You will be the object of all the attention on your wedding night – but you must not allow yourself to get so caught up in being as perfect and sexy as you can that you get lost in the crowd as a thing to look at.

The modern gown – this compasses pantsuits, tea-length, cut out backs, and anything that would not have been wanted in earlier times – shows that you are the ultimate maid of yourself. You know who you are, what you want in your marriage, and you are not afraid to show it off. This goes hand in hand with the short dress. You will show the world who you are at the wedding, and no one will be surprised you’re doing so.

The sheath dress – fitted and straight to the floor – shows that you can remain calm, cool, and collected during your wedding. You radiate the understated elegance that everyone will be jealous of on your wedding day. With all your careful planning, you’ll be able to show that you pull off this kind of effort with a look that seems like you’ve spent no effort on your wedding at all.

Elder Care: Help Keep Their Independence

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If you are caring for an elderly loved one, it is important for you to show patience and kindness of them as your loved one’s mobility diminishes. It can be easy for you to become impatient and take over your loved one’s responsibilities.

However, it is best that your elderly loved one remain independent as long as possible. Here are a few suggestions that can help you encourage your elderly loved one to be independent.

Promote Exercise and an Active Lifestyle
Movement is a necessity of life. It keeps the heart pumping, and it increases the endorphins in the brain. Your loved one should keep an active lifestyle.

When you visit your loved one, encourage your elder to take walks around the yard, block or park. You could purchase an exercise DVD that can be used in the home.

Encourage your loved one to go shopping, take trips or complete crossword puzzles. Keeping an active lifestyle will improve your loved one’s self-esteem.

Encourage Socialization
Your elderly loved one needs to socialize and interact with peers. Elderly people who isolate themselves become depressed.

Encourage your loved one to call friends on the telephone. You could also schedule social events for your loved one’s companions. Maintaining relationships with friends will enable your loved one to be independent.

Empower Them to Make Decisions
Your loved one’s mind may be slowing down, but it does not mean that your elder is not able to make choice. Making decisions will provide your loved one with mental stimulation.

Encourage Independent Living
It might be more convenient for your loved one to live with you. However, encourage your elder to live alone for as long as possible. Moving to another home may cause your loved one to feel as if life is slipping away.

If it is not possible for your loved one to live independently, be considerate as you discuss this matter with your elder. Create a space in your home or elder care facility that enables your loved one to have a sense of control.

One way you could do this is by allowing your loved one to decorate the space. Allow your elder to have privacy in the new space.

Use At-Home Delivery Services
Elders who have difficulty driving do not have to miss out on getting their essential items. There are plenty of services that will deliver food, medical supplies and personal care items to their homes. These services enable elders to get their needs met without having to ask for help.

Elderly loved ones do not have to abandon their independence. There are plenty of things to help them lead independent lives.

8 Ideas For Weddings On A Budget


Traditionally, lavish weddings are associated with romance and commitment to marriage. However, a study by economics professors at Emory University shows that the opposite is true, and links longer, happier marriages with cheaper weddings. Of the couples studied, those who spent over $20,000 on their weddings divorced at a rate 1.6 times higher than those whose weddings cost between $5000 and $10,000, and couples who spent less than $1000 on their weddings had a lower than average rate of divorce.

When starting out your new life together, why burden yourselves with wedding-related debts you’ll be paying for years to come? The wedding industry exists to convince you that you simply must have this service or that extra. Instead of spending money on wedding vendors and furbelows, you can trim your costs, keep your budget down, and save that money for things that matter. Here are a few ideas how to do it:

1. Go nontraditional wherever possible.
This is the number one thing to keep in mind, because your costs go up the moment you deal with a traditional wedding vendor. Consider a nontraditional venue: a movie or college theatre, a friend’s backyard garden, a picnic area in a local park.

2. Prioritize.
Pick out one or two meaningful things and splurge on those. Focus on what you and your guests will truly enjoy and remember.

3. Get married in the off-season.
You can save thousands by having your celebration at a time of year local vendors consider their wedding off-season. They’ll be glad for the business and more likely to cut you a better deal!

4. Skip the wedding favors.
These get left behind on the table, or thrown away a month later. After a wedding, nobody talks about how cute the favors were.

5. DIY.
If you are craftsy, or have family or friends who are, the sky’s the limit. You can save on everything from hair and makeup to cake and bridal gown. Or, check out Etsy for great deals on unique and beautiful handmade items.

6. Consider herbs instead of flowers.
You can create a beautiful and symbolic bouquet with live herbs–a wedding tradition dating back to medieval times. Save the cuttings to start an herb garden that will last you for years to come.

7. Have your ceremony and reception in the same location.
You’ll save money on transportation and limo fees, and may be able to negotiate a lower price for using the venue for both purposes.

8. Timing is everything.
Saturday weddings are the most popular, and, accordingly, the most expensive. See if a Friday or Sunday will save you money.

Bachelorette Party Ideas: A Day For Pampering and Fun


Are wedding bells going to ring for one of your female friends sometime soon? Are you thinking of how to throw a memorable bachelorette party? Whether you are the maid of honor or one of the bridesmaids, it helps to start brainstorming ideas for a fun bachelorette party early. Remember that the bachelorette party is primarily about the bride-to be, and make sure the plan is tailored to fit her personality. As for the guest list, the sky’s the limit. Recently the NY Times reported  on a bachelorette party planned and attended by the bride’s mother. Invite anyone, male or female, who the bride would want there. As for the activity, there are endless options.
For example, a spa day allows the bride-to-be to feel completely pampered, with the added bonus of everyone else at the party feeling special as well. Though this can be a pricey option, it is sure to leave everyone feeling relaxed and beautiful at the end of the day.
If the bachelorette likes DIY and wants to save money, consider staying at home for a craft night. Guests can help make wedding decorations and even housewarming gifts for the couple’s future home. A craft night can even turn into an adult slumber party, with wine and storytelling long into the night.
Are you looking for a more adventurous option? Take the bachelorette party on a camping trip complete with s’mores, hiking, and scary stories around a fire pit. Even just a couple days of roughing it out in the woods can create tons of memories that no one will ever forget.
Finally, there is the classic option for a more boisterous bachelorette: a night of bar hopping that can get as wild as the people involved make it. Make everyone wear gaudy t-shirts identifying their role in the wedding, find a fake veil for the bride-to-be, and spend the night making increasingly more emotional toasts to the upcoming marriage that no one will really remember in the morning.
These are just a few of the numerous kinds of bachelorette parties sure to create lasting memories for your engaged friend. As the LA Times reported in 2007 , bachelorette parties are becoming more inventive in recent years so don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Just keep in mind that a bachelorette party is about celebrating your friend and looking forward to her future marriage. Keep the focus on her and have a great time.

Home Design Ideas: Paint or Wallpaper?


Today many property owners grapple with a perennial dilemma when the time arrives to redecorate: paint or wallpaper? Both solutions offer advantages and disadvantages.

Lovely Wallpaper Options

Wallpaper enjoys a new resurgence in popularity. With many attractive color and pattern choices available, this solution fits most budgets.

Manufacturers currently provide both adhesive-backed and non-adhesive wallpapers. Additionally, buyers who visit a home building center enjoy the ability to flip through massive pattern books and select wallpaper derived from paper, vinyl, fabric, foil or cork. The process of identifying exactly the right colors and motifs sometimes requires extensive periods of time. Adventurous shoppers today often select customized options, too.

Some homeowners prefer wallpaper because it will cover superficial blemishes, such as faint cracks or unsightly repairs in drywall, better than paint. Don’t expect it to conceal structural flaws, however. Large cracks still remain visible beneath wallpaper.

The designers from Oprah note a popular wallpaper trend: wallpaper highlighted with attractive metallic gold or silver elements. These glistening colors brighten a room and help compact spaces appear larger.

For someone seeking to redecorating inexpensively, another useful idea involves placing a narrow strip of wallpaper as an accent along the upper walls in some rooms. If the pattern fits designs in other areas of the home, this step can effectively carry forward a unifying theme without requiring a complete renovation of every room.

Attractive Interior Paint

Of course, property owners enjoy a broad range of redecorating options by using paint to brighten and enliven the premises. Water-based latex varieties offer easier clean-up than oil based selections. By asking a retailer to mix paint for you at the store, you enjoy the ability to select from a myriad of possible colors and shades. Additionally, the availability of several types of finishes gives a decorator the power to impact the home’s appearance strategically. Flat, glossy and high-gloss shines help create significantly different surfaces even within a single room.

People with artistic ability may enjoy modifying the appearance of a wall even further by employing creative application techniques. For example, some owners add textures to walls by daubing them with a damp sponge shortly after applying a coat of paint. This type of effect often produces a striking difference in overall ambiance.

Paint provides an especially forgiving creative medium because immediate repainting takes little effort. One trendy decorating idea involves applying wallpaper-like painted patterns onto walls using templates, such as stencils. This process requires both talent and patience, but may produce very pleasing effects.

Paint Versus Wallpaper?

Both paint and wallpaper can help you achieve a beautiful home decor. The particular options you select for redecorating depend upon your available time, expertise, financial resources and personal preferences.

A Limo Service For Prom: Stay Safe While Having Fun

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Prom is supposed to be a special night. It’s important for everyone to stay safe while still managing to have lots of fun. Fortunately, a limo service can provide both safety and excitement.

It’s true that finding the perfect dress or tux for prom night is very important. However, the transportation that you use to get to prom is just as important. A limo is a great way to travel to prom in style.

It’s beneficial for parents because they can rest assured that their kids are getting to the event safely. A limo service can be used as transportation to prom, but it can also provide transportation for any post-prom events.

Why Hire A Limo Service For Prom Night?

If you remember your prom night, making an entrance was a big deal. Sending the kids to prom in a limo is an excellent way to make an entrance. Your kids will be envied by other classmates when they arrive to the event in a luxurious limousine.

Most high school students view prom as a very important night. In fact, most view it as a major milestone on their path to becoming independent, which means they don’t want to show up to the event with their parents driving. A limo service is one of the safest and easiest ways to make sure your kids make an entrance when arriving at prom.

Traveling With Friends and Creating Memories

A limo service makes it possible for high school students to travel with friends while creating memories that will last forever.

Since prom is a social event, most students want to arrive to the event in a large group. Most standard vehicles cannot hold more than a few students.

On the flipside, a limousine can safely transport as many as 20 students to the event. One of the most important benefits of the limo service is safe transport, which would be difficult with a standard vehicle packed with too many students.

Don’t Stress About the Details

For most high school students, prom is the biggest and most important night of their time attending high school. After they’ve decided what to wear and chosen a date, they don’t want to stress about the details. For example, they don’t want to stress about parking, directions and arrival times.

The good news is that a limo service handles all of these details. Most limo services offer flexible scheduling, so a limo can be rented for the main event, but it can also be scheduled for post-prom events, such as entertainment, theaters and later parties.

Many parents choose to hire a limo service for 10 hours, which will take care of the entire night. Although it can be somewhat expensive, a limo service for prom provides safety and lets students truly have fun.