Category Archives: misc.

Must List for Outdoor Enthusiasts

It’s the time of year where many people are spending more time outdoors.  Even with the current situation of COVID 19 happening in the world around us, we can still find ways to escape.  Getting out into the wilderness is one good way of doing that.  Sure, national parks and the usual places for crowds might be closed at this time, but nature is all around you and you shouldn’t have to look far to find some solitude.

Make sure before you take yourself outside though, you are prepped with the best tactical gear.

A FIRST AID KIT: a first aid kit will come in handy for many reasons, and you will definitely regret it if you DON’T bring one and end up needing it.  From cuts and scrapes, to bites and burns, make sure you have what you need in an emergency or injury situation.  Kits come in a wide range of sizes.

HYDRATION: you can get your water from a variety of sources, from hydrating backpacks like a CamelBak to the ever popular HydroFlask…but always take more water than you think you will need.

MOISTURE WICKING CLOTHING: it’s spring, and soon will be summer…for many places, once you go outside and start trekking, you will be working up a sweat.  Moisture wicking clothing can help with that.  You can get you favorite brands such as Adidas tactical gear, or Oakley tactical gear.

A GOOD PAIR OF BOOTS OR SHOES: putting in all those steps means you will want to treat your feet as well as you can.  Hiking boots or shoes can get very pricey, but investing in the care of your feet is not something you will regret at the end of a long day of being outdoors.


These are the very basics you will need to get outside this spring and summer.  Of course, as your build your interest in this hobby, you will be sure to spend more!

How to Prep Your Home for a Sale


Selling your home is stressful. Modern home buyers aren’t easy to please. They want properties that are visually stunning as well as comfortable. If you want to get the maximum price for your home, you need to prepare for the sale.

If you work with a realtor, there’s a good chance that they’ll take care of this work for you. If not, it’s easy to do yourself.

Here are a few tips.


Clean Everything

Make sure your home is spic and span before you have potential homebuyers take a look. A filthy, grimy environment will make even the most valuable properties look cheap. People won’t be able to get past the muck, it’s too distracting.

If cleaning your entire house yourself seems daunting, hire a professional cleaning crew. Depending on the size of your home, you should be able to work at an affordable rate for a single deep clean.


Make Repairs

Any looming major repairs will have a big effect on your asking price. People may still buy the property but they’re going to deduct the cost of the repair. Often, they deduct more than it would cost you to fix the problem yourself.

For example, your kitchen remodeling project can actually end up making you money in the end. As the best cabinet maker in Tacoma notes: “Well organized kitchen cabinets improve your daily life by making your routine tasks efficient and effortless.” Homebuyers understand this and are willing to pay extra for the convenience.


Remove Personal Items

To become attached to a property, you have to be able to visualize yourself living there. You need to be able to feel like the place could be yours. The easiest way to foster that environment is to remove all of your personal touches like family photos and knickknacks.

For the same reason, you should tame any outlandish elements. Your unique style works for you but it can be off-putting for potential home buyers. The goal is to make your home appeal to as many people as possible.


Fix Your Yard

An ugly yard is distracting. Dead grass might seem like a minor problem but it changes the vibe of your home. Buying property isn’t an exact science. A lot of what attracts people to one home over another is a gut feeling. That’s why curb appeal is so important.

If you have grass or other greenery, make sure that it looks healthy and fresh. Your lawn should be mowed neatly. It takes a lot of work if you live on a big property. If you’re not in the mood to do it yourself, you can probably find a neighborhood teenager willing to help you out for a small fee.


Tour the Neighborhood

The best way to figure out how to price your home is to learn how much other homes in your neighborhood are selling for. The same strategy applies to your curb appeal. If your house is the worst-looking one on the block, it’s going to affect how buyers see the property.

You don’t have to worry about trying to outdo your neighbors. That’s not the point. Instead, you’re trying to make sure your home is on par.


Find a Realtor

In the modern age, people wonder if they still need a realtor. You can list your home yourself and save yourself the trouble and expense.

While this strategy works out for some, there are many benefits to working with a professional realtor. They have access to a wider set of buyers. They also know how to set up your home so it looks amazing.

Only work with someone who you enjoy being around. If you think the realtor is obnoxious, there’s a strong chance that potential buyers will as well.


Tell Everyone

You never know who’s in the market for a new home. When you decide to sell yours, it’s a good idea to tell everyone in your social network. Even if they’re not interested themselves, it’s possible that they know someone who is.

There’s no need to take out a billboard, but you can announce your plans on social media.


Take Pictures

Take tons of pictures of your home. You can attract a buyer online now. A lot of people have smartphones with sophisticated cameras. These are good enough for the type of pictures that you need. Use strong lighting, good props, etc. There are quick modern photography guides that you can look up online if you need inspiration.

Home Renovation Projects You Shouldn’t Put Off

Every homeowner has a list of home improvement projects they’d love to complete if they were whisked onto HGTV. However, barring a sudden influx of resources, a lot of items on the list are idle wishes. Sure, you wouldn’t mind if your attic was clean, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend your free time organizing a dusty room.

There are a few renovation projects that need to be performed immediately. You can’t afford to put them off.

Here’s what they are.


Water Damage

Flooding can cause significant damage if left unchecked. Your entire home’s foundation is at risk. Your electrical system can be harmed as well, forcing you to hire a professional.

According to a group of Oklahoma City electrical contractors: “Many residential and commercial property owners think of calling an electrician only when they’re constructing something new. However, if you need any kind of electrical repairs at your property, it’s always recommended to call an electrician. Doing electrical work by yourself can be dangerous. How much risk are you willing to take to save a few dollars?”

The second you realize part of your property has been flooded it’s time to leap into action.


Broken Windows

Broken windows might seem like a minor problem but they’ll quickly turn into a major hassle if you ignore them. Allowing a draft to enter your home messes with your energy bill. It costs you money to heat and cool your home.

It’s also dangerous. A thief who spots the broken pane of glass might be tempted to break in. After all, you’re advertising your faulty security system. Human interlopers aren’t the only risks. Bugs and animals will creep into broken windows as well.


Strange Smells

If you smell a gas leak, leave your home immediately. It’s potentially a very dangerous situation. You can’t hesitate even for a moment.

Other foul smells need to be investigated as well, but the sense of urgency isn’t as extreme. Still, you obviously don’t want to pretend it’s not happening. If the smell comes from rotting food, it could lead to mold and other health problems.

Taking care of a serious mold infestation is a very expensive problem, It’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to keep your house clean.


Damaged Appliances

The state of your appliances plays a big role in your overall happiness with your property. A broken stove or oven, for example, will severely cripple your ability to enjoy a meal in your kitchen. Who wants to live in a home where you can’t use your kitchen?

A broken toilet is even more inconvenient. You don’t have to make these repairs for safety reasons. You need to think about your own comfort level. There are certain conveniences that modern people have grown used to. Living without them is possible, but you probably have no desire to enter that lifestyle.


Destroyed Floors

Minor scrapes on your hardwood floors or stains on your carpet are visually unappealing but there’s no pressing need to fix the problem. However, if your floors are severely damaged, it could easily spiral out of control.

You could also hurt yourself. Terrible floors put you at risk for falling or cutting your feet. It’s true that replacing your floors is often very expensive. However, it’s also true that you might be able to recoup your losses when you sell your property. Potential buyers will appreciate your new floors.


Problem Stairs

In books and movies, characters often jump over missing steps like it’s no big deal. It’s actually very dangerous. One thoughtless moment and you could fall in the crack and break your leg. Your staircase can be one of the grandest parts of your home if you take care of it. The moment you notice that one of the stairs feels weak, it’s time to fix it.

Renovating your home can be a huge project. It’s not surprising that so many homeowners like to chop the work up into manageable pieces. However, that means it’s easy to get into the habit of letting things slide. This is a huge problem when it comes to certain issues.

Being a homeowner comes with responsibilities. If you don’t want to think about replacing the water heater, be a renter. You’ll pay more for your accommodations but you won’t have to worry about property upkeep.

If you still desire the benefits of home ownership, you have to factor in the financial and time commitment you owe to your property.

Scripture that Strengthens Me During Lent

As Lent is coming to a close and we have started Holy Week, I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to share some quotes that have been close to my heart during this particular Lenten season.

So much has changed in my life since this time last year, and that means the way I pray has changed as well.  I like to read a quote or meditation, think about how it applies to my life, and then try to reflect on what I have read throughout the day.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

My interpretation of this quote is that if we first seek God and the kingdom of Heaven in the way we live our lives, all other things that we have need of will come by virtue of radiating Christ’s light,

Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

The Lord is listening when we pray! Even if we think we have asked too many times; our prayers are futile; our God hears us! Continue to speak to him.

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.

Things that are important in your life may not be the same things that are important to others.  So you must make sure what you treasure is worthy of all your love.

Holy Week also means the end of the fantastic series Jesus: His Life that has been airing on The History Channel.  Have you been watching? If not, now is the time to catch up!  Here is some more information.

“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.

Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah.  The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.


How to Find Lasting Love in Online Dating

Every person deserves to find love in the best way possible. Online dating sites and social media are now offering people one of the best, if not the best, platforms to meet and start a relationship. If this is your method, then you should exercise caution to make sure that you get the perfect match for lasting love. To avoid taking chances or getting confused about what to do, we have prepared the best tips that any person can follow to enjoy lasting love in online dating.

Know the Dating Sites

There are numerous dating sites out there, but only a few are legit and reliable. It is, therefore, crucial to do research and identify such sites. Reputable sites try as much as possible to eliminate jokers and predators who target innocent and serious soulmate searchers. If you are using reputable online dating sites, you will also enjoy various communication tools like video chat and texting options.

A Good Profile Will Pay

It is crucial to have an excellent profile. First, check what the requirements are by the website guidelines and then create one. A clear profile picture should be used unless there is a default avatar that should not be changed. Describe everything about yourself and also list all that you want from the partner you are looking for. Some platforms will not create a profile for you if you do not comply with all of the requirements that they have.

Remain Open and Positive

Popular dating sites like have a variety of people who are available to date. Whether you need a sugar daddy, sugar mommy, or a lover of your age, you will get one on these platforms. So, the best thing is to remain open and positive, and that you will get what you want. Although you may get people who are not appealing or turn out to be different from your expectations, you should remain positive that the right partner will come. Keep perusing profiles until you find one.

Don’t Compromise

Even if you have clearly listed what you are looking for, some people will try to contact you despite not meeting the qualifications. You need to be clear that you are not ready to compromise your needs. Additionally, ensure that you only date people whose listed qualifications you meet. They may claim to be flexible, but this increases chances of heartbreak in the future. It is better to wait a little longer than to rush things and end up getting disappointed.

Check for Long-Lasting Love Signs

Although you can only learn this after you start dating, it will enable you to know whether your relationship will last or not. There are many signs of a long-lasting relationship, like how the other person treats you, how they control their anger, their openness and commitment to the relationship, and many other things.

You can easily learn quite a bit about your partner within a few days of dating. However, with all the above highlights, you will increase your chances of enjoying love for the rest of your life.

4 Realistic Fashion Tips for 2019

The fashion industry was all over the place in the last few months. If the fashion world reflects the state of the world, then perhaps it was appropriate that chaos was the prevailing theme of the Spring/Summer 2019 collections. Looking at the shows in New York, London, and Paris, there was very little consistency, and that makes it much easier for those without the budget for Armani or Chanel wardrobe additions. Being able to mix and match the most common sights on this year’s catwalks might be easier than you think. Here are the most realistic fashion trends that are expected to be a big hit this year, and your bank balance doesn’t have to panic.


1.    The Return of Tie-Dye

If there was one real surprise this year, it was the fact that so many designers did something with tie-dyed clothes and accessories. If you thought that the tie-dyed t-shirt was dead, then Prada, Eckhaus, and McCartney blew that theory out of the water. For those on a budget, this is great news, and you’ll be able to either buy your own tie-dyed clothing or go traditional and make your own.


2.    Get Tooled Up

The need for pockets in women’s clothes has still not become obvious, so instead, we’ve got toolbelts this year. That’s actually a lot cooler than it sounds. In fact, tool belts are the natural evolution of the fanny pack, and they’re a lot more useful too, with Karl Lagerfeld certainly leading the charge when it comes to practicality. Tool belts are just a functional belt that has lots of storage space, so even if your summer dress is pocketless, your tool belt won’t be.


3.    Color Shocks

If you thought that 2018 was colorful in the fashion world, get ready for 2019. The spring and summer collections on show this year have been some of the most colorful on display since the 90s, and from shocking pinks to eye-watering yellows, it’s all about color in 2019. The best thing about this is that you don’t need to spend a fortune to adopt this top fashion tip for the year. Buy your blouses and favorite plus size skirts for maximum elegance and simply add your wild dashes of color where needed. Accessorizing is the key, and you could be making an impact through your color choices very easily.


4.    Bigger is Better

When it comes to handbags, it can be difficult to keep up with the newer trends, but this year might be easier than ever. The most consistent handbag trend on the catwalks this year all had the same thing in common: big is definitely the new small. Where last years saw tiny handbags being the major trend, this year has gone completely the other way. Now, oversized handbags are the more popular option, and some of the bags on show were big enough to keep a second-grader in. If you’re looking for a practical accessory this year, oversized handbags could be the key to a better choice.


The best thing about the 2019 fashion collections was that they were so accessible. There’s always a little wiggle room when it comes to transferring from the catwalk to the high street, but the emerging trends for 2019 look easier than ever to achieve.

Do You Have a Book In You?

While many readers are content to lose themselves in a good book and have no ambitions to write a novel of their own, many others wonder whether they might be able to write a book. It’s sometimes said that everyone’s got a book in them, and that could be true – after all, anyone can type out a novel-length story on their laptop and say they’ve written a book. The real question is, have you got a good book inside you?

The only way to know for sure is to get writing, but many would-be authors choke at the thought of setting their ideas down on paper, because of the fear of failure. It’s a common enough experience – if you don’t try, you can’t fail, and therefore you can avoid the embarrassment and disappointment of not being good enough. It sounds logical, and it’s certainly true, because if you don’t try you definitely won’t fail; but neither will you succeed. If your fear of failure is keeping you from trying anything, it might be time to seek advice from a therapist.

If fear of failure is holding you back, only you have the power to change your mindset. There are plenty of inspirational resources available online that explain why you feel this way and how to overcome your fears, so find the answers to your problem and get rid of your worries. Overconfidence isn’t so much of a problem, because if you believe you’re a great writer, at least you’ll be writing and submitting!

The good news is that it’s never been easier to write and publish your own novel, so you can avoid the issue of rejection from agents and publishers altogether if you wish. Getting signed to a major publisher is still the best way to achieve fame and fortune, but realistically only a very few authors make a living from their writing, let alone make a fortune from it! The development of self-publishing has revolutionized writing as an industry, and is far more widely accepted than the old niche of vanity publishing.

Vanity publishing was a scheme whereby you would pay to have your book printed, most often because publishers didn’t consider it good enough to add to their list. That meant most vanity publishing was looked down upon, but the concept has now morphed into a huge and profitable self-publishing sector, enabling anyone to get their book online for free or at very low cost.

You still have to pay to get hard copies of your book printed, but as technology has developed in recent years it’s now far easier to print short runs of books for private individuals, and many business owners and entrepreneurs self-publish books that they use for marketing and promotion, and to establish their industry credibility. The cost of getting your book printed is within reach of people even on a modest income, and could easily be covered by a small personal loan. Check out this Bonsai Finance article for details of loans you could apply for.

Deciding to write your novel is the first step; now you need to think about what you’re going to write about. If you already have an idea, that’s great; if you don’t, or you can’t choose between several possibilities you’ve come up with, try jotting down a few notes and seeing what develops from them. Dream diaries are good for inspiration, and there are some fantastic books written by successful authors who know what they’re talking about that would be helpful for you to read. If you’re completely stumped, try an ideas generator, which is a tool that you can use in hard copy or online that helps you come up with an outline concept for your novel. One of the joys of writing is that once you get started you often find the writing takes on a life of its own, and you can get to a point where your typing speed can’t keep up with the rate that the words are coming into your head.

Everyone finds a writing style that suits them, whether it’s plotting every step of the story in great detail or making it up as you go along; whether you get up at four am and write for five hours, or stay up until midnight each evening writing. The guidebooks, writing courses and other resources will offer their own take on the best way to write your novel, and you’ll soon see there will be contradictions in their advice. They aren’t necessarily wrong with what they’re saying, just relaying what worked best for them; so if one approach doesn’t stick, try another.

When you write your first draft, you don’t need to worry about grammar, punctuation, typos or any of the intricacies of the written word. You simply want to get your story out so that you have a completed manuscript. Once it’s written, you can edit, proofread and polish your book to your heart’s content, but if you’re continually going over each page as you write you could waste months or even years editing and rewriting. You’ll find that almost always the best results are achieved by getting the story out in full and then sharpening it up later.

If you can get your novel read by other people it can give you a lot of useful feedback on whether it works as a story and how well it’s written. New authors often ask friends and family, but make sure the people you ask will give you an honest opinion. If your mom would tell you it was brilliant no matter how awful it might be, her comments won’t be very useful. On the other hand, if your best friend can be relied upon to tell you the honest truth, that will be far more helpful. You can also join writers groups or have your work professionally assessed for a fee.

When you’re finally happy with your novel, it’s time to get it out into the big wide world, either by finding an agent or publisher or opting for self-publishing. Either way, whatever happens and however many copies you sell, you’ll have succeeded in becoming a published author, and that’s something you should be very proud of.

Types of Dresses to Consider for Your Wedding

If you were expecting to read another guide about what type of wedding dress is best for your body, I will tell you now that this is not the article for you! Instead, this post will tell you rather, WHO in your wedding party will need dresses, and what to consider when deciding what kind of dress you choose for each person.


So, yes, if you are here as a prospective bride, you most likely know that your bridesmaids will need dresses.  The styles you will end up with largely depend on two things: the overall look you want to achieve for your wedding, and whether or not you want to give your bridesmaids freedom to choose their dress.  Chances are there will be some people who don’t love your choice of dress if you only present them with one option, so think about that.  Although dresses might be uniform in style and color, they will not look the same on every body.

Flower Girls/Junior Bridesmaids

Many brides like to have their junior bridesmaids and flower girls look like miniature versions of themselves, and I can see the appeal of that.  It would make for very adorable pictures! But junior bridesmaid and flower girl dresses can have small variations to make them fit the theme of the wedding but make the girls look unique.  Making sure the young girls in your wedding look good doesn’t have to be expensive, either! There are tons of places online to get cheap flower girl dresses online.

Mother of the Bride/Groom

Although these are not the dresses a lot of brides will first think about, it’s important to have these ladies looking good too, as they will also be making a trip down the aisle! If you’d like your mom’s or future mother in law’s look to coincide with the rest of those wearing dresses, make sure you confer with them to let them know your thoughts.  They might not always listen, but hey, at least you have made yourself known!

No matter what the people in your wedding end up wearing, you are sure to have a great time. I have yet to see a bad wedding photo when all the people in it are smiling and happy!

Is it Time to Seek Therapy?

I have spoken before on this blog about seeking mental health counseling, and provided some ways to find where you can turn to find a counselor that’s just right for you to speak to.  But how do you know when it’s time to talk to someone? The signs may be different for every individual, and some may not get to as far a point as others before they decide to find a therapist.  But, here I will provide a guideline that has some general symptoms you should be on the lookout for that will give you a hint that it’s time to talk to someone who can help.

You feel all emotions very strongly

When you’re sad, you’re not just frowning–you’re full out sobbing. When you are angry, it’s not just a little bit–you are full of rage. Extreme emotions do occur from time to time, but should not be the norm; feelings should happen in a wide range.

You have experienced a traumatic event that you cannot seem to get past

Of course, what is considered traumatic will vary from person to person, but some examples of highly emotionally affecting experiences include breakups, deaths in the family, and careers such as military and emergency healthcare. If you are withdrawn or cannot stop thinking about the process that happened to you, it might be the time to open up to someone about it.

You don’t enjoy things you used to

You may have once had a passion for gardening, or sailing, or drawing, but you can’t seem to find the energy to commit any time to any of your favorite hobbies anymore.  If you are generally bored by life, and especially those activities you used to love so much, you might be suffering from depression.

You have recurrent and unexplained aches and pains

It might not be something you realize at first, but mental health issues can manifest themselves in physical symptoms in a person’s body.  If you’re always nauseated, have an aching head, or other twinges of pain, this might be a sign of anxiety.

You are disconnected from your relationships

Whether it’s from a significant other or your best friend, you don’t talk to your loved ones about your problems or much of anything.  You can’t feel empathy or joy when someone shares their feelings with you.  You aren’t necessarily hiding something, but you just can’t imagine they’d understand and value your problems.

Your friends and family seem worried

If you have disconnected from the ones you love, they will notice.  If it goes on long enough and you don’t talk to them about it, they will worry about you and ask what’s wrong.  If more than one person asks you this, it means your mental state is obvious enough to those around you that they sense that you are not yourself.

These are just a few signals that you might want to talk to a therapist about any mental health circumstances you may be facing.  Trust your judgment and don’t be afraid to reach out. Help is here for you.

Too Cold to Get Out? Try Online Counseling!

It’s a scientifically proven fact that millions of people suffer from “the blues” every year around this time.  If you think about it, it’s easy to come up with the reasons why.  The days are shorter, giving you less time to spend outside in the sunshine.  There are so many holiday functions, get togethers, and parties going on.  We are dashing from shop to shop trying to finish buying gifts.  We all have to-to lists that seem to never end!

Everyone might feel sad or down from time to time, but if you are experiencing a deeper feeling, which might have you shutting people out, making you lose interest in your normal activities, sleeping excessively, or not wanting to leave your house at all, it may be time to talk to a healthcare provider about what’s going on.  And if you’re a person who doesn’t want to leave your house, don’t worry–with telehealth, you don’t have to.  With an internet connection, an online counselor can virtually come to you!

Internet based medical and therapeutic services have been in existence for several years now.  Instead of having to go out to an actual office and wait for an indeterminate amount of time, you simply request an appointment, and you will be contacted in the comfort of your own home by the provider you choose.  You might have known that you can get checked out for such things as colds, sore throats, and rashes, but did you know that you can also find certified therapists and counselors in some telehealth services?

I myself have used some of these services before, and I have always been satisfied with the results.  I think the best part is, you can have one session as a sort of trial, and if the counselor or just the idea of telehealth turns out to be something that’s not for you, you can always decide to go the route of traditional therapy.

Since the advent of telehealth, both medical and other services such as counselling have been accepted by more and more insurance companies as being a cost effective way to get clients seen.  Thus, many insurance companies will cover the cost of virtual doctor visits.  And if your insurance company does not, you should know that telehealth visits are often still less expensive than going to the traditional provider’s office and paying out of pocket for a visit.

Another fact that might be important for you to consider is that the providers on telehealth services, most of the time, have all the same privileges online that they do in their offices–meaning they can write prescriptions, thought this is not true in all states.  That’s why seeing your doctor online might be a good choice if you just need to do a quick check up to get a prescription refill.

In the rush of this season, no one wants to spend unnecessary time in a doctor’s office! If you need to talk to someone, ask your doctor or insurance provider how you can connect with a telehealth service.