4 Quick and Easy Home DIY Projects

If you’ve got a little time on your hands but don’t have hours and hours, days, or weeks to spend on a DIY project, you’ve got lots of options. Many homeowners today not only want to keep on top of decor trends, but they’re thinking about aesthetics, functionality, and return on investment. If you plan to sell your home, putting it on the market among Charlotte houses for sale, or anywhere else, attractive decor can even increase perceived value, potentially increasing offers.

The National Association of Realtors reported that 50 percent of consumers who wanted a home improvement project paid to hire a professional, while 47 percent went the DIY route. That’s rather surprising as there are so many projects that can be taken on with little time and effort, including these. 

Hand-Painted Vases

You don’t need to have impressive artistic skills to create some beautiful hand-painted jars that can be used for vases. Buy or use clear glass jars that you already have – they can be in any size you’d like, and an oil-based paint marker. Start by drawing a motif at the center, like a geometric shape, a heart or a flower. Add details around your center design and then continue working in a circular pattern, experiment with anything type of motif you like, from shamrocks and flowers to lines, stars, circles, etc.

Ideal for a bohemian look, you can now fill your jars with cuttings and wildflowers right from your garden, a bouquet at your local market, or even items picked up on a hike or while beachcombing.

Give Your Kitchen a Fresh Look at a Minimal Cost

A total kitchen remodel is no easy DIY project, but there are ways to give it a fresh look that are simple and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform it into a more updated space. Make it more welcoming by using a sunny yellow or sage green. Or, for something rich and elegant, paint an accent wall in a dark red. Other options include painting your cabinets in a neutral color to cover up nicks and scratches and/or switching out the hardware on drawers and cabinets.

Shell Candles

If you love the beach or live near one, you might have a good shell collection going which can be perfect for creating a fun seaside feel in your living room, family room or another space. Even if you don’t have access to shells, you can purchase them online or at many hobby stores. Shell candles, strategically placed, can be a great way to bring that beach look together.

Gather your seashells (obviously larger shells work best), some hot glue, candle wax and enough candle wicks for each one. Be sure your shells are clean and thoroughly dried and then add a bit of hot glue to the inside of each to hold the wicks. Place the candle wax into a metal pot and then put the pot inside of a larger one that’s filled with boiling water to melt the wax. Carefully pour the wax into each shell, making sure the wicks are straight. That’s it. Now you can add them throughout your home, light, and enjoy the look. 

Transform Drawers Into Artistic Shelves

Buy a mini-dresser – you may be able to find one for cheap at a thrift store, yard sale or online. Then turn the small drawers into storage that also doubles as art. You’ll also need some printed photos – if you have old black-and-whites it creates a fabulous vintage look. Simply mount the drawers onto a wall and then tack a picture inside of each one, using the corners of the photos. You can then use the drawers as shelves for decorative items too.

How To Find the Perfect Investment Property

Diversifying your portfolio of assets and investing is always a great idea to improve your long term financial position. As a result of this, finding investment properties is always a great idea for savvy entrepreneurs. Whether you’re looking for real estate in Vancouver or Los Angeles, there are ways to ensure that you can lock up the best investment properties. These methods will allow you to secure great investment properties, opening up new sources of income to you and greatly improving your financial standing. Here’s how to find the perfect investment properties. 

Secure Yourself Financially

Before you can start investing in properties, you need to be able to secure yourself financially. Doing so means eliminating any forms of debt that you may have, such as student loans or car payments. While this may seem like basic advice, you’d be surprised at how many people jump into the world of real estate investments without first securing themselves financially.  Not paying off other forms of debt before making such a big investment makes the investment all the riskier, and opens yourself up to even more financial damage should the investment flop. 

Decide on an Area

After you’ve gotten yourself secured financially and are ready to move onto the next step, it’s time to decide on an area. You don’t want to buy an investment property in an area that is hemorrhaging value, so be sure to do your research. You want to ensure that you purchase a property in an area that is on the upswing. Areas with a growing population, or areas that have a growing economy are usually safe bets. The area of your investment property is critical to its success, so it’s absolutely vital that you choose wisely. 

Think About Tenants

Another important aspect of finding an investment property is determining what type of tenants you’ll want to rent to. Choosing a certain group of people will narrow your options down and will steer you towards a particular type of housing. You want to ensure that your investment property and ideal tenants match, because if you don’t you’ll have a hard time actually profiting off of the property. For example, you don’t want to buy a high-end investment property if you plan on renting to college students, as they likely won’t be able to afford your rent and will cause you to lose profits. Matching the property you purchase to your ideal tenants is a key part of finding the perfect investment property for you. 

Lock Down Funding

When buying an investment property, you’re likely going to need to secure funding in the form of a mortgage. Mortgages typically require a down payment, so that’s something that you’ll need to ensure that you have. In addition, it may be beneficial for you to secure a pre-approved mortgage. Pre-approved mortgages can prevent a lot of the hassle that comes with closing on a home. In addition, having a pre-approved mortgage provides you with a set amount of money to work with, giving you a better idea of what properties to look for. Finally, having a pre-approved mortgage can make your offer seem much more attractive, as the seller knows that your mortgage is already secure and there is little chance of disruption. If you need information on student loans, see here.

Event Planning 101

Planning gatherings of any size can be a lot of work.  From food to entertainment, you’re under the pressure and scrutiny of everyone who attends.  If you’re new to planning events, that pressure can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here are some simpler things to keep in mind when you’re in charge of planning any event.

Guests

Making a guest list isn’t as easy as it seems like it should be.

Deciding on who you want to come to an event may be simple, but people will inevitably want to bring guests, and some people won’t show up at all.  How many people are you expecting at the maximum amount?  If a couple of other people show up, would you be able to handle that?

Plan in a range, like 20-30, or 100-130. Don’t try to get the numbers exact- even if people RSVP, there’s no telling whether they’ll actually show up.

Entertainment

Planning this can be the fun part, figuring out how you’re going to thrill and excite your guests throughout the event.  There are tons of options, from DJs to singers.  You can even hire actors for events where you’d like a live performance.

Consider if your event has a theme, and what your guests will want from it.  Do they want to dance, or do they want to laugh?  Is it more of a mingling party where you’d like the performers to be out working through the crowd?  There are more options for entertainment than there are for any other part of your party, so make sure to consider it carefully.

Venue

This ties in with the guest numbers.  Don’t get a place that comfortably seats several hundred for a party of twenty, and make sure not to invite a couple of hundred people to a room that can fit twenty.

Although space can be expensive, venues are something you have to be ready to lay down the money.  Your guests will need to have room to move and be comfortable, or nobody is going to want to go to an event you plan again.

If your event is themed, try to go with a location that goes with it.  For instance, a mermaid themed party for a sweet-sixteen birthday would be fun, located on the water or a beach.  It’s easy once you give yourself some time to think about it.

Food

Although allergies are essential to know, you can’t make everyone at the event their own custom menu.  Three options are more than enough if you’re serving by the plate- if it’s a buffet, you have more wiggle room.

You must have a caterer you trust, who has had good reviews and does this professionally.  Although it may be helpful to pay someone’s aunt to make the food and bring it out, if any of your guests get sick, you and the aunt may both be liable.  With professional caterers, they’re more usually the ones found at fault.

By keeping your guests in mind, and giving your event some careful thought, you can make sure that you’ll throw a successful gathering that people will be talking about for ages.

What’s the best way to find a travel buddy?

Traveling alone isn’t the best thing in the world. When you travel by yourself, everything is much more expensive and you can’t share meals or share any of the expenses. What’s more, you’ll have an album full of selfies. You have to constantly ask strangers to take your photo and everyone will stare at you. The point is that it’s good to have a travel buddy. It’s as good as having a romantic partner. There are many ways to find a travel partner, keep on reading to find out how.

Find that special person online

Your trip is coming soon and you’ve made the necessary preparations. After reading a few blog posts on a site like fastcover.com.au, you’ve understood that it’s important to waste no time in taking out travel insurance. Did you know, if you have a travel buddy, you can actually buy a duo travel insurance policy which could save you both some money. If you need a partner for your adventures abroad, go online.

Many places are accessible from your computer or smartphone. All you have to do is to create a profile, find someone who matches your interests, and decide where you want to go. You can instantly connect with new people. The great thing about websites and applications dedicated to finding travel buddies is that they offer social proof and trustworthiness.

Tap into a community of explorers, adventurers, and nomads. Keep in mind that there are numerous Facebook travel groups. You can reach out to like-minded people who are more than happy to help you out. You should at least give it a try.

Ask a friend to recommend someone

So, you want someone to share your experiences and memories. Maybe one of your friends can help you out, it’s just like asking for a referral. There’s no need to feel embarrassed, chances are that they know someone interested in accompanying you on the trip. Your friends will connect you only with trustworthy people, so there’s nothing to worry about. If your future travel partner lives close by, you can meet a couple of times before hitting the road.

Make a travel companion along the way

You know that you can make many friends along the way, right? Try couch surfing. If You’ve never couch surfed before, there is no better time than now to do it. You find hosts with the help of an application and make local friends while staying over. Maybe things will work well or maybe they won’t. There’s no way of knowing without giving it a go.

Become part of the community and make new friends. You can decide who is the right person for you to travel with. Don’t miss the chance to attend meet-ups. It’s impossible not to find another lone backpacker. Spark up a friendly conversation and always trust your instincts when it comes down to safety.

To sum up, now is the perfect time to travel the world and discover new places. It can be something that’s enhance experiencing with someone else. It doesn’t matter who you travel with as long as your preferences match up. Having a person with passion around you encourages positive vibes and will let you experience the world in a different way.

Tips for Taking Your Pet with You on Vacation

Many of us would like our furry family members to accompany us when we travel. Taking our pets with us can eliminate the stress and expense of boarding or pet sitting and give us the pleasure of having our animals with us while we are having fun. Some tips for travel planning can make your trip an enjoyable adventure for you and your pets.

Get Insurance

A serious illness or injury away from home can be emotionally devastating, and the cost of treatment could be financially devastating as well. You can purchase pet insurance policies with different choices of co-pays, deductibles, and premiums that cover accidents and illnesses. Having insurance for your pet can give you peace of mind that if something does happen, the cost won’t be a financial burden for your family and your pet will be able to get the treatment it needs.

Visit the Vet

Nobody likes being sick on vacation, including your pet. Scheduling a visit with the vet before a trip can ensure your pet will be healthy for the duration of the journey. Your vet can also advise you about options for decreasing your pet’s stress level such as anti-anxiety medications and pheromones. Airlines will require you to have a health certificate from a veterinarian certifying that your pet is healthy to travel.

Microchip Your Pet

Having an implanted microchip with the owner’s contact information is vitally important in case your pet should get lost. Veterinarian’s offices and shelters can read the information off of the microchip and contact the owner to reunite them with their pet. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure that your contact information is up to date and includes your cell phone number so you can be reached away from home.

Plan for Costs

Flying with your pet in the airline cabin usually costs around $125 one-way. And you will need an airline-approved carrier which can cost $40-$250 depending on size. Your pet will count as your carry on, so you may need to check baggage for a fee. Large dogs have to fly as air cargo, which can be very expensive. A sturdy crate compliant with regulations could cost $50-$150. Car travel is cheaper than flying but does come with some necessary equipment. A seatbelt, car seat, or pet barrier adds to the travel costs. Many hotels and motels that accept pets will charge a pet fee, anything from $20-$100 per night.

Prepare Your Pet

Travel involves a lot of new experiences and you can get your pet ready for their journey with some preparation beforehand. If your pet will need to spend a long time in a carrier or kennel, begin getting them accustomed to the carrier before the trip. Put the carrier out and feed them or give them treats in the carrier so they associate pleasant things with it. If you are traveling by car and your pet isn’t used to long car rides, begin with some short trips to get them accustomed to car travel. If they will travel in a carrier, put them into the carrier and take them on a short ride around the neighborhood. When you return home, give them a special treat or playtime. Once they are comfortable with short rides, lengthen the time they spend in the car. Your pet will encounter strangers on vacation, so take them around people and reward them for good behavior around strangers.

A little advanced planning can make your travel go smoothly and ensure that all family members have a great vacation experience.

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3 Quick Ways to Reduce Stress and Enjoy Life Again

We all have stress in our lives. There is no getting around it. However, it is how you handle the stress that really matters. For some people, a flat tire in the morning will spiral their day out of control. For others, a flat tire could be overcome with just a shrug. It is all about how well you can let the stress just roll off your back. Listed below are three quick ways to reduce stress so it does not build up and leave you constantly overwhelmed or in a bad mood. Read more

Things to Do in Tampa, Florida as a New Resident

The Sunshine State, what a grand place to live with all of it’s beautiful beaches, awesome venues and steller places to eat. Granted it does get hot, really hot and for days on end, too.  But there are also plenty of days where you just can’t wait to be outdoors and there are a plethora of activities for you and the family to enjoy in and around the Tampa Bay. Read more

3 Luxury Hotel Features That Make a Difference

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, where you choose to stay during your journey will have a big impact on how well you enjoy your trip. After all, there is a big difference between when you discover a luxury hotel in Quebec and when you choose to stay in a cheap roadside motel. While an upscale room certainly plays a significant role in crafting a luxury experience, other factors can also have a big influence on your stay. Here are three key elements that make a hotel stay truly luxurious Read more

The Ins and Outs of Starting an Online Store

If you’ve got a lot of stuff to sell but you haven’t the time to set up a yard sale or pitch up at a car boot sale, then you should simply sell your stuff online. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to use already established online marketplaces, such as eBay or Facebook, either. If you want to make selling your worldly belongings a business venture, then you should start your own online store. Read more

Possible Vacation Spots That Maybe You Have Never Thought Of

Everyone seems to go to the same vacation spots. The results are that you are battling other tourists at these locations and it kind of takes away from the experience a bit. If you appear to be just one in fifty thousand, then you are probably going to feel a whole lot less special. It’s like when you find out your girlfriend has had a hundred boyfriends before you. You’d rather go to a place where you are able to try things out like a local and not feel out of place simply because it is so crowded. Listed below are a few spots that you should consider for your next vacation.

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