Monthly Archives: February 2017

4 Secrets to Enjoying a Great Ski Holiday with Your Family

Ski HolidayThere is nothing like enjoying a ski holiday with your family. There is the thrill of rushing down the slopes, followed by some quiet bonding time with each other inside your comfortable accommodations. 

Like with almost every other trip you make, however, group ski holidays require some research and planning. This helps you ensure that you and your family end up having a good time together. Here are a few things you need to do:

1. Schedule your holiday wisely.

Christmas and half-terms are some of the busiest days at the slopes. They are also, of course, the most expensive. If you can schedule skiing trips off-season, such as in January, you will be rewarded with almost-empty slopes and lower prices.

2. Book everything ahead of time.

Book your accommodations, rent your ski gear and equipment (which is more advisable than buying brand new ones), and get ski lessons for beginners well ahead of time. Otherwise, you will end up in a queue for hours when you could be enjoying your holiday time on the slopes.

3. Get ski lessons.

If you are planning to stay in the snow for several days, then at least take the time to make sure everyone knows the basic ski manoeuvres. Ski lessons for beginners can be quite costly, but everyone needs to learn how to make their way around in their skis if you want them to have fun.

4. Choose a family-friendly chalet.

Family-friendly accommodations offer special services that can help take the stress off travelling with family. For instance, they provide childcare (which you have to book in advance), playrooms, and catered meals to ensure you and your children have healthy, nutritious meals all throughout your stay.

A ski holiday with your family requires some time to plan. To make sure everyone has a great time, it is important that you pick the right time, choose the right resort, and book everything in advance.

Energy-Efficient Building Techniques: A Medieval Case Study

Medieval ArchitectureKeeping warm indoors during medieval times might’ve been terrifyingly difficult, right? This rings true especially for peasants, who only lived in thatched cottages unlike their lords and kings, who stayed comfortable in mighty castles.

Modern architectural and engineering firms, which currently focus on making buildings more energy-efficient, may take a lesson from history books. Perhaps medieval people built their castles with energy efficiency in mind, to survive brutal winters and scorching summers.

An Ode to History

It’s easy to conjure up familiar images when talking about “green buildings” in modern terms. This might include advanced technologies, such as solar panels, extensive use of recycled materials, and other proprietary innovations nearing science fiction-level advancements.

Architects and engineers worldwide, however, aren’t focusing on fancy tech exclusively. In order to “build green,” they’re looking to ancient construction methods.

For instance, many building plans call for maximum air flow to lessen a structure’s carbon footprint. Writing for The Guardian, contributor Leon Kaye cites various modern examples taking from age-old inspirations. They look for ideas in periods when builders had to keep structures as comfortable as possible throughout the year, with fewer resources than what exist now.

Medieval HVAC

Castles present an interesting case study. In a time when air conditioners (and electricity) didn’t exist, these massive fortifications stayed relatively comfortable throughout the year. Being made of stone meant that castles were kept cool.

Tiny windows meant less sunlight entering the building, while thick walls prevented sunlight from streaming in. As a result, nobility and royalty in medieval times stayed frosty throughout summers.

To keep warm during winters, people relied on fire. Torches and braziers, a portable container for hot coals, burned in each room throughout the chilly days. Fireplaces in chambers also provided warmth. It’s safe to say that as the fires burned in close proximity to the thick walls, the castles retained heat.

Lastly, there are tapestries, which not only served as decorations, but also as added insulation.

Who knows? Perhaps recalling history may mean something in terms of designing energy efficient buildings for the future. They were effective back then. They might be effective now.

Want to Get to Know Australia Better? Plan a Caravan Holiday

Caravan Holiday in AustraliaTravelling with a motorhome or an RV can be quite fulfilling. Make sure it stays enjoyable for everyone by preparing well.

Here are some pointers to help make your next adventure a wonderful and memorable one.

Plan Your Itinerary

Australia is a big country and it can take days to reach some cities. If you travel without a definite plan, expenses can easily pile up. Decide where to go and how long you intend to stay, but keep your schedule flexible. This gives you the freedom to go on side trips to take in the beauty of the location, making your caravan vacation more memorable.

Decide Whether to Rent or Buy

If you are a local who enjoys touring your own country regularly, you can choose to buy your own RV. This means you can freely travel anywhere as some rental companies limit where you can take their vehicles. For foreign tourists or even locals who only take occasional road trips, renting means you will not have to worry about storage and maintenance at the end of your journey.

The Perfect Home (Away from Home)

Decide which types of activities you will engage in when you travel. Make sure the RV is well ventilated, especially if most of the cooking will be done inside. An RV canopy is necessary if you plan to lounge outside the vehicle during stops or when you reach your destination. It will provide much-needed shade during a sunny day and protect you from the rain.

Take Care When You Take Off

Do not force yourself to drive farther than you can comfortably do in a day. Watch the sunrise starting your day and stop at 4 pm, as the kangaroos become too active (they jump on the roads) during this time.

Remember to choose safety and comfort over anything. Perhaps the best part of the trip is going home safe, relaxed and happy.

Farmlands Attracting Investors: What It Means for Farmers

Farmland InvestmentsWall Street is America’s new farmer. Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and various institutional investors are buying farmlands across the country. And they expect long-term appreciation, with steady profits. But what will these investments mean for the farmer?

Plow Cash?

The investments may mean farmers can get access to better technology to improve production. As concerned landlords, the institutional investors may push for upgrades with farm machinery and equipment.

Farmers can get better tank construction for fertilizers and add grain bins. They can also enhance drainage and shape waterways. They can make ongoing improvements, so the farm is efficient, which will maximize production.

Improving farm operations is clearly in the investor’s best interest. If crop yields exceed projections, profits are sure to follow.

Fields of “Green”

One of the largest purchases recently cost an REIT $55.3 million. Like other investors, the company anticipates solid returns owing to the size of the land, which is 8,638 acres.

Farms offer two lucrative opportunities: one, land prices increase, which gives investors some form of protection from inflation, and two, they generate steady income. The Food and Agriculture Organization reveals that by 2050, the world will need a 70% increase in food production because global population will reach 9.1 billion.

Clearly, farm investors are likely to consistently make money from their investments.

Wall Street moving in on farming may sound like a “take over” of the corporate world. But REITs and institutional investors are still in the minority as land owners. The farmers still own about 61% of America’s 911 million total acres of farmland.

It’s still ideal, of course, for the farmer to own his or her land. To do that, the farmer may need to think exactly like the investor, balancing management and instincts that ensure profitability. In the meantime, the right investments can bring improvements that make farming operations increase food production.

Two-Step Tactic That Doubles the Impact of Your Video Marketing

Online Marketing

Video content is a great tool to engage users and drive traffic to your website, as well as social media profiles. However, not all digital marketers know how to use videos to their fullest potential. If you’re one of those who struggles to get more views on their video content, here are several tips for you:

Hook the Viewers in the First Three to Seven Seconds

Nowadays, people have a shorter span of attention, and they quickly click away once they get bored. So, the challenge for video marketers is not only that they should catch the attention of the viewers, but to make the audience hooked for the whole duration of the video, as well.  To achieve that, make sure that your video has interesting visuals, strong message, and clear audio. It will also help if the video has an interesting thumbnail, bold subtitles, compelling or witty caption, and a first few seconds of eye-catching shots, according to Musselwhite Marketing and Consulting. This way, the video will stand out among other content on a website or a social media feed.

Engage with Your Viewers

Video marketing doesn’t stop after you post and optimize your video content. You also need to engage your viewers for two key reasons: one is to signal social media platform algorithms that you’ve posted a quality content, and another is to encourage viewers to view your other video content, too.

With Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms, a video would stay on top of the newsfeed if it appeared engaging (with a lot of likes and comments) from the time it was posted. Hence, it is crucial that you reply to the comments so you can engage the viewers in a lengthy discussion, encouraging them to put more comments in the video content. But every time you reply to your audience, remember to promote your other content, as well.

Try the strategies mentioned above, and you’ll see significant improvements in your video marketing campaign. You’ll increase the viewership, drive more traffic to your targeted site, and even make your videos go viral.

Mouthwash: A Tried and Tested Tool against Gum Disease

Mouthwash Mouthwash does more than freshen a person’s breath. Using an antimicrobial mouthwash can, in fact, kill germs present in the mouth that cause bad breath and gum disease.

Euro Dental Care, a local dental practice, reminds patients of the importance of developing good oral hygiene habits, as it could be the mouth’s best weapon against early stages of gum disease. Mouthwash is a great add-on to dental care habits, in fact, as it functions to strengthen teeth and kill bacteria present inside the mouth.

Plaque Regrowth and Gum Disease

Tooth decay happens because traces of plaque or tartar were left on teeth and gums even after brushing or flossing. The accumulated bacteria then releases chemicals that create the pungent odour associated with bad breath. Over time, a person may experience the symptoms of gum disease, such as red, swollen gums, pain while chewing, and a receding gum line.

An Antimicrobial Rinse that Kills Bacteria

An antibacterial-based mouthwash serves two purposes in preventing dental disease. First, it applies fluoride to the teeth, which strengthens the enamel to help prevent future instances of tooth decay. Secondly, it also kills bacteria responsible for gum disease on contact. For optimum effect, mouthwash works best with longer contact with teeth and gums. Swishing mouthwash in your mouth, therefore, is an effective dental tactic to keep bad breath and plaque build-up from developing into gum disease.

The Importance of Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene Habits

Fighting gum disease works best by brushing at least twice daily. Additionally, people should follow the three-month rule in toothbrush replacement, as frayed bristles don’t clean teeth well and could harbour bacteria. Additionally, regular visits to the dentist and receiving professional cleaning services every six months will help remove hard-to-reach tartar in between teeth before they progress into gum disease.

Using antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce inflammation, plaque formation and bleeding gums. It is, therefore, a great addition to oral hygiene routines to prevent gum disease during its initial stages.

5 Cleaning Chores You Can Guiltlessly Leave to the Professionals

Cleaning ProfessionalYou can quickly go DIY for daily and weekly household chores. However, no matter your dedication, you may need help doing occasional, time-consuming jobs such as carpet and curtain cleaning. You also need a pro for those infrequent or emergency situations such as dealing with mould. Here are five cleaning chores you can guiltlessly leave to the professionals:

  1. Cleaning mould.

Leaving mould to the professionals is not a question of lacking the time or just being lazy. DIY mould removal can be hazardous to your health especially if that mould is greenish-black and it covers an area larger than ten square feet. Let a professional cleaner inspect the area, clean it and advise you on how to prevent the mould from returning.

  1. Deep cleaning your carpet.

Your weekly carpet-vacuuming job is useful, but it’s not a thorough cleaning. Your carpet needs a deeper cleaning with heavy-duty equipment suited for the job. Unless you have a steam cleaner and know how to do the job, you should get help from carpet-cleaning professionals.

  1. Washing your curtains and drapes.

Keeping your window treatments clean is a time-consuming task. Also, it’s easy to ruin your high-quality fabrics if you don’t know how to determine and clean according to fabric content, type of weave, and colour fastness of dyes. For best results, take your window accessories to a curtain cleaning professional.

  1. Deep cleaning upholstered furniture.

Your sofas and other upholstered furniture can become filthy especially if you live with pets or small children. While vacuuming up pet hair and spot-cleaning spills have their places, your furniture needs thorough cleaning at least once every year. But that is backbreaking work with a small margin of error, and you will likely loathe doing it.

  1. Emptying your gutters.

You should give your gutters a thorough clean with a stiff brush twice every year or more times if you have many trees on your property. Gutter-maintenance may be an occasional job, but there are better and safer ways to enjoy a Saturday afternoon.

Every one of us needs outside help with housecleaning. While you don’t have to splurge on a regular household cleaning service, you need a pro for the time-consuming, annoying or downright dangerous chores.

Unique Wedding Ideas

Unique Wedding Ideas for the Future Husband and Wife

Unique Wedding IdeasTradition and uniqueness can sometimes conflict especially when it comes to a good old-fashioned wedding. But, there those who’d like to try something original because they want to make their marriage a memorable one. Experienced wedding planners from Lagun Sari want you to consider the following matrimonial alternatives if you’re aiming for a truly special wedding.

It Doesn’t Have to be White

Plenty of couples chooses the traditional white wedding out of fashion and habit. Granted, it does look fabulous, seeing the bride, cake, and tables all pristine and pure. But, if you feel like going for a different color that’s more your mood then go for it. Blue, yellow, orange, or green can replace the typical white, especially if they don’t become a psychedelic eyesore.

Choose Another Country’s Story

If you’re a traveler by heart, then take advantage of the numerous beautiful wedding traditions all over the world. This can be quite a treat if your partner is from another part of the globe too. Whether it’s a Japanese, Scandinavia, or Malay wedding service, you are free to experience other cultures as long as you do it with respect, love, and a sense of adventure. Just make sure you plan it ahead of time and have the budget for it.

Simple and Sweet

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with keeping it private, discreet, and civil. There are those who choose big, fabulous weddings to show off and that’s not always a healthy choice, especially if your means are limited. You can get married without worrying about whether you can pay the bills in the next few months and still make a classy and beautiful occasion of it. For starters, limit your guest list and cross off any unnecessary services from your wedding preparations.

Surprising and stand-out weddings are some of the most magical and inspiring events in one’s life. They don’t always have to be ostentatious or grandiose for it to be special. Remember, it’s already a unique celebration because you’re getting married to someone memorable and special.

Beat the Investing Gap: Investing Mindset Hacks for Millennials

Rentals in Turnkey Millennials are known to be risk-takers. They relish challenges and dive head first into anything that excites them, be it learning a new language or traveling on their own. But there is one thing that millennials aren’t so much fond of — investing.

According to a survey, only 9% of millennials see themselves as investors. More interestingly, only 62% of them said they have investment accounts. While the survey also said that they are willing to be educated about investing, a majority are still hesitant about actually doing it.

What’s stopping them from being investing-savvy? One probable reason is that they still don’t have the mindset of an investor. It’s how they look at the personal wealth that’s making the difference.

If you want to know how to develop an investor’s mindset and finally reach your financial goals, take a look at the following:

Make money work for you

Make your money work for you, not the other way around. Create a proactive plan where you consciously lower your spending and allot more budget for investing. One example is to set aside a part of your income to savings and investments then use the remaining as your budget for the whole month.

Arm yourself with options

If you keep stumbling upon the phrase, “Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” — it’s because it’s true. The key here is to spread the risks that come with investing. If you already have investments in mutual funds, consider investing in real estate. Turnkey rental properties, for instance, historically give decent returns in the long run. In case the stock market hits a snag like what happened to China in 2015, your entire portfolio will not that affected as you have other investments.

Have a plan B

Investing is all about taking risks. To protect yourself and your financial future, make sure you have a plan B. Create a sizeable emergency fund that should cover 3 to 6 months worth of your monthly expenses. Get insurance plans so you’re covered if ever you find yourself in a financial or health problem.

Think long term

Lastly, think long term. This is probably the hardest part as sometimes it’s hard to feel the difference when you’re just starting. But invest diligently and smartly and your future self will thank you for doing so.

A change in perspective can be all that millennials — and you — need to set yourself to financial success. When you have in your finances order, you can breathe easier and take on life’s other challenges head on.

Have Your Car Repair Service Stay Ahead of the Curve in a Tough Market

Car ServiceWhile the number of cars on the roads is increasing every year, car repair shops have to put more efforts to remain competitive. Some car repair service providers often have trouble landing more clients, and it lowers their bottom lines. 

People no longer patronise your car repair shop simply because you are open for business. Rather, you have to give them a reason to become your customers and have the privilege to fix their vehicles.

Market efficiently

One of the most effective ways to grab the attention of the prospective clients is to display a profound sense of knowledge. You should not embark on a self-praising promotion of your service. Instead of telling customers how efficient and your service is, opt to demonstrate your knowledge. It would entail establishing a professional website for your business. Be sure to populate it with thoughtful, informative, and helpful pieces. People regularly turn to the internet when facing car trouble. By positioning yourself as an authority figure, people will come to trust and depend on your advice. The rapport that results from post engagements makes it easy to sell your services to them.

Go green

Demonstrating a work culture that attests to your commitment to conserving the environment earns you brownie points. It helps you to stay ahead of the curve and win over more clients. You can begin your journey by contacting Waste Petroleum Combustion Limited, one of the popular petroleum recovery services in the region. Such services recycle used engine oil into other useable products. As a result, it reduces the amount of oil-related pollution on land and in waterways. Raising awareness of your commitment to such environmental conservation initiatives could increase your client base. People often appreciate such thoughtfulness and will reward you by getting your services.

Have excellent service

People treasure their cars. They will only frequent your premises if you demonstrate the ability to deliver a superior service. Ensure that your staff members have the relevant qualification and skills. Similarly, make sure that you have the best tools and equipment on the market. Use of superior replacement parts will also win over clients.

Growing the client base for a car repair service can prove to be a bit tricky. Fortunately, you can stay ahead of the competition with a little bit of planning and preparation.