Six Apartment Upgrades to Make Your Rental Feel More Like Home

Sometimes renting can make your house feel less homey. Luckily there are some things you can do to make that little apartment feel a lot more like home. Here are six upgrades you can make to add a personal touch and get more comfortable where you live. These are quick simple fixes you can do and they won’t cost you that much money. Remember to always get permission from your landlord so you don’t lose your security project and then once you have the go ahead give some of these a try.

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Make it Like New Again

You can replace some of the things in your apartment to make it your own and make it feel like a brand new house. First you can replace your shower heads and the faucets. The shower head will make you feel like you’re stepping into a luxury shower instead of the trickle the other one was giving you. New faucets are easy to install and don’t cost that much so you can do it without many issues. You can also replace the knobs on cabinets and handles on doors. There are intricate patterned door handles that can transform your front door and cute wooden knobs that make your cabinets stand out. You can fix things that don’t match or change around the décor to make it the way you want. Usually any upgrades you can make to the apartment the landlord actually will appreciate.

Lighting and Painting

You can change up the paint colors in your rental with your landlord’s permission. A new color in the room will make it feel more like home, especially if it’s your favorite color. You can switch out the light fixtures in your home to give it a new look as well. Sometimes switching out the light fixtures can change the look of the whole room. Take caution if you have to change lights out on high ceilings. Make sure to have a friend there to hold the ladder.

Save Room and Hide the Uglies

You can easily make the best out of a small situation by using your space wisely. Apartments don’t often have that much room so you have to get creative with the way you store things. Often this means using an island in your kitchen with places to put things underneath or a bench that doubles as a chest. You can cover up some of the less attractive things in your apartment by little upgrades. This can include tiling the floor to cover up cracks and pulled up tiles, and covering things like ac units and holes with innovative patches. There are so many things you can do to upgrade your apartment and make it feel more like home, these are just a few. You can always be creative and find things to help upgrade your apartment. Just remember to surround yourself with things that you love and you’ll be on the right track.

Remember ‘Three Audience Truths’ before Giving a Speech

Words are powerful. No one can ever underestimate the power of words. Undeniable proof found in marketing and sales have established time and again that hypnotic words have incredible power. A speech, when delivered in the right way, can be powerful and persuasive, and can have people looking forward to the next points in the speech. Certainly the best speeches are the ones which are clear, dynamic, short and to the point – this way you keep everyone’s attention and don’t see people with eyes closed and nodding off.

audience-828584_1920Everybody knows those long, tedious, lifeless talks that never come to an end, and no speech should ever be more than 10 minutes long for maximum impact. Also, what you say in your speech can get people thinking. If you aren’t particularly skilled at making a speech, the very thing you don’t want to do is announce this to your audience, especially in the opening sentences. Once you’ve informed them of your inadequacies, they’ll be looking out for them. It’s the nature of human beings. So the first tip for giving a good speech is to let them believe you’re skilled, even when you’re not.

Tell Yourself You’re Good

The second factor that can help you in all aspects of life, and not just for speech making, is to take a leaf out of a sport’s psychologists note book. They’ve proven that a good deal of positive self-talk before- an event, or a speech in this case, can provide you with an aura of confidence and you can come across as someone who ‘knows what they’re about’.

In the few minutes leading up to your speech, you can say over and over again to yourself ‘I am a thought-provoking, dynamic speaker – I’m prepared and I’m ready – bring it on!’ Plan to give your speech without the need to be constantly looking at your notes, and certainly plan to make a powerful opening couple of sentences that get everyone’s attention. This is the benefit of a short speech – you can plan and rehearse it so that you are absolutely clear about what you want to say.

A Little Bit of Emotion Keeps Things Interesting

There is plenty of opportunity to connect on a personal level with your audience, but like your speech, it should be quick. Avoid the trend that has crept in lately where we see people pause to gather their emotions, wipe away a tear and still ‘bare their souls’ to gain a sympathetic ear. People are tired of fake behavior. If you have something sad or even infuriating to share, it should be quick, and with just a little bit of emotion displayed.

Know Your Audience

Think of your reason to giving a speech and do research on who your audience is, and with this in mind you can give a speech that will inspire, inform and entertain.

 

How Big of a Financial Emergency Are You Prepared to Handle?

 

A proverb says – “Money is the root cause of all evil”; it may be, but all of us need money to survive. Let’s be honest, unless you are within 5-10 per cent of the population, then money is definitely an issue from time to time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are on the bread line, although possibly you are, but even those of us fairly comfortable still get a little anxious from time to time when it comes to discussing money and potentially having to spend quite a bit of our savings. For many of us, putting money aside is just not practical or not beneficial. Most of your pay check goes on the bills, rent, groceries, kids etc and you want to use the rest to enjoy yourself, right? Well maybe so, but even putting a few dollars a month away in a savings account or in an emergency fund jar could be very useful a few years down the line.

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Emergency Fund

 

There is always a little controversy surrounding emergency funds and savings accounts, but the harsh truth is they are almost definitely a good idea regardless of your circumstances. It’s always important and smart to be ready for any potential unexpected financial event. Except, most people simple are not. What if you or your partner were made suddenly redundant? What if you unexpectedly have another child on the way? What if you have to support a parent or family member? Depending on your country, it might even be wise in case you need to pay sudden medical or veterinary bills.

 

Be Prepared

 

As mentioned, the sad truth is that most Americans would not be ready if faced with a potential financial burden. Studies carried out by personal finance site Frugal Rules discovered that 52 per cent of Americans would not be able to cover a $400 expense, without either taking out a loan, selling personal items or borrowing money. Also only 38 per cent of Americans would be able to cover a $500-1000 expense from their savings alone. When you are preparing and modifying your budget (and if you don’t have a budget then you most definitely need one) you should always take into account financial emergencies.

 

Expect the Unexpected

 

We never know what is around the corner. All we can do is prepare for any outcome as best as we can, and sometimes this means that we need to put a little money aside ready in case we would ever need it. It simply isn’t possible to gather a mass emergency fund overnight, and the terrible and annoying thing about emergencies is that they don’t care whether you are ready or not. So all we can do is think of the future, and try to prepare as best we can. Do you consider financial emergencies in your family/life? If you do a plan or are in preparation, how did you get there?

The Best Time to Plan Your Garden Is in the Winter

 

If your question is whether or not you can garden during the winter, the answer would be in the positive. You can surely fulfill your plans on gardening during the winter season. Actually, researchers say that it is even the best time to garden or make plans when it comes to your landscape. You can even make certain decisions with regards to the magnificent designs you want to create.

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Your garden structure can be anything you want it to be. Placing anything in your garden which does grow within that area may also be your definition of a perfect garden structure. What you need to remember when planning your garden during the winter season is the idea that you have to enhance a lot of magnificent and wonderful natural plants around you instead of just making your way out to surpass it.

 

There are tons of reasons why you should use different structures with various shapes and colors in your garden. One of the many advantages of placing structures is that it will help you maximize the limited space your garden has. Just like most of the gardeners, whether amateurs or professionals, do not want to be greedy on the structures. With the different types of structures, you will be able to place every plant in existence you wanted. On the practical point of view, garden structures are important because you want to make the most of the space your garden has rather than placing all those plants on top of each other. Along with the perfect kind of garden structure, you need to study the possible strategic points that can maximize your spaces.

 

In addition to creating a good and perfect garden, it is important that you consider that those structures blend with the kind of garden you have. You can place natural features of you want. However, you need to look for a strategic point so that your space will be fully consumed by the garden structure you placed. Every gardener should consider the option of placing a number of large white rocks to your garden because it will create a nice contrast between the white rocks and green background. Some gardeners also prefer to place wooden decoration such as wooden planter, old bench, or a tree stump. Others prefer to place a garden path.

 

Apart from those reasons mentioned above, garden structures have the ability to enhance the beauty and feel of your garden, especially when it concerns your plants and flowers. Plants or vines which are climbing up your stone wall can create a charming combination with the garden structure you have. You can use a climbing rose or delightful clematis. Your garden structures will let your visitors experience the beauty and help them appreciate the natural wonder that a single flower can make.

 

In using garden structures, you must bear in mind the attraction that the structure can give to your garden. An old or antique Adirondack chair and an English trough garden chain can have the ability to give emphasis on your garden and can create a rustic appeal. On the other hand, a tall metal arbor or a formal fountain can give your garden a formal appeal.

 

The only limitation to your decision on what kind of flower garden or any garden structure you want to put is your imagination. Let your imagination flow, take note of it, and choose the right one. Just a caveat to the way you create an idea with regards to deciding on what garden structure you want is that you should always remember that you should never place too many structures to your garden. Make it simple, elegant, and free from any clutters.

 

 

What to Do When You Pull a Muscle From Working Out

Muscle tear, muscle pull, or muscle strain refers to damage to your attaching tendons or muscles. It can be in a form of tearing or pulling of the attaching tendons or muscle fibers which are attached to your muscles. It may also have a damage effect on your small blood vessels which would lead to bruising, pain caused by nerve ending irritation, and local bleeding. Common pulled muscles include calf strains, groin strains, and pulled hamstrings. It is graded according to its severity.

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The grades are as follows:

  • Grade I: No disability. Normally does not give a limitation on your activity. You will feel a mild discomfort.
  • Grade II: There is Moderate discomfort. Thus, it will limit your muscle’s ability to perform activities which are high-leveled. You will also experience bruising and moderate swelling of the muscles.
  • Grade III: There is severe injury on your muscles which will surely cause a significant pain on your body. Patients who experience this muscle strain complain about the bruising, swelling, and muscle spasm.

 

Symptoms

 

Below are the different muscle strain symptoms you should be aware in order to prepare for the outcome.

 

Muscle strain includes open cuts which are caused by the injury sustained, redness, bruising, swelling, and pain at rest. It may also include pain whenever a specific joint or muscle is used, weakness of your attaching tendons and muscles, and the inability to use that muscle.

 

What To Do

 

Here are the things you need to do when you experience pulled muscle or muscle strain during the activity.

 

Ice

 

The application of an ice may help in the reduction of your muscle’s swelling, pain, or bleeding. Ice must be applied as soon as possible after you have sustained a muscle pull in order to be effective. Once 15 minutes or more have lapse since your muscle pull, it is no longer recommended to apply ice to your muscle strain.

 

Heat Applications

 

Research show that there are tendencies when temperature can give an influence in the stiffness of your muscle. Keeping your body warm and muscles strong will create lesser possibility for you to sustain any muscle strain.

 

 

Rest

 

Once you experience muscle strain, the basic way to do is to rest. It will take a recovery phase of about 1 – 5 days, and then you are all set to continue your sport or activity. You should remember that immobilization can give potential harm.

 

Strengthening

 

After your rest, it is important that you regain your strength first before going out in the field again. Strengthening your muscles after a pulled muscle or muscle strain will give you lower probability of experience another injury for the time being.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

 

This will help in reducing the alleviation of painful symptoms and swelling caused by your muscle strain. However, this medication may have certain potential side effect to some individuals. Thus, it is best that you first check with your doctor if a certain anti-inflammatory medication may be used.

 

Muscle Fatigue

 

It is noteworthy that a person engaged in athletic activities or any strenuous activities should avoid from any possible muscle fatigue. Researchers say that muscles absorb the energy in your body, and restoring the strength from those energies will help reduce the possibility of muscle strains or re-injury. You have to give importance to your muscles which normally experience fatigued because it is those muscles which normally experience muscle strains.

 

Gentle Stretching

 

Make sure that you don’t stretch your muscle immediately after your muscle strain. What is recommended is to gently stretch your muscles so as to prevent further muscle strain injuries. Bear in mind that you should flex or stretch your muscle before performing any strenuous activities.

 

 

 

10 New Year Money Resolutions Anyone Can Keep

When it comes to the end of the year, most of us will utter the ultimate question in mind: “Will I make another set of new year resolutions that I know will never be achieved anyway?” A lot of people are putting weight loss targets in their New Year resolutions. Others list down career or academic achievements that they plan to obtain within the next 365 days. On top of that, a lot of people are also making finance-related New Year resolutions where they pledge to save more money or contribute more to their investment accounts. Nevertheless, people seem to forget that saving more money can be done through accomplishing small things one at a time, and here are some actually achievable resolutions which you can do to start saving money in 2016:

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Avoid Credit and Debit Card Usage

As you probably have known, credit and debit cards are very convenient for impulsive and mindless purchases. If you choose to spend cash for each and every one of your purchases, you will actually go through the process of seeing the money go away, and this will trigger some sort of rude-awakening within your mind especially if you have been wondering where all your money go away all these time. Carry an emergency card only, and withdraw cash in a sufficient amount so that you will not spend more than you have planned.

Buy Secondhand Items

Most of the time you can always buy secondhand items which will work just fine and this will save you money in the long run compared to buying brand new things all the time. This principle can be applied to almost anything from buying clothes to acquiring cars. New cars depreciate in value and as a result you will save more money by buying used. As for clothing, despite the fact that it is really hard to turn away from those discounts offered in your favorite retailer shops, buying secondhand clothes is something that is done worldwide. Not just in Asian countries like India and Pakistan, but apparently buying secondhand clothes is also a thing practiced in western countries like Russia and the United States.

Collect and Use Coupons

If you feel that going through the circulars and cutting out the coupons each week is too much of a work to be done, you can always choose to collect coupons electronically. You can collect coupons by visiting different websites which provide discount codes for your purchases or you can use applications like Grocery IQ and Coupons.com to make it more convenient.

Cook In Bulk

Cooking in a bulk gives you much more benefits than losses, despite the fact that you will be cooking up a larger amount of food by which it will be more tiring and probably takes longer than cooking for one person. Making meals for ten people is actually really similar to making it for one or two persons because you practically use the same ingredients and the same cooking method, but if you cook in bulk you will be able to buy your food in the bulk prices and you can always freeze them and reheat them at a later date. It is way cheaper and easier than cooking different meals and purchasing different ingredients every night.

Go To The Local Library

Rather than buying one for your own, you can always borrow copies of your favorite books, movies, and albums from your local library. If you are too lazy to go there, applications like Hoopla will let you borrow digital copies of your favorite movies, audiobooks, ebooks, albums and so much more. After the given amount of time, the items that you have borrowed will be removed from your account and there will never be any late fees for whatever it is that you have borrowed.

Installing Money Management Apps

By installing money management apps, saving money will seem much easier and effortless. There are a lot of different types of money management apps which you can choose, but one of the most recommended ones would be Digit where it will help you monitor your spending habits and move your money into a savings account when it is affordable. Browse through the App Store or Google Play Store and download apps which you think will help you manage your money better.

Opt For Generic

Generic everything – from medicine to bread, cheese, coffee, cereal and detergents are available everywhere and they can be half the price of a renowned brand. Unless you are really keen in getting one product, most of the time generic products will do just fine and you will end up saving a lot of money by turning generic.

Raise Your Deductibles

You will be able to pay less for your insurance policies by raising your deductibles. Even though at the worst part if something happens you will have a bigger bill, but you will experience a significant drop in the monthly paid premium and as a result you will pay a lot less to still have an emergency fund for whenever things do not go the way they should.

Sell Old and Unwanted Items

Even though it is good to donate your old and unwanted items to charity, you can also sell it online through websites like eBay and Craigslist to obtain extra money. Take decent pictures of the things you want to sell with your phone and post them online through the available mechanism.

Turn Down The Heat

This is actually really simple and doable but a lot of people keep on forgetting. Turn off the heat when no one is at home if the weather is cold. On the contrary, if you live in a tropical and sunny place with a really hot weather, turn off the AC every time you leave the room to make sure that you do not spend the money on extra electricity bill with no one enjoying it.

The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000

Depending on how much money you have, there are different options for investing it. This article will look at the different and best ways to invest three different amounts and then you can determine what amount you want to invest. You just need to pay attention to what you can gain and what you could lose. Risk assessment is important when you are looking at investing your money. You need to look at what you stand to lose and make a decision based on that compared to what you could gain.

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Five Thousand Dollars

This is a large amount, but putting this much into a quality mutual fund will allow you to get information from a stock portfolio and have your money managed. You can cash in any time. This is going to grow over time and some years will be better than others, but this is the best place to invest five thousand dollars. If you have five thousand dollars to put in, then think of this as a big buy down the road, this won’t pay off right away but it will grow over time.

Five Hundred Dollars

Five hundred is still a lot but modest compared to five thousand. For some people this is a while paycheck, younger people are always eager to find some way to grow their money, but if you don’t have the funds to live for the week then investing that much is not a good idea. This is a good amount to invest in a certificate of deposit. This allows the money to sit and gain interest until it matures, then you can get back that five hundred bucks and whatever it’s earned. You can also use an online advisor in finances to help you figure out the best stock to invest in. They will often even manage your money and trade for you if you give them that authority. Shop around and get referrals from friends so you know you are getting a reliable financial advisor.

Fifty Dollars

Fifty dollar investments lean more towards things you can do and not bank products you can invest in. This means you can buy and refurbish furniture to sell online. You can buy things that need to be fixed and make them whole again or buy the things you need to create something and sell it. Another great way to invest fifty dollars is to start a savings account. Put fifty in there every once in a while and keep building it. Lastly fifty can be used to start your own business such as writing or some type of free lancing. If you use it to buy a website and some advertising, you are well on your way.

Don’t Over Spend

It’s important to know how much you can actually afford to invest. Don’t invest money you will need to pay your bills or your rent. A financial advisor can look at your income and your accounts to let you know what a comfortable amount of money for you to invest would be.

Salespeople Who Think Like Engineers Sell More

Life is about making decisions and hence the statement “you can be anything you dream of.” However, succeeding at the person you become is not always guaranteed especially if you lack the basics to keep afloat on competitive grounds. Among the most competitive careers in the history of making money is sales job. Businesses with good salespeople are able to attract new clients and retain existing ones better than those with just average personnel.

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Being a salesperson can be so easy for one individual and yet so difficult for another. It all depends with how one understands the market, client needs and the secret formula. The secret formula is plain and simple; think like an engineer, act like a salesperson. Engineers are people with the ability to visualize and bring into existent that which never was. They are not limited by reality because they shape reality through inventions and innovations. They are open to creating solutions in situations that appear hopeless.

 

This being the age of information, a lot of potential clients already assume to know what is best for them. That might not be necessarily true but what they know is their gospel truth. With mindset like that, introducing new products or services becomes a challenge that even experienced salespeople find hard to tackle. It takes a great deal of patience and strategy to finally have a breakthrough as only engineering holds the key to it all.

 

Usually, the first instincts of a salesperson is to talk clients into reasons why they need a certain service or product. While we must give up to them for spotting opportunities and patiently singing to the choir, we must admit times have changed and theirs is a futile mission. It’s hard to convince otherwise a person whose mind is already made up unless you think like an engineer.

 

Why an engineer?

Engineers work in a systematic process that is; problem identification, analysis, solution implementation and conclusion. In this scenario, they understand the problem lies with understanding client’s needs and ends with meeting those particular needs.

 

A deal they can’t refuse

Engineers rarely think of themselves as salespeople but as solution bearers. They understand that the first step to making a sale is not in talking but listening. They focus intently on what potential customer say before they can try to offer solutions. Once they have detailed information on what their client wants, they come in to solve. Remember, the more details you are able to unearth from a potential client, the greater the chances of offering a highly convincing solution.

 

The Dos and the Don’t

Always place the needs of your clients before anything else. What they need is not a storyline but a solution to their unique problem. From your body language, most clients can tell if you are there for a quick sale or interested in bringing a difference in their lives. Be yourself first as that will make you appear natural while asking and responding to questions.

It would be a disastrous mission for you not to be acquainted with your company’s products because solutions are derived from that knowledge. Do your homework in advance to avoid last minute disappointments.

 

Change is inevitable. If your sales method aren’t working, it is the highest time you tried the engineering recipe. It might turn to be just what you needed to spice your sales career once more.

How are Premium WordPress Themes Holding up After Two Years?

There are a number of great WordPress themes that were great during the year 2014. Things on the internet have changed so you can look at the themes in the year 2016 to see if the themes are still holding up to the high standards they used to. This theme looks at things like the functionality of the theme and its ability to adapt over time to the changes that take place on the internet and in the business world. If the themes can adapt over time, then they are given a more favorable mention.

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Safarica

 

The Safarica theme is a forty-dollar theme that doesn’t really work with the modern website. It has a boxy appearance and you can tell it’s an older theme. It looks good it just is kind of old news. The Safarica theme is fine if you are looking for a more retro looking website.

 

Weald

 

Weald is a clean theme that works for lots of different things. This theme is still very much in use to showcase a person’s clear idea of their business. Clean themes are timeless because they allow the designer to create something visitors can easily see.

 

Panic Station

 

Panic Station is still modern and it’s special enough that it is one on this list that still holds strong in 2016 as an edgier theme to use for your business or website. The vibrant color and background that isn’t stark white gives it a little touch of danger.

 

Retro

 

The retro theme is well retro and the theme is still hard to customize. When you use the theme it’s going to look almost exactly the same as another site that uses it. This means if you’re looking for variety this isn’t the theme you want.

 

Barberry

 

Barberry is a fifty-five-dollar theme that is good for selling things. It’s laid out to sell easily and great for a smaller shop. It’s mostly used for kids shops though so it might not be the first choice of a slightly more mature t-shirt company.

 

Simplicity

 

Simplicity is a theme that a lot of people use because it’s simple. It gives the site a clean look. Now it’s fully customizable so it’s still in high use today. Simplicity is easy to customize for whatever type of site you need to use it for. When you want something a beginner can use and design around then Simplicity is the best bet.

 

Overall the themes are still being used today so they are holding up fine with a few minor problems. The great thing is that WordPress has all new modern themes you can enjoy and they won’t make your website look quite as outdated. There are lots of different features that come along with the new themes you won’t find in the older themes that you might want to consider for your business. In the end it’s all about the look you like and what you’re comfortable with for your website.

 

9 Tips for Dealing With Controversial Issues on Social Media

Having a business on the tips of your fingers is a pretty tough job. You have to organize things and remain neutral on whatever controversy coming your way just to avoid any risk of blackening your reputation and making you lose your customers throughout the process. Since most businesses nowadays are active in social media and use this to the advantage of their business through different postings, the lines on which you can see or view the matters on sharing can be a bit blurry. This is why the Young Entrepreneur Council gives us 9 tips on how to overcome this.

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Feeding Not Advised

 

Nobody can deny the fact that the Internet is a hostile place for everyone. However, you should remember that negativity tends to feed itself.

 

Staff Meeting Test

 

When it comes to matters related to politics, if you have this tendency that you don’t want to share your opinion loudly to the public or just on a staff meeting, it is better that you keep your thoughts or insights to yourself. According to Kevin Conner of the Vast Bridges, the words and actions you bring can reflect and give good or bad reputation to the company.

 

Converse With Your Employees

 

You have to let your employees know that you are striving a kind of business that avoids and prevents controversial topics especially when it is made through social media. You can even give the some examples so as to clear things out. According to a member of the Youth Entrepreneur Council, social conversations have the capability to escalate and clear things out if issues are set up-front.

 

Offline Management

 

In dealing with controversial issues, you need to remember that it is best dealt offline. You also need to remember that the internet world never forgets, especially when it involves controversial issues. Although some of your companions might say that dealing with controversial issues online is the best way to do it, you should never fall for it. Just remember that when issues are made or handled online, you won’t be able to control it and the issue will definitely stay on the web as long as somebody is interested.

 

Not Statements

 

You should know by now that your customers or clients do not want a statement from, what they want is to have a meaningful and useful conversation with regards to your offers.

 

Flow Chart

 

You can develop a simple flow chart to help you deal with these issues. The reason why the internet gets a lot of share when it comes to anonymous critics is that it makes it easy for people to relay pieces of information even if it’s untrue or false. According to the young entrepreneur, David Ciccarelli, developing a flow chart or decision tree in a time where you have no worries will surely give you the right amount of confidence to address the problems or issues that come your way.

 

Never Get Involved

 

Remember that your company has no political views. Never make a mistake of relaying or representing your opinions and insights through your business. Staying away from any controversial issues will you absolve any negative thoughts or reactions that may ruin the reputation of your business.

 

Trending Topics

 

You need to keep track of the trending topics related to your business so that you will be able to use it to your advantage. Just makes sure that you stay neutral and will not give your opinions or insights.

 

Dealing With Crisis

 

According to Mattan Griffel of the One Month, anytime a business is taking advantage of social media, it should know by now to be ready to deal with any crisis that may come their way. To the young entrepreneur, it is important to listen to the people, especially when they talk about your brand. Making them feel important and heard will help lower any harmful situation.