Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Kids Growing Too Fast? Save Cash on Clothes with These Thrifty Tips

Trying to stop your child from picking their nose or taking off their clothes and running around in the nude may seem impossible. However, stopping kids from growing is actually impossible. No matter how hard we try as parents, we can’t stop our little tykes from growing up.

That heartbreaking sentiment is also expensive. During a growth spurt, you may feel like you have to buy new, bigger clothes for your child every week.

The average American spends about $1,800 on clothing a year, but if you’re a parent of fast-growing kids or teens, any budget can seem tighter than that T-shirt.

Save money and help your kid look less like ruffians with these money-saving tips for wardrobe shopping:

1. Buy Used

Chances are, your little kids won’t care if others have worn their clothes. It’s especially smart to buy used clothes for playing or eating, since you won’t have to worry about a spill or stain ruining that pricey name-brand onesie. Check thrift stores, garage sales, and online swap groups for the cheapest kids’ clothes money can buy.

2. Buy Out of Season

It can be a tough gamble to buy kids’ clothes in advance. What if they grow a lot in the fall, and don’t fit in the clearance winter jacket you want to buy now? When in doubt, go a size larger than you think you need. They’ll be able to wear it a little longer, and you’ll still save money by buying the clothes in the off-season.

3. Seek Unexpected Hand-Me-Downs

Sure, if you have more than one child, hand-me-downs seem like the obvious solution when kids keep outgrowing their clothes. But what if you’ve only got one child? If your little one lacks older siblings, try reaching out to cousins, neighbors, or even friends. When you consider that almost 75%of consumers tell their friends about a business just because of a sign, it's easy to see that helping your neighbors out with hand-me-downs is an easy task. Your child’s classmate may have an older brother with clothes to spare. You could even start your own clothing swap group with a few friends to help everyone save some cash!

Kids are great, but clothing them can be expensive. Save a few bucks this year by finding cheaper ways to keep your rugrats warm and covered up. With these tips, your budget will be able to handle even the most dramatic growth spurts.

How To Pick The Right Kind Of Wine For Any Occasion

Most of us enjoy fine wine during or after a good meal. Still, it's sometimes tricky to choose the right one, as there are hundreds of types you could drink. A lot of people simply get confused in their local stores when browsing wines and end up buying the one with a pretty label on it.
It's perfectly ok to not know which one to choose. Luckily, this simple guide will help you make the right decision, enjoy your meals even more and delight the guests.

Go for easy pairings

When it comes to pairing wine and food, you can go one of two ways - complementary or contrasting. And you will be right in each case.
In case of the complimentary option, combine light with light and rich with rich. In other words, crisp white wines go well with seafood and chicken, while full-bodied red wines compliment red meat and various types of cheese.
When it comes to the contrasting approach, you can, for example, eat oysters with Sauvignon Blanc. The salty taste of the oysters will be soothed by the fruity aroma of this wine.

Red meat dinner

When entertaining, most of us go for a classy dinner rich in red meat. This needs the right choice of wine to really raise it to the next level. You can opt for a red Bordeaux, while the choice for the entry can be a merlot with a touch of Cabernet. This is a cheaper option than going straight a cabernet but it's also good for people of different preferences. In other words, it's a safe option when you have a big group of people coming.
If you want an unexpected choice, go for sparkling rosé. The bubbles in it affect the fat the same way tannin does. It's also a better option if you prefer chilled wine for the evening.

Enjoying pasta

When eating pasta, the best option is to choose a barbera (go for the Italian version), especially if tomatoes are a big part of the dish. Just like a pinot noir, it's of perfect lightness for eating pasta. Still, the Italian version goes even better with the dish. Actually, it's made specifically to complement pasta dishes.
Of course, you can still go for a dry pinot grigio and enjoy the meal nevertheless.

Vegan dinner party

Choosing the right wine for a vegan party is not an easy task. White Bordeaux would be a safe choice, as it's soft and goes great with grain-based dishes. Another light choice would be a Syrah. Sometimes it can be tricky to find them in a local store, but you can visit an online wine marketplace.

A barbecue option

In case you are going to have a barbecue, then get a Syrah or a Malbec. These types of wine usually come from South Africa, Australia or Argentina.  You actually need a fruity dry wine that isn't too complex. They won't spoil the spicy food or the seasoned food you're barbecuing but will come as a perfect complement.

Choosing wine in a restaurant

If you happen to go to a restaurant with somebody, you may feel ashamed if you can't choose the right wine, especially if you're on a date. There's no need to feel embarrassed and ask the waiter for help. You can tell them what your budget is, as well as your tastes and your favorites. The waiter will surely give you the right recommendation. If you're waiting for your date, you can do it before they arrive.

What to do when in doubt

Maybe this will come as a surprise but if you ever will truly unsure of what type of wine you should get, then get a crisp, dry rosé. Its mild acidity will accent the majority of dishes, so you can't go wrong with that. They especially complement cheese plates.

Final comment

After some time, you will feel more confident when you're choosing the wine. And you will also start experimenting (just don't go overboard!). For now, just stick to these rules and you won't be in the wrong. You'll enjoy the meal together with your guests.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Tips for Waking Easier this Winter

Is there such a thing as a ‘morning person’? Does the individual who wakes happily, day after day, exactly on the dot, really exist? And then, once they’ve woken so easily, they happily endure the wintry cold weather and are bright and cheery when they get to work? I don’t think there is such a person – it has to be a myth!
Be honest, when you know it’s cold outside and you have to go to work, you really don’t want to get out of your warm, comfortable and cosy bed, so it’s no surprise that you find waking up so hard, especially in the winter when there is no light to help you. So what is the answer?
There are, in fact, ways to help yourself wake up on time – some of them easy and logical, others perhaps surprising – and while not all of them work for every person, we think there must be one that works for you! That’s why we put together a list of the best ways to make waking up in the winter easy.
The Obvious – An Alarm Clock!
Now this is obvious, and you probably already have an alarm clock, but it’s all too easy to press the snooze button and doze off back to sleep! We all do it, and it is tempting every time, but here’s a tip that might help: put your alarm clock on the other side of the room! If it is out of reach, it means you have to get out of bed to switch it off, and once you’re out of bed, you may as well get up! It’s by no means a failsafe idea but it is one that will help, so it might be worth giving it a go as a free option!
Will Yourself to Wake
This one works with some people, but not with others – and there are also those who don’t believe it can work! Some people claim to be able to wake at a time the tell themselves to wake the night before; some do it by chanting repeatedly the time to wake, others by merely thinking it as they go to sleep. It’s curious – and somewhat dubious for many – but for others it does seem to work. It costs nothing, so it’s worth giving it a go!
Get a Wake Up Light
This is one of the best ways to help yourself wake up in the morning in winter. One of the reasons we find it hard to wake in winter is that the morning remains dark. It’s different in summer when the sun rises early and we can allow the light in to help us wake. A Wake Up Light is a device that slowly lights up in the morning – you place it beside your bed – so it gradually begins to reach full light, just as it would in the summer. Not only is this an effective method of waking it’s also a pleasant one, and you will find this best wake up light review to be very useful if you want to try one of these. They are not expensive either, so if it doesn’t work you’ve lost very little.
Don’t Sleep In at Weekends
One of the best ways to ensure you wake early enough for work in the week is to get up at the same time on the weekend. Making your waking time a routine throughout the entire week makes it easier for you to settle into it in the first place, and means you will wake naturally if all goes to plan! Again, this works for some but not for others, but it’s worth a try.
Go to Sleep Earlier
This is perhaps the obvious one, but it’s not always easy to do. It follows that if you sleep a certain amount of hours a night on average, if you go to sleep earlier so you will wake earlier too. The only problem with this method is the getting to sleep in the first place bit, which is not easy for some people to achieve!
For many people, the problem of waking on time is a psychological one; hypnotism has been shown to work for many people, but is something of a last resort for us. If we were asked to recommend the best method of those above, it’s the wake up light, as it simulates a natural sunrise effect, so has to be the most natural way of ensuring you wake up on time. 

Sunday, 20 January 2019

5 Benefits of Hiring a Videographer for Your Wedding

A lot of people consider their wedding day to be one of the greatest days in their lives. You want that day to be perfect, and you want every single moment of the happiest day of your life perfectly captured. While a lot of people consider hiring videographers for their wedding day, some people don’t. Whether or not you are considering hiring one for your wedding, below are some reasons why you should get a videographer for your big day.

One Less Thing To Worry About

Weddings can be hard to plan. Having something to worry about during the wedding can be a complete nightmare. By hiring a videographer, you have one less thing to worry about during your wedding, and you are assured that they will, without doubt, impress you. As you walk down that aisle or as you dance to the music during the after-party, you know that someone, somewhere, is doing their best to capture all those moments.

Creativity at Its Best

If you want creative work during one of the best days of your life, be sure to hire a competent videographer. An amateur is less likely to come up with creative poses during your photo shoot, and you can be sure that all the photos and videos will be super plain. Contrarily, a skilled videographer will come up with creative ideas to make the films and photos as artistic as possible.

Professionalism and a Touch of Experience

There is nothing more satisfying than getting your wedding photos and videos professionally done. You want every moment to count, and the last thing you want is to have meagre photos and videos taken on your important day. A professional like the Emmanuel wedding videography guarantees you first-rate work. These videographers have vast experience and clearly understand the dos and don’ts to achieving the best kind of films and photos for your wedding. Be sure to do your homework well: ask for samples to see what your prospect has done in the past to make sure it is the person you are looking for.

Advanced Equipment

One major benefit for hiring a videographer for your wedding is that you get to enjoy some of the latest and best equipment in the industry. The kind of equipment used play a key role in determining the kind of quality and flow of work. Most of these videographers are always on top of their game and are aware of all gizmos as soon as they hit the market. So expect top-notch quality work shots from some of top of-the-line equipment.  


Don’t be fooled by the kind of equipment or professionalism into thinking that hiring a videographer will suck your pockets dry. Firstly, their work is spotless and every penny you pay for it is totally worth it. And secondly, most of these videographers charge totally affordable rates and you don’t need to break the bank to hire one. What’s more, finding skillful videographer with great rates and all the latest equipment is a total steal for you.

Tips for Getting Your Kids Outside in the Wintertime

Parents and guardians may be tempted to dial back outdoor activities for kids when cold temperatures arrive, but playing outside is good for children, even in the wintertime. Lucky the TurfMutt, a rescue dog and the face of the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship platform for kids in grades K-5, offers the following tips to help to make wintertime, learning playtime:

Do winter activities that are fun. Weather that adults consider to be “messy” can be a huge canvas for children and their imaginations. Snow balls, snow forts and trees covered in snow offer a wealth of opportunities for children to explore and experiment in our living landscapes.

Encourage exploration. Ask your child to look at how the landscape changes with the seasons. Talk about what happens after leaves fall, when snow arrives, when it’s windy, and more, linking these seasonable changes with basic science about clouds, rainfall, temperature changes and the earth.

Play with them. Get outside in the winter with your children. It’s healthy for both kids and adults to move!  Have a snowball fight, build a snow man or fort, or go sledding.

Try something new. Try your hands at cross-country skiing, igloo-building, winter hiking, ice fishing, ice skating, snow sculpting, snowshoeing, or something else that your children want to try to give them an appreciation of the outdoors in all seasons.

Attend a community festival. There are many community festivals year-round, and winter festivals can be exceptionally fun and offer activities for kids.

Mention how happy it can make them. Even winter sunshine can make kids happy! Literally. Sunlight boosts Vitamin D, which helps regulate emotional and mental moods by increasing serotonin in the brain. Even exposure to the weaker sunlight in the winter can cause this happiness boost.

Tolerate some mess. It’s a given that kids going outside in the snow will often return wet, muddy and messy. Be prepared for wet and cold kids and get them warmed up when they return from playing outside.

Process what they did. Ask kids to share about what they did outdoors. You can ask them to talk, write, or draw out their activities and observations. Did they observe something new? Did something surprise them? What was fun?

About TurfMutt
TurfMutt was created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Research and Education Foundation and has reached more than 68 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to “save the planet, one yard at a time.” TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB. TurfMutt is an education resource at the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Green Apple, the Center for Green Schools, the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, Climate Change Live, Petfinder and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 2017, the TurfMutt animated video series won the coveted Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for Best Interstitial Series. TurfMutt’s personal, home habitat is featured in the 2017 and 2018 Wildlife Habitat Council calendars. More information at www.TurfMutt.com.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Should you ditch the gym and workout at home instead?

When it comes to exercise, some people prefer going for a run, others enjoy a spin class, others may prefer a gym while others opt for a workout mat in their living room. To break down the pros and cons of at home workouts, we spoke with Vince Sant, Fitness Expert, Certified Trainer and Co-Founder of V Shred an online fitness portal based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

According to Vince, the key is to create a workout regimen that is sustainable. “You really want to create something that is fun, fast and effective. When considering an at home workout it’s important to get honest and determine if it’s a match for your exercise style and mindset.”
That said, let’s get into it.

Working out from home is convenient!
Roll out of bed, and you can be working out within a few minutes. Sounds easy enough. If that were the case obesity wouldn’t be an issue. Everyone would be in excellent shape. “The truth is some people need to go somewhere to get serious about exercise. Sometimes when things are too convenient, we lose motivation,” explains Vince. This makes sense when we consider why shared office spaces are so popular. Some people need to be outside of the home to be productive. “People who can work out from home are usually great at time management, aren’t distracted, are fully committed and are disciplined,” says Vince. Convenience is clearly both a pro and a con depending on the person.

No more expensive gym fees!
There’s nothing worse than paying for a gym membership that goes unused. Many can relate. Working out from home eliminates these monthly gym payments. This is definitely a pro for many people. “Thanks to mobile technology more and more people are turning to fitness apps and online portals for ‘virtual training.’ When I was creating the many workouts for men and women along with the menu options and recipes, I asked myself what can V Shred offer that would be better than a gym for way less money.” It seems like more and more people are embracing virtual training that also has a nice community feel where people can share their progress in social media groups.

No distractions!
Many people find the gym to be more about socializing than fitness. Many women have to wear earbuds and make it clear through body language that they aren’t interested in being hit on. “The gym is definitely a place where some people see it as a great place to find prospective dates. If you’re into fitness, then the best place to meet someone who is also into fitness would be at the gym. However, I totally empathize with people who want to do their work out without any distraction or awkward interactions,” Vince shares.

Want to bend, grunt and look your absolute worst without any care? Then working out at home is for you. “The majority of guys don’t care about this sort of thing. However, looking cute at the gym is a priority to many women. Aside of their wanting to look good, they also don’t want to be self- conscious as they are on all fours doing leg kicks, on an abductor machine, or grunting while doing that last sumo squat. People who are a bit more private about working out prefer to do it at home.

Kid friendly!
The at-home fitness trend is a favorite to moms who work from home and want to get fit while watching their little ones. “Many moms complain that they could never go to a gym with a baby or toddler. Some gyms offer kiddie care but it’s not the same as putting down a mat with your child right there. It also raises kids with exercise a part of their day right from the start, which is very important,” says Vince.

No machines!
Many people avoid the gym because they feel intimidated by the machines and weights. Some people who train at home choose to add basic equipment such as resistance bands, exercise balls, weight balls, kettlebells, jump rope, and weights. Vince assures people that they can get amazing results with no equipment at all. In fact, one of the things he wanted to offer people through his V Shred workouts were a plethora of equipment-free workout options that use the body as resistance.

“If machines aren’t your thing, then at home high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can work wonders. The key is mixing up different moves and challenging yourself. Getting creative with moves and music can keep things efficient, effective and fun,” says Vince.
For those who prefer zoning out on a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical, these machines can be bought and added to a home gym if space allows.

Regardless of whether you choose to keep the gym membership or create an at-home routine sticking with it is key. “Either way you really need accountability, especially in the beginning or when you are working towards a specific goal. This was why I decided to offer virtual trainers in the V Shred platform. Mindset is everything when it comes to fitness. It’s important to have a real expert to support you along the way,” Vince says.

About Vince Sant:
Fitness Expert & Co-Founder V Shred
Vince Sant, 25, is the Co-Founder of V Shred, the fastest growing online fitness and nutrition portal in the world. As an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, Former Model Turned Fitness Expert, Instagram Fitness Guru & YouTube Sensation, Vince’s mission is to offer the masses a sustainable and transformative lifestyle-based training program designed to put the fun back into fitness and nutrition.

In 2015, Vince co-founded V Shred along with Nick Daniel, Roger Crandall, Kevin Pearn, who sought out to create a healthy fitness movement specifically designed to deliver profound changes in your body with the minimal amount of workout time.  

Vince is responsible for creating some of the world's most popular fitness and nutrition programs such as Fat Loss Extreme and Toned in 90 Days for women and men and Ripped in 90 Days for men.
V Shred is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information visit http://www.vshred.com

Flower Bouquet Printables For Valentines Day!

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so most of us are starting to think about our school parties, Valentine’s Day gatherings or a special day with our significant other. All of the hearts, chocolates and flowers that we love can sometimes feel a bit routine when planning Valentine’s Day dates and gifts. Elevate the classic bouquet with these printable wraps. ProFlowers created a guide with the how-to steps as well as 10 different printable bouquet designs each made for both a vase and a bouquet.

Check out the Valentine’s Day wraps for someone special or one of your best girlfriends with cute designs that feature hearts and xo’s. They would be a perfect addition to a Valentine’s Day party when wrapped around vases or handed out wrapped around sweet bouquet party favors. If you aren’t a huge flower person, try creating a bouquet made with candy or chocolate covered strawberries and wrap it with a fun patterned wrap.

Another great part about these wraps is that their use extends far beyond Valentine’s Day. The romantic wraps can be used for anniversaries but they also have neutral and celebratory designs that are perfect for birthdays, teacher appreciation, baby showers, bridal and wedding parties and those “just because” gifts.

Another tip, try writing a personalized message on a wrap instead of a typical card or flower note. A nice bouquet of flowers or a potted plant with a personalized wrap is a perfect way to say “I love you,”  congratulations, or just brighten their day!

Easy Ways To Save On Your Heating And Cooling

If you're looking to save money on your usual monthly expenses, one of the first places you should look should be your heating and cooling. While you might not see the costs of this utility separated out all the time on your energy bills, you'd be surprised to learn just how much this necessary expense is taking out of your normal budget. According to the Department of Energy, 45% of the average home energy bill goes toward heating, and that's not accounting for winter and summer increases due to changing weather.

Heating and cooling your home can account for a large percentage of your regular energy spending, but don't worry, cutting down on this bill doesn't have to mean an uncomfortably hot or cold home. Here are a few useful tips and tricks to beat your heating bill without having to deal with uncomfortable temperatures.

Update Your Appliances

If it's been a few years since you've upgraded your major home appliances, it's entirely possible your heating and cooling systems could be outdated and costing you extra money. Spending money on a new appliance might seem counter-intuitive to saving money, but think again; a new appliance can actually reduce your overall energy spending and eventually end up paying for itself.

Newer heating and cooling systems tend to use energy more efficiently, helping you save on the energy bill once you've replaced your old appliance. In some cases, newer models of air conditioners use about 50% less energy than they did in 1990. Swapping out your air conditioning unit, therefore, has the potential to save you half of what you're currently spending on your cooling costs, making the initial investment well worth it.

Check Your Construction

Believe it or not, the way your house was originally built could be having a huge impact on how much you're spending on your heating and cooling bill, even if you weren't the one responsible for how your home was constructed. Certain types of construction, like modular construction, can reduce energy consumption during the building process by around 67%, as well as reducing energy costs later on for occupants. Look into what type of construction your home initially used to see what fixes specific to your home you can make use of.

Additionally, a few simple home repairs can help you reduce heating and cooling costs significantly, even if there's a little bit of initial investment involved. Sealing leaks around your home that could be causing money-draining drafts can help you cut down on costs for heating and cooling. If you're already planning on doing some home renovations sometime soon, make sure your new materials are conducive to energy savings. Look at the materials your windows use in particular, as certain materials retain heat better than others. Energy Star windows are typically made with six different framing materials: fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, wood, composite, and combination.

Small Switches For Savings

Don't underestimate the impact smaller switches on a day-to-day basis can have on your heating expenses as well. Just like how turning the lights off when leaving a room can help you save on your electricity, turning down the thermostat when you're not home can help you save on heating expenses. If possible, use a programmable or smart thermostat for your home; this way you can reduce how much you spend on heating without having to actively change the thermostat as frequently.

Additionally, don't be afraid to turn the thermostat down just a little bit. You likely won't notice a degree or two difference, and that's sometimes all it can take to reduce your bills. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every eight hours you lower the thermostat by just one degree, you'll end up saving 1% on your energy bill.

Saving on your heating and cooling can be as small or as large a task as you like, with options available from renovation to even just changing tiny daily habits. How do you plan to save on your heating and cooling bill in the future? Will you use these tips?