Sunday, December 17, 2017




Your Perfect Summer Staycation

Your Perfect Summer Staycation

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Vacations can be fun and stimulating, but sometimes what you really want is just to stay home, relax, and enjoy your own environment—which, unlike any hotel, is already outfitted with your own décor, your own entertainment media, your own comfy chair right next to the air conditioning…you get the picture. You set up your living space for your enjoyment, so why not take advantage of your time off to really enjoy what home has to offer?

perfect summer staycation Your Perfect Summer Staycation

Here are a few suggestions for making the most of your fabulous non-trip.

  • Plan ahead. Experts recommend deciding what your staycation will consist of ahead of time. If you know what you want at the end of your time off, you’re more likely to feel satisfied with staycation once it’s over.
  • Turn off the ringer on your phone. If you want to communicate with your friends and family, you can contact them. Otherwise, why leave yourself open for potential business calls? You might even consider turning your phone off and leaving it tucked away somewhere.
  • Stock up on your favorite foods and snacks. You know the ones. Go for it—after all, you’re on staycation!
  • Make sure to keep the entertainment flowing. This could be a great time to binge-watch a TV show you’ve been meaning to check out, or revisit an old favorite. If reading is more your thing, make sure to grab a stack of your favorite kind of books, from the bookstore or the library.
  • Go ahead and order that pizza. You’re already saving money by not traveling out of town. Why not invest a bit of that cash by having a meal or two delivered from your favorite restaurant?
  • Explore your town as if you were just visiting. Check the internet or a guidebook for fun things to do that you’ve never tried. It’s easy to take the entertainment options of a place for granted when you live there, and far too many locals never really explore what their city is like for tourists. Don’t feel obligated to do anything that sounds like fun to you, but you might be surprised at how many neat nearby opportunities you’ve never heard of.
  • Take a day trip. For some dedicated staycationers, this may verge on blasphemy. Isn’t the point of a staycation to avoid the stressful travel aspects of a vacation? Here’s a quick compromise that still enables you to have a change of scenery. How about a trek to a state park or a neighboring city?
  • Resist the urge to work. You tell yourself you’ll check your work email just this once. What’s the harm? The next thing you know, you’ve been working for hours. This defeats the purpose of staycationing. Give yourself the real break you deserve. Projects around the house are also off-limits.

Don’t be afraid to change your plans midway through if you’re not enjoying yourself.  Let’s say you wake up in the morning, and you decide to go on a four hour hike. But then you change your mind, and you decide to pop in a DVD instead while turning up the air conditioning while getting comfortable on the couch; then by all means, that’s what you should do. You’re taking this time for yourself, so honor what you need to do in order to recharge.

Cheryl is a lifestyle writer who has always found ways to relax while going somewhere on vacation or simply just taking a staycation at home.

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Start Of The Football Season – How To Keep Your Pitch Perfect All Season

Start Of The Football Season – How To Keep Your Pitch Perfect All Season

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Finally it is that time of year you’ve been not so patiently looking forward to: football is back! One of the most important behind the scenes roles of each match is that of the groundskeeper. Keeping the pitch healthy and green is essential for both team’s performance and stealth. Here are a few tips and tricks to keeping your lawn pitch perfect. So that when you aren’t cheering on your team you can star in your own premier league final in your back garden!

start football season how keep Start Of The Football Season   How To Keep Your Pitch Perfect All Season

Monitor your Mowing

Lawns should be kept at roughly 3 to 4 inches long all year round. Adjust your lawn mower so that you don’t cut off too much as this discourages growth. There are certain times of the year when you should alter the amount of times you cut your grass per month. You will need to mow more frequently during the spring months as this is when grass grows at its fastest rate. Growing slows during summer and autumn so frequent mowing will be less necessary. Mowing is largely at your own discretion so all you need to do is keep an eye on the length of your grass and mow when it appears to be longer than 6 inches. Make sure you sharpen the blades of your lawnmower on a bi-monthly basis to ensure a consistent cut. Blunted lawnmower blades with cut your grass unevenly and roughly, which could lead to browning in patches on your lawn. As premier league teams need to maintain their equipment so do you.

Keep it Fertile

All flora needs a form of fertilisation in order to thrive and grow healthily. Grass is no exception to this rule. Opinion differs greatly as to when to fertilise and what type to use. A good rule of thumb is to decide what you want to achieve when you fertilise. If you want your lawn to grow quickly and abundantly then you should fertilise frequently using a fast action fertiliser. The main problem with this approach is that, although your lawn will grow quickly it will not be as healthy as it could be. Making plants grow quicker than their natural rate can cause a weakening to them and make them brittle. Grass that has been forced to grow faster is more likely to suffer during hot spells in the summer. Therefore if you opt for a slow acting fertiliser it will encourage your lawn to grow at its natural rate and make it stronger and healthier. It is also advisable that you only fertilise your grass once a year during the cooler months. Early spring and late autumn are the best times of the year for grass fertilisation.

Keep it Hydrated

All plants need water in order to grow. Grass is at its best when it gets at least one inch of rain per week, during the hot summer months this doesn’t always happen. The best thing you can do is to water your lawn on extremely hot and sunny days. Make sure you water the grass when the sun isn’t at its fullest. Early morning or late evening is the ideal time depending on when you are free to do it.

Corinne Kemp – Lifestyle and Product Writer for Grassform

Photo Credit: @mikepick



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Five Tips For Choosing The Perfect Neighborhood For Your Family

Five Tips For Choosing The Perfect Neighborhood For Your Family

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When purchasing a new house, you have to think not only of the house itself but the neighborhood as well. The way your home looks should not be enough, but you also have to consider the neighborhood your children will grow up in. You want to give them the best possible surrounding where they can be safe but still have fun at the same time. Below are tips for choosing the best neighborhood.

five tips for choosing perfect Five Tips For Choosing The Perfect Neighborhood For Your Family

Its Proximity to Schools

As a parent, you want a home near the school your children go to. This way, it will be easier for you to juggle taking the kids to and from school and going to work. However, having schools near the neighborhood should not be enough to make you choose the neighborhood, but you also have to consider the ranking of the school. In addition to this, you also have to consider their rating.

Of note; most schools post their ranking and rating in their websites, making it easier for you. There are also websites that compare these information.

Its Crime Rate

Another important factor that you have to consider when choosing neighborhoods is its crime rate. After all, you want a safe place for your family, so choose a neighborhood that has a low crime rate, in terms of robbery and burglary, rape, assault and battery, murder, etc. You can easily check the crime rate of a neighborhood by visiting websites that focus on neighborhood comparisons such as crime websites. Websites like these gather relevant data such as crime rate, school ratings and rankings, and even neighborhood appreciation rates. You only have to type in the details and then you will be given a list to choose from.

Its Proximity to Community Centers

It will also be a very good investment if you choose a neighborhood that is near parks and community centers. This way, your family will have a place to visit if you want to relax and enjoy some quality time with each other. Parks and community centers are also a good way for you and your family to get some exercise such as walking and jogging.

Its Proximity to Stores and Establishments

Choosing a neighborhood that is near stores and other establishments is also a good investment. You can easily take a walk to the nearest convenient store to pick something up. Not only can this help you save some money on gas, but the walk is also a good way to get some exercise.

Its Proximity to Your Job

Having a home near your job is always a great thing since this will give you more time to be with your family. Instead of driving two hours to reach home, say for example, you will be there in less than 30 minutes. The more time you spend with your family, the tighter and closer your bond becomes.

Choosing the perfect neighborhood for your family is not that easy, but it can be made easier by consulting your real estate agent, your home builder, or even your relatives and friends. If want more options, then go online and visit neighborhood comparison sites to know the place well in terms of crime rate, school ranking and rating, etc.

Jennifer Dalley is a freelance content provider who regularly contributes articles to home improvement and real estate blogs. If you are looking for the perfect home in Boise, Idaho, she recommends getting in touch home builders for more information about the place.

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Filmmakers: How Get The Perfect Shot The First Time

Filmmakers: How Get The Perfect Shot The First Time

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filmmakers Filmmakers: How Get The Perfect Shot The First TimeFinding the right shot and actually capturing it with your camera can be rather difficult, if you don’t know your way around your equipment or know how to use your eyes just as much as your camera.

Using Your Eye to Capture the Shot

Your eyes are just as important, if not more important than your camera is, in capturing quality shots. In order to get the right shot, you have to focus your brain on a person or an object that is completing the action worth filming. Consider it a good rule of thumb to train your eye to include a ‘hero’ in each shot, filmed so that the audience has a focal point within the frame. An individual who is having an inspirational moment would obviously be the hero to be focused on just as a bottle of rum would be in a scene of an alcoholic considering ending his sobriety.

Regardless of who or what you choose to be the ‘hero’ of your shot, it is important to have a main character or subject. Without focusing in on the hero, the audience can be confused as to what exactly they should be paying attention to, and it could mean losing their attention altogether.

Need some tips on how to help your audience pinpoint who the ‘hero’ of a shot actually is? Take a look at some classic Hollywood techniques you can use to make your hero standout.

  • Make sure that the hero within a scene has the moving role, so that the eye is drawn only to them
  • Use lighting techniques to make the hero just a little brighter than the rest of the scene
  • Use your camera lens zoom feature to make everything else in a shot just a little blurry, this will make the hero stand out
  • Don’t make the hero a part of the background, bring them forward within the frame

These are just a few of the ways in which you can help your audience’s eye to focus and make your subject the true hero of a shot.

Using Your Camera to Capture the Shot

Now, if you have used to your eye to create the perfect shot in your mind, you want to be sure that your camera skills and knowledge will actually allow you to transfer this to the camera. Familiarizing yourself with your camera is absolutely necessary if you want to be successful.

This means reading through the manual, beyond the quick start instructions, and playing with all of the features. You might be surprised to find that your camera is equipped with certain options, or should be adjusted to film in certain locations.

If you have a new camera, or happen to think that playing with your camera could break it, there are plenty of options to help you get to know your equipment better. Not only do most modern cameras come with detailed manuals, but most manufacturers offer detailed tutorials for each camera on their website. Additionally, some digital cameras are now equipped with a default, or reset, feature so you can play with your camera all you like, and can return it to its original settings easily.

By simply getting to know your camera, and learning what it can, and cannot, do, you can begin to plan your scenes around the action that your eyes see. Recognizing the scenes and actually capturing them the first time exactly how you want them won’t happen overnight. To get the shot the first time, you need to train your eyes and practice with your camera equipment.

Donna manages a creative film and broadcast portfolio for a leading film and video distribution service.

Photo Credit: Vancouver Film School



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5 Tips For Perfect Speaker Positioning

5 Tips For Perfect Speaker Positioning

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1. Avoiding ‘boomy’ bass

When you have just spent a lot of your hard earned money buying some new speakers, the last thing you want to do is to place them incorrectly and find your bass sounds too ‘boomy’. To avoid this, you need to place your speakers away from the walls of the room; about 2 or 3 feet should be your absolute minimum. This will not only ensure your sound is a lot sharper but will also keep your bass sounding beautifully deep.

2. Experimental positioning

It is always a good idea to try a wide variety of different positions for your speakers before you decide on a definite placement. Whilst you are experimenting, try to remember to avoid placing speakers in corners, otherwise you will find you don’t get the best sound. Persevere with placing your speakers at different points in the room and also try out lots of different audio with varying levels of bass. This will ensure you find out exactly where the best placement of speakers is, in order to get the right audio levels.

3. Finding the sweet spot

Your experimenting will hopefully lead you towards finding the ‘sweet spot’. However, to help you out a bit, it is usually a good plan to start by making an equilateral triangle with your speakers and your listening point (i.e. where you tend to sit or stand in the room). You should then seat yourself at the apex of the equilateral triangle you are making with your speakers. You really need to make sure the speakers are equidistant away from you (at the apex) and are both angled equally too. If you take the time to do this correctly, you will find you enjoy the sound performance a great deal more.

4. Placing the speakers at ear level

It is always recommended to make sure the speakers are placed so that the tweeters (producing the high-frequency sounds) are at ear level. This means you will need to raise your speakers, if they are too low, by using speaker stands. Likewise, if they are already on stands and are too high, you will either need to find a way to point them downwards or remove the speakers from the stands. It’s important to get the speakers at the right height because having them at ear level will give you the best balance of sound. If your speakers are too low or too high you will find you miss higher frequencies, which isn’t ideal.

5. Use speaker stands

If you want the very best sound, and no doubt you do, then when buying your speakers, you should ensure you also invest in some high quality stands. Using metal, or wooden, stands will ensure better quality of sound as they reduce unwanted resonance. It’s also a very good idea to use any of the cones or spikes that come with your speakers or speaker stands. Using these will help reduce the amount of ‘kickback’ produced by your speakers. You’ll find this greatly improves the speakers’ performance as the sound will be a lot less muddied.

James writes for Tellurium Q Black Cables. When not writing, he can often be found listening to music with his ears way too close to the speakers.

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