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We all want clear and amazing skin; there's no doubt about that. It can instantly boost your self-confidence and make you feel good about yourself. Different types of weather can take a toll on your skin, though, especially winter. Read more

Weekend Wanderlust: Embracing the Elements in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

A weekend road trip is a perfect way to unwind after a long week of hard work. When the wanderlust hits, self-drive rental car options in Manila, Philippines allow you to explore the hidden gems and not-so-hidden retreats the Read more

The Right Way to Do a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange is a tax-deferred method of selling one qualified property and acquiring another like kind of property within a specific time frame. It is a tool to let go of a property today and exchange it with Read more

Coffee Confessions: What Does Your Favourite Hot Drink Say About You?

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Coffee Confessions: What Does Your Favourite Hot Drink Say About You?

coffeeYour morning ritual can affect how you function, as it sets your mood for the entire day. When people think of a life-changing routine, some of the things that come to their mind are running, low-calorie breakfast and uplifting music. For some people, though, wellness comes in a cup of great coffee.

You’ll feel content and relaxed as the caffeine kicks in. It’s your way of starting your day right, as coffee can be beneficial to the mind and body. You may not notice it, but coffee has the power to touch or even change your life every day. If you’re a coffee lover, here is what your choice says about your personality.

The Espresso Drinker

You’re always on the phone, with documents under one arm, and no time to chat with others. Espresso lovers are hardworking. They’re into career growth, leadership and achievements. If you’re an Espresso drinker, you’re friendly and adaptable. You also know how to get what you want. The way you like your coffee can tell people what you do most of the time.

The Black Coffee Drinker

The more bitter, the better. If you love drinking black coffee, you’re probably straightforward and quiet, but moody. Similar to Espresso drinkers, but even more ambitious and have a strong personality. Because you don’t like sugar in your coffee, you also don’t make a habit of sugar coating your words.

You know that a smart, frugal person doesn’t always buy coffee. This is the reason you make your own with care and knowledge. With a quality coffee machine, industry expert 7gramscoffee.com.au says you can create your favourite drink just the way you like it.

The Latte Drinker

If you like to make the perfect latte every time, it shows you like to please people and you’re often spending time pondering the meaning of your life. You tell people you’re great at maintaining a calm attitude and strengthening your personal relationships.

Your personality and lifestyle do come out on how you create your coffee, just as they do when you make choices in life.

When Used Cars are a Better Option Than New Ones

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on When Used Cars are a Better Option Than New Ones

cars onlineCars are one of the biggest investments in a person’s life. That means, you have think about proper budget allocation and fund management. This is why many buyers find themselves torn between used or brand new cars.

Even though buying a brand new car does indeed present obvious benefits, there are cases when second hand cars are actually the better option compared to new ones. Used cars offer those who are handy with a wrench the opportunity to have a new hobby to work on. These provide you with a nice project to put your DIY skills to the test. Even if you are not too handy under the hood, you cannot deny the savings that opting for a used car can bring.

Low Prices, Low Depreciation

Obviously, used cars are going to be less pricy to purchase than brand new ones. Who would not want to fetch a good price? Going for a used car allows buyers to go to higher tier models that would otherwise be out of reach when buying brand new. The steep taxes and ludicrous dealer fees you have to pay when you want to buy brand-new cars.

In addition, depreciation is a major factor that affects cars. Even new cars suffer from significant depreciation the minute they roll right out of the showroom. Think about this fact if you are considering a car sale. Consider the fact is that the value of cars typically depreciates during the first three years, and stagnates after that.

Finding the Perfect Used Car

As from used car dealerships, another good place to search for good automobiles is at car auctions. You can purchase used cars online at government auctions. What is best about buying government owned vehicles is that they are generally in prime condition. You can be sure to get true value for your money.

New cars have that distinctively great smell. The question now is how much are you willing to pay for that smell? Keep these points in mind if you are in the market for your next car.

Caring For Car Window Tints

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Caring For Car Window Tints

car  tintingWindow tints can improve a car’s overall appearance. More than mere aesthetic value, though, window tints offer a lot of functionality.

With so many accessories that you can use to customise your car, you might ask why tint your windows at all? With all the benefits it can bring, window tints can actually save you money in the long run.

Window tints reject up to 99% of ultraviolet radiation. We are all aware of the adverse effects that UV rays have on our skin and it helps to keep ourselves protected from it. They offer us a boost in terms of privacy, reduce the effects of glare — making it easier to drive, and they keep the car interior safe from fading caused by direct sunlight exposure.

Window tints are relatively maintenance-free, but there are a few things that you need to remember to make them last longer.

Choosing the right tint installer

If you get good quality tints right from the get-go, you are more likely to spend less time with care and maintenance. Window tinting has become good business over the years. As there are many window tint installers, quality may vary. Be sure to research before you choose a window tint installer. In addition, keep in mind that installers that have various outlets are often times better because it is a good sign that they do quality business.

Cleaning with the right tools

Make sure to use soft cloth when wiping your tints. Industry veteran Tint Works advises against the use of ammonia-based products when cleaning them. A good gentle soap or detergent mixed with water will suffice. Harsh cleaning agents and rough towels can end up scratching the tint and leave unsightly scars.

Nicks and scratches can be unavoidable over time. With a little extra care, you can prevent this by paying extra attention to metal or sharp objects that you load onto your car. Such sources of nicks and dents are car keys and seat belt buckles. Be careful when handling them. Always keep your windows free from stickers, suction cups, and other such decorative materials that may damage them.

The Importance of a Permanent Resident Card for Foreign Nationals

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on The Importance of a Permanent Resident Card for Foreign Nationals

resident cardMany people around the world have at least dreamed of entering the U.S. for residency and employment. After all, it’s among the most developed countries worldwide. There might be some problems in the economy, but overall it’s still ideal to invest in its market.

The Permanent Resident Card is an identification card that verifies the permanent residential status of a foreigner in the U.S. Also known as a Green Card, it serves as proof that the immigration is granting the holder the following benefits:

  1. Foreigners can leave the U.S. and go back without an immigration official denying them of entry. All you need is to present your Green Card – acquired whether through family and employment connections or an EB 5 Investor Program Visa – and take note of the exact dates you left and came back to the U.S.
  2. Foreigners holding a Green Card have the same rights as an average American to own real estate properties, automobiles, firearms, and other items legally. Applying for professional licenses and Social Security card is also hassle-free.
  3. Foreigners have the permission to work in any company in the U.S. regardless of position, function, and working schedule. It’s easier to apply for a security clearance, and there’s no need to present an employer sponsorship. The only exception, however, is that you can’t apply for companies hiring U.S. citizens only.
  4. Green Card holders have the right to apply for government-sponsored education financial aid. As foreigners tend to pay three to four times higher, you’ll save a significant amount of money, especially when enrolling in a state college or university.
  5. Green Card holders can apply for the permanent status (green card) of their spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Approved and qualified family members won’t lose their status even if you lose your job or pass away.

These are only some of the benefits of holding a permanent resident card. If you’re planning to stay in the U.S. for more than six months, then applying for this can make your life easier because you have almost the same rights as a local.

Why Display Homes are a Dream Come True for Real Estate Investors

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Why Display Homes are a Dream Come True for Real Estate Investors

new homeIf you’ve ever shopped around for a new house, then chances are good that you’ve seen your fair share of display homes. Perhaps you were even so impressed that you thought, “I wish I could just buy this one.”

Well, it turns out that you can, and it’s actually very common. Builders don’t want their capital tied up in display homes, when they could instead use it for new projects. This is why many Brisbane home builders often look for investors to purchase their display homes, especially for almost sold out developments. They then proceed to lease back the property until the time comes that they no longer need it.

This is a mutually beneficial arrangement; display homes are very popular among real estate investors due to unique advantages. Here are a few:

  1. Top quality – The display home is very likely the builder’s absolute best, since it’s what they use to demonstrate their skill and expertise to the public.
  2. Lower cost – Compared to buying a comparable luxury property, display homes are significantly more affordable. Builders will often price luxuries, such as high quality carpeting, at cost. They can afford to do this because they will often write these off as marketing expenses, and they want to free up capital quickly.
  3. Guaranteed occupancy – Buying a display home almost always comes with a guaranteed period of tenancy. The builder will lease the property from you for a period ranging from several months to a few years, which means you don’t have to worry about vacancy for that time.
  4. No maintenance – The builders have a vested interest in keeping the display home in a clean and excellent state for the duration of the lease. You can be confident that when it’s over, you’ll receive a property in near perfect condition.
  5. Flexibility – Once the builder’s period of tenancy is over, you have several options on how to proceed. You can move in yourself, sell the property for a profit, or lease it a premium rate. At times, the builder will even opt to extend their lease for various reasons.

Do note that display homes aren’t perfect. They carry their own possible disadvantages, which depend heavily on the specific builder you’re dealing with. Some builders rush the construction to start selling as soon as possible. Other display homes might have construction flaws, since the builder is testing out new plans and designs for the first time. Always take a closer look to find any possible problems.

If you detect any flaws, that doesn’t mean the deal is off. Remember that everything is negotiable. The builder might agree to repaint the walls, or replace the carpet for free at certain dates, for example. There’s definitely no harm in asking, and it can make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

The Fire Safety Risk of Hoarding

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on The Fire Safety Risk of Hoarding

fire safetyDid you know that owning too many things can harm you? Firefighters and safety professionals all say that there is a huge fire safety risk that comes with hoarding. Different news stories have shown the impact of keeping way too many belongings in an area, as several fire accidents have been blamed on hoarding.

Combustible overload

According to Fire Foe Corp., the main hazard with hoarding is the massive increase in the number of combustibles inside your property. When a spark ignites one item, its embers can easily spread to another and intensify the blaze.

Beyond the harm fire can bring, more combustibles also equate to greater amounts of smoke. Without openings in a property, it could rapidly fill an entire room with a suffocating mist of burnt possessions.

Some might argue that a property’s sprinkler system can do the trick, but fire safety experts caution property owners regarding the mistake of over-reliance on this mechanism. Sure, the spray of water can contain the fire to a certain extent, but hoarding presents an irregular amount of fuel that can overtax the sprinkler.

Pathway obstruction

Fire safety professionals point to another less popular risk of hoarding: pathway obstruction. While there is real danger in having excessive items, another cause of serious trouble is when the rescuers can’t get to the victims or can’t contain the fire. This happens when possessions start burning and blocking the hallways and corridors of a property. Any blockade whatsoever in exits and pathways present more trouble for rescuers and victims in finding a way out and keeping everybody safe.

Another risk associated with hoarding is the large number of items that can serve as falling debris that can entrap, injure, or kill anybody within the perimeter.

Although the US government has imposed different regulations covering the risk of hoarding, some property owners still fail to follow what the law dictates. It’s important for everyone to realize the danger of hoarding, because the act not only endangers possessions, but also neighboring properties and fire-emergency response personnel.

The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers

caregiverCaring for the elderly is a serious responsibility that many Australians would gladly volunteer for. These people receive the training, attend the seminars, and equip themselves with the necessary tools for the job. But, nothing can fully prepare them for the emotional ordeals that come with the job.

Self-Care

Only experience can teach caregivers about the real rigours of their job, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn from the experience of others. The first thing caregivers should know about what they will be doing is that they will not have time to slack off at work.

Caregivers must make themselves available to their wards whenever they are needed, which is most of the time. Every hour, minute, and second is to make the elder as comfortable as possible. This system does not give a person much time to de-stress or blow off steam.

Stress Time

According to psychologists, people carry emotional baggage every time they experience physical fatigue. This baggage does not go away easily, and slows the body from healing itself. People need to make a conscious effort to get rid of that baggage every day, or else it will stack up and compromise their ability to do their jobs.

Finding time to do this is not easy, but caregivers need to do so for their own sake. It may grate on some people, but it is about being able to do their jobs with their sanity intact.

Keep a Keen Eye

Falling into a routine is one of the traps every caregiver is vulnerable to. Routines dull their vigilance, and make them miss important details of the people they’re caring for. The point of having caregivers is to give elders the attention they need outside the hospital – attention being the operative word. Industry veteran Royal District Nursing Service notes that trained caregivers need to sense or identify changes in the attitudes and habits of their wards.

This is the second benefit of de-stressing after every shift. Going in fresh is the positivity elders need to aid their treatment, as well as allowing caregivers the insight of knowing when something’s wrong.

Caregivers need to be emotionally available to their wards to be effective. This is not an occupation that is strictly about health; there are many intangibles involved. Physically, mentally, or emotionally caregivers need to be at their best every time to give elders the care they deserve.

A Taste of the Philippines: The Different Flavors of Filipino Cuisine

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on A Taste of the Philippines: The Different Flavors of Filipino Cuisine

foodAbundant seafood, unique tropical fruits, an array of vegetables, and a veritable pantheon of culinary giants make Philippine cuisine a literal melting pot of flavors.

Beyond the gulp-inducing, mind-boggling balut (duck embryo), though, Filipino food isn’t that well known outside the island nation. One reason is that Philippine cuisine isn’t really that well-defined.

It’s hard to tell which province or region in the country has the best food. 17 regions, 81 provinces, more than 170 languages, and over 7,100 islands make the country and its cuisine as diverse as it can be.

A Little Bit of Everything

The long colonial history of the country reflects in its cuisine, with flavors influenced by the numerous invaders that set foot on the island nation. Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, Indian, and Spanish influences, among others, can be seen in many classic Filipino dishes. This is where ingredients like soy sauce, fish sauce, tofu, fresh noodles, and spring rolls, along with the stir-fry cooking method, shine.

Travelling around the country and dining in restaurants like Classic Savory, you can taste the Chinese influence and culture in dishes like Pancit Bihon Guisado, chopsuey, wanton soup, Bam-I, lomi, Yang Chow fried rice, and the like.

Tasting these different traditional Filipino dishes is like taking a journey back in time and discovering how a country came to be.

Big, Bold Flavors

Big, bold, in-your-face flavors are the typical qualities of Filipino food; it’s what sets it apart from its Asian neighbors that favor slow, subtle tastes. Sugar, spice and everything nice can be expected, as sour, sweet, spicy, and salty are common flavor profiles.

Dishes like the popular adobo, sisig, lechon, kare-kare, kinilaw and paksiw dishes all pack their own flavor profiles and yet still come together under the umbrella of Filipino cuisine.

Foreign Roots, Local Execution

While the Spanish, Chinese, and other foreign settlers cannot claim sole credit for enriching Filipino food, they certainly can claim they made a mark. Many of your favorite Pinoy dishes today are probably just local versions of foreign delicacies, but with a local twist.

Spanish and Mexican dishes like paella, empanadas, and chorizo have been given their own local twist with recipes like Arroz Valenciana, Ilocos empanada, and the different longganisas many Philippine towns and provinces are known for.

As renowned chef and TV host Andrew Zimmern puts it, Filipino food is the next big thing. “Everybody loves Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, and it’s all been exploited. The Filipinos combined the best of all of that with Spanish technique.”

Truly, Filipino cuisine is as diverse as the country’s 7,107 islands. If you’re a foodie or just appreciate good food, this diversity can only lead to good things.

Melbournian Magic: How Melbourne Set New Real Estate Records

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on Melbournian Magic: How Melbourne Set New Real Estate Records

land for saleWe all know about the magic of Melbourne, especially when it has been named the most liveable city in the world for three years in a row. But it seems that the real estate market has taken things to a new level. News stories point out how house prices in Melbourne have hit a new record high, with the median pegged at $658,000. Crunching the numbers, this is a significant increase of 3.3% in just three months.

Although the world’s most liveable city is not expected to do any less, it is still a point of curiosity as to how Melbourne managed to set this new record. Let’s take a look at the different factors that influenced this outcome:

The location factor

Melbourne’s title is enough evidence to justify why house prices in the area have skyrocketed. But of course, there is more to this phenomenon. When it comes to land for sale, Melbourne has some of the most attractive lots. Melbourne has a thriving central business district that serves as a good starting point for both young and established professionals who want to further their careers. Of course, this means more options for entrepreneurial growth, too.

The lifestyle factor

The suburbs prove to be an attractive choice for Australians, as these areas fit the desired lifestyle in the country. Many invest in middle ring suburbs to get to a close distance from the city whilst having all the amenities they need to live a comfortable life.

Inner city residents have contributed to the growth as well, as apartment life has become more attractive for those in the city centre.

The migration factor

The most liveable city has also proven itself as a highly attractive location for interstate migrants, not to mention the many international immigrants that flock the area. People continue to see the attractiveness of Melbourne to the point that they choose to move here over many other locations in the Land Down Under.

These factors sum up one thing: Melbourne is truly one of the most – if not the most – attractive locations in Australia. It’s no surprise that Melbourne’s real estate market does so well.

It’s Not Always Insomnia: Why You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

Posted on by Debra Lefler in Customer Service | Comments Off on It’s Not Always Insomnia: Why You’re Having Trouble Sleeping

trouble sleepingWe’ve all experienced it before: the frustration that comes with a sleepless night. Come morning, you dread to see the sun because you haven’t had a decent shut eye since you decided to lie down. Although there are cases when this might be insomnia or some other clinical condition, other factors might be the cause of this problem.

Your room

Sometimes, your room is what keeps you from sleeping soundly at night. A study notes how the color of your room affects the amount of sleep you get at night. The temperature is also a contributing factor, as the human body wants to cool down before sleeping. Then again, your mattress might be the culprit. The foam may be too worn out and you need a new one. In case you’re looking for a new king mattress, Orem has many stores carrying quality beds that will help you sleep better.

Your mind

Whatever’s on your mind before you venture off to Dreamland affects how easy or hard it is for you to sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists mental activities, such as concentrating and trying to remember things as some of the leading causes of sleep-related difficulties. Relaxing before bed helps a lot in combating this, as you want to clear your head before you snooze.

Your habits

The habits you do prior to sleeping also influence your slumber (or lack thereof). Smoking, for example, seems like a relaxing thing to do before bed for many, but the nicotine is actually a stimulant that acts like caffeine and keeps you up.

Late-night workouts are also bad for your sleep. Physical activity stimulates your body’s heart rate and metabolism. As a result, you end up feeling restless and experience random awakenings as the night drones on.

Some people like to watch TV or tap away on their smartphones before sleep, but this activity prevents your body from entering a relaxed state. The light that an electronic device emits tries to copy sunlight, thus sending signals to your body that it’s time to wake up. In effect, your body slows down the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for causing sleepiness and lowering body temperature.

These things keep you from having a good night’s sleep. Do something about it and you will have a sound slumber soon.