5 Things You Should Consider Before Buying Your Field Hockey Equipment

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The origins of field hockey go back thousands of years, though the modern version was developed during the 18th century. If you have a little one who wants to be a field hockey athlete or aspire to be one yourself, there are quite a few items to help you be the best hockey player out there. This includes, but is not limited to, sticks, goggles, gloves, shin guards, etc. With that much time being associated with the sport, the amount of modern equipment that is now available can seem overwhelming.

To help you decide which equipment is right for you, here are five things to consider before making any purchases.

Rules and Requirements

If you or your child are playing in a league, the first source of guidance for all of your equipment decisions should be the rules and regulations in place. Certain points, like mandatory safety equipment and approved stick weights, might be controlled by the league in which you intend to play. Regardless of personal preferences, you have to make sure your choices are within the scope of the rules. Otherwise, you won’t be allowed to play with the equipment you have. That means you will be stuck buying more just to play with the field hockey group you already joined.

Player Position

While most participants in the sport of field hockey use the same equipment, that isn’t always the case. If you or your child plan to play goalie, then you will need to purchase different kinds of equipment in comparison to other players.

For example, goalies need a helmet with proper face protection. Additionally, you will need to invest in additional padding, including arm and hand protection. The size of the pads may be dictated by the league, so make sure to refer to any associated rules and regulations before purchasing goalie equipment as well.

Local Weather

Traditionally, field hockey is an outdoor sport. That means your local weather may impact some of your purchasing decisions. For example, certain field hockey shoes may perform better on wet or muddy fields than others. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, choosing the right shoes can help prevent slips and falls.

Another weather consideration is the average temperature. Certain materials breathe better than others, making them better choices in warm or hot climates. Others are more insulating, which may be appropriate for cooler locations.

Potential Growth

A point some parents fail to consider when purchasing equipment for their child is the likelihood that they will grow out of the equipment. While it is always critical to make sure that the equipment is accurate by basing your purchases on the player’s current size, you might not want to invest in more expensive options if you expect your child to have a growth spurt in the near future. In contrast, you might feel more comfortable investing in more expensive options if you don’t expect a dramatic change in size.

Even if you think you or your child might outgrow the equipment rather quickly, that doesn’t mean you should ignore quality entirely. However, you might want to consider when a replacement may be necessary in order to help determine a comfortable price point, that way you don’t over invest in an item that will no longer be usable after a single season.

Comfort

No matter how fancy or expensive a piece of equipment may be, you don’t want to choose something that is uncomfortable to use. For example, field hockey sticks come in a number of lengths and weights. Sticks that are too short or too long will feel awkward to use. Similarly, a stick that is too heavy or light may not provide the power or control for which you are looking.

Goggles, gloves, shoes, shin guards, and mouth pieces all need to be the right size. Not only will this make you more comfortable, but it also ensures that everything is performing their function in the best way possible.

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4 Actionable Tips On How You Can Lower Your Property Taxes

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The value of real estate properties have been increasing again and as a result, the assessments on properties are also increasing. As a result, property taxes are also on the rise. High property taxes is not one of the best benefits of owning a home, so homeowners are constantly finding ways to make it appear that their house does not deserve a high assessment value.

There are various ways that you can do to ensure that you would pay a lower property tax, no matter where you are.

1. Present an Unpresentable House

This might sound like a weird advice, but if you are planning on improving your home, it should be done after the assessment for the improvement of your house might have the assessor believe that these improvements have added value to your house.

Moreover, your property is being assessed based on your neighborhood and if you are living in a house that is considerably better than the other homes located in your area, your property would have a higher assessed value.

Remember that you are trying to reduce the assessed value and not the actual property tax, since your tax rate will be computed based on the assessed value. If you haven’t found a home yet, it might be better to begin your quest with properties that are sold below market value since they would equate to lower property taxes. One site that specializes in finding properties nationwide that are below market value is assetcolumn.com.

2. Request for the Property Tax Card and Review it

The property tax card is held by your local assessor’s office and it contains the essential information that has been gathered on your property. It holds data on the size of the property, the number of rooms and its corresponding dimension, and any material fixtures and improvements done on the home.

However, homeowner’s do not take advantage of this informational device that probably holds discrepancies that can allow them to apply for re-assessment. No matter how small the mistake is, it is still the duty of the local assessor to correct them and to charge you for the right amount of property tax.

3. Investigate Comparable Assessments

If you want to appeal your property tax, it is better if you back up you case with concrete evidence. Your case will be easier to attend to since you have proof of your argument. All you would need to do is submit photos of comparable homes around your area that were sold recently and the details about the sales. If you are trying to sell your house, you can also submit a copy of the offers you have received on your home as proof of your appeal. If your appeal is based on your gut feel, it is highly likely that it will be ignored. However, if you present an appeal with complete documentations and written support, the re-evaluation would most likely be granted.

One way to find out about the possible offer that I can receive on my property is by using needtosellmyhousefast.com. I have tried using it myself and they called me almost immediately with a direct offer.

4. Know the Assessment Process

The assessment process begins with the sending out of assessment notice. Since the homeowner would be notified of the arrival of the assessor, it is the homeowner’s duty to be present during assessment so they can point out the problem areas of the home.  If the assessor goes about the assessment on their own, it is more than likely that they will focus on the things that can increase the assessment of the house.

The notice would also carry details on who to discuss their issues with if they complaints, the process on how to make an appeal, and the allowed time to make an appeal. These details can vary per state so you have to be more careful when it comes to reading the assessment notice. According to Vera Gibbons, “You will also be given a specific time frame in which to make your case. Take note because while in some areas you may have a full six weeks to appeal (from the time you receive the assessment in the mail), in other areas, you’ll have as little as two weeks.

Moreover, once an appeal has been granted, it is important that you know the process and present your evidence in a professional manner. It is essential that you show the assessor that you know what you are talking about and you have done thorough research on the matter.

Finally, when arguing for a lower tax rate, it is vital that you have all the details regarding your argument since the only way to get better results is by having evidence that rest on cold hard facts. The government needs money and they get money from taxes, but it does not always mean that they do not allow the taxpayer to correct their tax rate. Several homeowners have overpriced taxes because they assume their property taxes are final, but if you know the process, you will realize that are capable of changing the amount you pay if you have done sufficient research on the topic.

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5 Ways to Stick With Your New Year's Resolutions in 2017

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With 2017 quickly approaching, it’s time to consider the things we want to change in our lives next year. For many of us, these aspirations come in the form of New Year’s resolutions. But keeping these resolutions often seems impossible.

Here are a few ways you can stick with yours.

1. Clearly Define Goals

The problem most people have is that they don’t set the right goals. In order to increase your chances of actually accomplishing your resolution, set SMART goals:

  • Goals need to have specific outcomes. Otherwise, it’s easy to make up excuses or shift when circumstances change.
  • You need to have a way of measuring your results. This way, you can gauge your progress and stay motivated.
  • Goals need to be realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you’ll lose focus and drop off early on in the process.
  • Good goals are relevant. If a goal is irrelevant, you don’t really have any motivation to keep chasing it when your schedule gets busy.
  • Goals should be time-bound. A goal needs to have a defined end date. In the case of a New Year’s resolution, this may be the middle of the year or the end of the year.

When you set SMART goals, suddenly your chances of accomplishing your resolution become much higher.

2. Set Check Points

It’s one thing to have a goal that says something like, “I want to lose 25 pounds by December 31, 2017.” It’s another thing to say, “I want to lose 2 pounds per month, every month this year.” The latter gives you something to work with. You need to lose 2 pounds every month, which keeps you on pace. If your only goal is to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, it’s easy to put things off until October or November (when it’s almost too late).

3. Keep a Calendar With Reminders

If you’re a visual person, you need to keep a calendar with reminders on it. Find a calendar that you like, hang it on your wall, and place little notes and progress reports on it. This allows you to look ahead and see what needs to be done during any given week or month in order to help you realize your resolution for the year.

4. Allow for Flexibility

One common problem people have is that they feel as if their resolutions are “all or nothing.” In other words, if the can’t fully check something off the list, they won’t do it at all. This is a dangerous way of thinking and you need to avoid it.

“The difference between doing something rather than nothing is huge,” leadership coach Kevin Kruse says. “If you don’t have a full hour to workout at the gym, just decide to make it the best 20-minutes you can. If you have a slight cold or minor injury, decide to just walk the track for a couple miles. If you have a financial emergency and can’t save your full 10% this month, just save what you can. The bottom line is, any effort towards your goal is better than no effort.”

5. Have an Accountability Partner

The final tip is to have an accountability partner. When someone else is aware of your goals and resolutions, you’re much more likely to stick with them. Connect with someone you trust and ask them to hold you accountable.

You Can Do It!

Keeping your New Year’s resolutions – especially one that’s mentally or physically challenging – can seem impossible. However, once you accomplish your first resolution, you’ll realize that it’s not only possible – it’s also rewarding and fun.

Follow these tips and you can be sure to make progress with your resolutions in 2017.

Featured photo credit: Pexels.com via static.pexels.com

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What to Remember When Sending Business Christmas Cards

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As Christmas approaches, many companies begin to prepare their Christmas cards for clients, customers, employees, and other business associates. While it may seem like a simple thing, there are a lot of considerations regarding what is and isn’t appropriate, as well as the method of delivery.

You need to select an appropriate design and message that properly reflects the sentiment you are trying to express. If it is too salesy, it may be quickly discarded as just another ad while impersonal cards may not have the affect you desire.

Since the selection of an appropriate holiday greeting can be challenging, and business communications require a different type of etiquette than those you would send personally, we have gathered some tips to help you. Here are seven things you should keep in mind when sending business Christmas (or holiday) cards this season.

1. Avoid Family Photos.

Business communications and family photos should not mix. Stick with a more professional design even if you have a family-owned and -operated business. This is an area where including a photo of your family may feel too intimate, especially for business associates that you rarely meet (or have never met) in person.

2. Don’t Forget the Return Address.

The return address allows the recipient to easily identify who sent the card before they even open it. Without a return address it may be difficult to determine who sent the card, especially if it is not clearly noted on the card itself. Since part of the purpose of sending holiday cards is to build a rapport with your business associates, ensuring they know who the sender is is a little step that can go a long way.

3. Limit Sales Talk.

Unless you intend your Christmas cards to actually be marketing materials, it is better to limit the sales talk. Otherwise, your token of appreciation can easily look like any other solicitation.

Holiday cards are meant to solidify business relationships and express appreciation. This isn’t necessarily an appropriate time to specifically aim at generating sales. However, a note indicating that you look forward to continuing the business relationship into the New Year, or to serving your customer’s or client’s needs, is an acceptable way to express the idea without being overt.

4. Use Regular Mail over Digital.

An actual card sent through the mail is always preferable over digital, or Ecard, versions. When possible, choose this route over any other. If you have a large number of cards to send or have budgetary constraints, then consider the nature of your relationship with your business associates. You may find that those with which you have a strong relationship are worth the extra effort and cost.

Ecards are more likely to be deleted by accident, or even simply ignored. While the use of Ecards may be the most cost-effective method, it doesn’t deliver the same impression as an actual card.

5. Add a Personal Touch.

Pre-printed cards are more economical when sending them en masse. However, make sure to include a personal touch when sending the card. At a minimum, take the time to sign each card by hand. It is also wise to add a small note thanking your business associate for something specific that occurred during the past year. This helps cement the relationship as you have expressed appreciation in a meaningful way.

6. Avoid Points of Controversy.

Your business should choose cards that eliminate the chance of offending the recipient. Often, this involves choosing a secular design over one that speaks to a specific religion, such as a “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” card over one that specifically says “Merry Christmas.”

Additionally, be careful with humor or messages that may seem too intimate. Humor can be misinterpreted, or even seem offensive to some, and a message that falls into the realm of too personal may make the recipient uncomfortable.

7. Send Them Now.

All holiday cards should be received before the New Year whenever possible. Since mailing times can shift during busy postal periods, it is better to get these out as quickly after Thanksgiving as possible. That gives them plenty of time to reach the recipient and increases the likelihood they will be opened before the holiday season is over.

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10 Effective Ways To Get More Customers

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Clients and customers are the lifeblood of business – without these valuable groups, you won’t have any business to speak of. Unfortunately, there’s no magical “formula” you can use that will help get more customers to your business.

Luckily, building advantageous relationships, doing some savvy networking, and good old fashioned marketing make it an easier process to get new customers. Just follow these tips:

1. Brazenly Bare It All

If you have a physical store-front, there is no better way to bring in foot traffic than a window display. Have the guts to show people what you can give them.

Consumers are bombarded with persuasion tricks and savvy marketers who know a thing or two about manipulation. Counter this by showing products and decorating your store in eye-catching ways.

2. Why Going Old School Boosts Leads

Remember flyers and brochures? These “dinosaur tactics” of marketing can generate incredible leads – if you execute your marketing strategy properly.

Real life marketing can be a breath of fresh air in a world where online marketing runs rampant. Since we live in a visual society, take your main benefits and apply them to your flyers, brochures, and pamphlets in ways that people will instantly recognize.

You even have the opportunity here to include discount coupons (which advertising masters David Ogilvy, Claude Hopkins, and Robert Collier swear by – and if they’re good enough for the legends of marketing, they’re good enough for you).

Offer 25% or 50% off for customers who bring you the coupon or code.

3. It’s Who You Know That Shows The Moolah

Who do you know in business? Think of every name you’ve come across in the past that you think will help you and ask them how you can help them. Maybe propose a joint venture-ship?

Tap hot, marketable names in your network, and help them for no charge. This will A) not only show goodwill of your character, but B) tap into the fact that people tend to feel the need to reciprocate goodwill. So they probably will do something for you in return.

4. Dominate Trade Shows

Attending trade shows is a phenomenal way for spreading exposure for your business, nabbing you some important face-time with important movers and shakers.

Do you have a booth set up? Are you selling something or looking to just build leads? Whatever the case, trade shows (especially specialty ones) are important for one reason: foot traffic. A lot of foot traffic.

There’s rarely a place or time when so many people expect to be sold to. Most people are genuinely interested in each other’s businesses – so why not go all out? Give each and every person who visits your booth a reason for them to see how much you value them. Unabashedly lay out every single benefit people get from doing business with you – without hype, without fluff, and without gimmicky showmanship.

There’s one big caveat: your trade show displays create a brand image. Having a bad one can sink your business faster than you can say “Jack Robinson”. That’s why having a solid-as-stone brand image, high-tier professional displays, and out-of-this-world courtesy gives you nothing but A grades all across the board.

Plus, these trade shows give you a chance to try out some creative exhibits that will really wow browsers and executives alike.

5. Develop Your USP

USP is short for Unique Selling Position. It’s actually “Proposition,” but I like “Position” better. What you’re essentially doing is positioning your business or campaign a certain way – a way that’s different from the competition.

A popular example is pizza delivery. Do you remember when Dominoes first advertised the “At your house in 30 minutes or your pizza is free” craze? This unique selling position set them up for a radical boost in profits.

Rosser Reeves, in his book “Reality In Advertising,” describes Dodge Chrysler’s USP as thus: “It was sent smashing through creeks.  Elephants were photographed standing on its top to show the strength of the body. Chorus girls, two and three at a time, were shown hanging from one opened door to prove the strength of the hinges. ‘TOUGHNESS … RUGGEDNESS—WITH BEAUTY!’ This was the USP, although it was never summed up in so many pat words.”

6. Billboards Aren’t Always Annoying

Billboards are a quick and easy way to get your “face” out there, in front of the people immediately. Sadly, billboards don’t come cheap. However, since there are billboards everywhere, I’d say the amount of people you can reach far outweighs the cost.

7. Run A Smart Ad Campaign

If you’ve invested in Google Adwords or Facebook ads, you know that these platforms are great for business (if you’re savvy enough to know what you’re doing). They are a very affordable way to advertise for business owners on a shoestring budget.

Perfect Audience and Adroll are two great re-targeting services for site owners with huge bounce rates.

Does the reality of running a full ad campaign frighten you? Don’t worry: Kudu does just that.

8. Excellent Customer Service

Without a doubt, customers must be at the heart of your business. People are liable to find something wrong with your business and are bound to complain about it. It’s ugly, but it’s just the way we are. This is why having someone trained in handling people – a real people person – is a wise investment.

When you’re reaching out using mail, consider sending a handwritten letter. The days of personalized communication methods like this are gone, why not bring it back? Plus, people will be less likely to think you’re just another scam artist looking for money.

9. Create Controversy

In order to bring people into his museum, legendary showman P.T. Barnum paid a nobody to set up blocks outside his museum. The nobody would lay down several bricks on top of each other, move down a bit, remove the bricks and pile them on top of each other, move down a bit again, and so on. What’s so controversial about this?

This man was arrested because crowds of people blocked traffic. Since it was right outside Barnum’s museum, people stepped inside to ask him what the heck was going on. This meant dollars for him and the entertainer.

Create ethical controversy that doesn’t hurt anyone (or is illegal).

10. Genuinely Help People

Above all, the most important part of business is helping people, actually helping them to make their lives easier. At the heart of your business is income and profits, right? If word gets out that your business is less than honest and is just another run-of-the-mill bad experience, word of mouth will spread, and you will be avoided like the plague.

Likewise, if you provide genuine value to people, they’ll praise you up and down the street to friends. Bottom line: be an ethical marketer and person, and you’ll be rewarded ten-fold in the form of increased profits that are out of this world.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that everybody’s experiences with marketing is different. However, the age-old adage remains true: you’ll never know until you try. Trying is what separates winners from losers. Regardless, utilizing these marketing and content strategies creatively will probably boost your business and make people see how you can truly help them.

Featured photo credit: via pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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How To Choose The Perfect Travel Stroller This Holiday Season

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Happy young parents dressed in white clothes walking in park in summer with baby carriage. They standing and looking at baby sleeping in pram with love and care

Travel strollers come in handy when you are traveling with your child. There is a variety of them in the market. They come in many shapes, sizes, and with many features. You need to choose the best stroller out there in order to hold your child safely and keep you and the people around you comfortable. To do this, I recommend that you look into these seven important things that will ensure you select the best travel strollers that every mom and child deserves.

1. Safety

Safety comes first when your child is involved. Studies show that 4 out of 5 infants involved in stroller accidents were not actually hurt because of the great safety features their strollers came with. While in the air, there could be a lot of shaking or turbulence due to bad weather conditions.

When choosing the best travel stroller for flying, I suggest that you check to see if it has the following:

  • Thick, spongy pads on the seat and sides
  • A stable frame

These work well to absorb shocks whenever something hits the stroller from any direction. They also ensure that your child is comfortable.

2. Portability

The best way to travel is to travel light. When you get to your destination, you want to be able to push the stroller easily along pavements and through hallways. The best travel stroller for traveling is one that is sizeable and lightweight. It should not take up too much space and it should be easy to carry into planes.

In terms of portability, make sure that your stroller is:

  • Easy to push
  • Easy to turn, swirl, and wheel
  • Able to occupy a little amount of space

3. Weight Capacity

How much weight can your stroller hold before it loses shape? Well, that depends on its design and stability. Some strollers can only take a maximum of 11 pounds, while others have a weight limit of up to 30 pounds. The weight limit always comes in the description of the stroller, so you all you have to do is read it. The best travel stroller for flying should be lightweight and stable enough to give your baby a smooth, comfortable ride.

4. Storage size

To keep a keen eye on your child, you need to be concentrated on the stroller. For flying, I recommend a medium storage basket on the back. A storage section on the back of the stroller will come in handy to place your valuables and necessities, such as:

  • Your handbag,
  • Diapers and wipes

5. Adjustments

The most common adjustment most strollers possess is the ability to fold. Other stroller adjustments include:

  • The ability to recline
  • Adjustable height and width

Choose adjustments that suit you and the child’s needs. For instance, if you are tall, you might want to adjust the height of the stroller from time to time to hold it and push it comfortably. For flying, you will need strollers that fold and recline while you are inside a plane to occupy less space inside cramped quarters.

6. Accessories

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Image Courtesy

There are many types of stroller accessories. The most common ones are:

  • Overhead umbrellas
  • Feeding tables
  • Foot sections

Too many accessories can make a stroller bulkier and, hence, not as efficient for traveling. If you must have accessories, choose only the ones that are necessary. For instance, if the sun is hot wherever you are flying to, an umbrella stroller would be a must-have in order to protect the child from the harsh sunlight.

7. Cost

You do not want to spend a lot of money on your stroller, especially when you are traveling. You already have airplane tickets, hotel room bookings, and frequent meals to compete for your cash as expenses. Toysrus.com recommends that the best travel stroller for flying should be cheap compared to other household ones. They should be a little under $100. You can leave your bulkier, more expensive stroller at home.

A stroller is a very important part of a child’s growth. Children who use great strollers are happy and their parents are also happy, as a result. When infants are comfortable and safe during flights, they are less likely to get irritated and cause disturbances to other passengers. Most of the time, they will be fast asleep until you get to your destination. There are many stroller designs in the market, so don’t just grab one, and strap your child in it. Be sure to check for specific desirable features.

Featured photo credit: Photoduet via freepik.com

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6 Ways To Defeat Bad Credit Score

source from: http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/YjLvYsJZhIE/6-ways-defeat-bad-credit-score

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Know in advance: it won’t be easy. Improving credit scores are not immediate, and will require a hefty length of time to fix. This is because lenders, institutions, and issuers evaluate your past years’ behavior and actions, taking your entire credit history into account.

Not everyone has great credit, and there’s no shame in that. Of course, life happens, and there are circumstances some people genuinely cannot avoid. It’s a tragic credit scenario that’s happened to many people.

A typical business scenario is in the construction industry where surety bond come into play when contract price exceeds $100k.

“A surety (insurance company) bond is necessary to make sure that business owners (principal) performing the task follow specific requirements as laid in contract by the oblige (entity).”

Surety will weigh the risks of “taking you on” depending on your credit score – and decide whether or not your credit is worth the hassle of issuing you a bond or not. So, your credit score will determine the fate of your business.

If your credit score is above 750… congratulations! You have excellent credit. Any account below 650 is generally considered to be less-than-appealing to issuers and lenders.

At the lower end of the spectrum, people around the 300-600 mark aren’t doing so well. Where do you fall?

Below are several ways to help you increase your credit score so you can get back in your lender’s good graces.

1. Check Your Score

Not knowing what is happening on your credit reports is like not knowing what you spend your money on. It is simply bad practice, and spells disaster for your bottom line. Be sure to check for free annual credit reports every few months or so and stay up to date.

Something to keep in mind when you’re reviewing your scores is to see how much revolving credit you have, versus how much you actually use. The lower the percentage – the better your credit rating.

Please be sure to see if your credit card issuer accepts multiple payments over the course of a month. Certain issuers report the balance on your statement to the bureau. So, if you pay full balances every month, only one balance will be actually reported.

2. Keep Calm And Relax

No matter how annoying it may be to see negative information every time you get your credit reports, keep in mind that this information often has less impact on your credit scores over time.

Negative information on your reports have less impact on your credit scores the more time passes. Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore, states that just because information stays for seven years, doesn’t mean that information is relevant each year.

For example, let’s suggest you miss a payment (which probably happened – it’s sometimes impossible to keep up to date in today’s world). Your score may drop, but will take around a year and a half for you to recover fully – falling far short of the “7 Year Fear”.

In fact, it’s generally wiser to focus on your good debt (that is, debt that you’ve handled well and paid). Focus on your good payments, it will outweigh your bad scores. Keep in mind that bad scores are, well, bad, but they are not a doomsday scenario that many people make them out to be.

Credit card expert John Ulzheimer suggests keeping old debt and good accounts on for as long as they are possibly allowed. The takeaway: do not close old accounts, whether you have a good or bad score.

3. Don’t Open Too Many Accounts

Opening new accounts rapidly destroys your credit. This is because newer accounts lower your average account’s age – widening the overall effect of your scores. Not to mention that it looks risky to credit card issuers (to them, they think you’re a scam artist for opening up new accounts).

Plus, new accounts—in all likelihood—won’t raise your credit score.

4. Don’t Close Unused Accounts

Regardless of your good debt, bad debt, and credit score, closing accounts won’t remove your bad debt. We can equate this to asking your high school to remove your grades from report cards.

Closed accounts still show up on your overall credit report, and do more harm than good, as it shows issuers that you’re unreliable.

Closing unused credit cards accounts is an ineffective strategy for raising your scores. It simply won’t. In fact, many people have had their credit scores lowered by doing exactly that.

5. Go Fully Automatic

One way of doing this is by setting up auto-payment, or payment reminders so that you never miss them. Similar to setting up automatic payment for bills to be withdrawn from your bank account on certain dates.

I personally have a hard time remembering important matters such as these, even in my daily life. I cannot stress enough how important weekend reminders (even daily reminders) via Google Calendar are.

If you’re wary of going fully automatic, build a schedule for yourself using task management software such as Trello or Asana. I recommend Trello, as it’s an intuitive and easy-to-use system for managing tasks and to-do lists. It fits my on-the-go needs and lets me adjust my schedule accordingly.

6. Don’t Be A Risk

For whatever reason, whatsoever, do not risk damaging your score. This means trying your hardest not to miss any payment, or suddenly paying in smaller amounts, or infrequently charging more. Maintain a good score by being consistent with your payment dates and payment amounts.

However, taking cash advances might make your card issuer wary without hurting your score. Know this: charging businesses to your card that give second doubt to your money-handling abilities also paint you as a suspicious client.

Dave Jones, former president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) warns that you do not, under any circumstance, give the impression that you’re a risk. As with anything in life.

Conclusion

Managing your bad credit scores isn’t as troublesome as many people make it out to be. All it requires is a determination and will to make your payments, consistently, as you agreed you would; not presenting yourself as a risk; adamantly refusing the temptation to open several accounts or close old ones; keeping your sanity as you handle your credit score.

Featured photo credit: via pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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7 Ideas To Decorate Your Home Using LED Strip Lights

source from: http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/-FUclhdLIiU/7-ideas-decorate-your-home-using-led-strip-lights

lighting

Some setups are absolutely extraordinary and breath-taking. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Depending on how you set them up, LED light strips can make your home look more elegant. Beautiful. Professional. Chic. Akin to PC enthusiasts who deck their rig out with LED lights, suiting up several areas of your home can really make you admire yourself.

With that said, here are ideas you can kick around and use inspiration for your own home.

1. How To Drop Your Guests’ Jaws

Countless studies have shown that the bright blue light of screens keeps you awake at night. That’s why so many people advise you to shut off any and all screens an hour before you hit the hay.

In fact, Flux is a cool program that gradually dims your screen (by using your device’s clock) according to the sunlight. The more the moon shines, the less your screen does. It’s pretty cool.

However, a deeper reason to understand color theory is psychological. Generally, red represents passion, anger, and energy. Yellow typically represents happiness, and brightness. Purple colors usually reflect royalty or spiritual enlightenment. Various shades of green tend to represent nature, growth, Earth, and stability.

For more in-depth information that could be articles themselves, you’ll want to beef yourself up on color relationships and harmonies.

Luckily, experimenting with LED lighting isn’t initially expensive. Grab a single RGB bulb and use it as a nightlight in your room – use a dimmer, or a multi-color bulb (several), and use yourself as a guinea pig. It’s smart to take note of what emotions each color emits from you.

Whew! What a foundation. Remember: a house without a foundation will eventually collapse.

With that said, on to the list!

2. Digger Under Those Cabinets

Do you have a kitchen? Of course, you do! How much time do you spend in the kitchen? Think about it: second to the living room and bedroom, it’s probably the most heavily visited room in your home.

And just look at the beauty! You can line LED strips underneath your cabinets, or table/island counter.

Something really cool comes from a few innovators who rigged up their fridges with strips. This is a little too advanced for me, but the results are awesome!

3. Get The Right Hook Up

No matter what lighting you choose, there’s going to be wires involved. There’s no getting around that. Fortunately, some companies came out with easy-to-use light installation connectors. These let you use a number of lights in one device!

Which is really handy for people who aren’t so savvy with wires and lack technician-like skills. (Seriously, hooking up LED strip lights is easy only if you know what you’re doing.)

4. Cove Lighting

These are great for highlighting decorative ceilings. Think about installing flexible strips in your cove. Just go to town and accentuate your ceilings’ valences. RGB cove lighting is seriously jaw-dropping and isn’t too hard to do once you figure out the basics of lining and setting.

5. TV

How much time do you spend in front of the TV? Whether it’s in your bedroom, man cave, woman’s palace, or living room… Almost everyone who’s anyone has a TV screen.

Here’s one caveat: watching TV in the dark hurts your eyes. Eventually, over the course of a few episodes, the TV “fades” into the wall and your eyes can no longer distinguish the “boob tube” or “idiot box” from the wall.

Installing a gorgeous set of LED light strips solves this problem – since it’s a border around the shape of your TV. Plus it adds a serious cool factor to your room, making it look extravagant. How’s that for killing 2 birds with one stone?

(In fact, setting up your TV with back-lighting has scientific benefits. You know how your eyes hurt when you suddenly shift from darkness to brightness… say, after popping on the lights after 2 & ½ hours of darkness? Keeping a constant back-light glow around your TV prevents this eye strain.)

6. Wall Silhouettes

If you don’t want to cover an entire wall, ceiling, or floor with a bright LED… consider silhouetting the light! All you have to do is cut out some cardboard (or whatever is easiest for you to cut and still remain sturdy enough to stand on its own)… place it against a wall, and lay down your favorite strip behind it. Easy as 123!

The results are absolutely and without a doubt stunning. The best part is you can cut out any shape or design your heart desires.

7. Wow Your Family With Bottle Lights

This idea is seriously cool. It takes some elbow grease and glass-cutting know how, but isn’t the end result worth it?

Start by cutting the bottom of a few wine bottles (with a specific glass-cutting bit) out, and then wire short web-connected RGB LED light strips through them. Next, spray the bottles with some glass-frosting spray to act as a diffuser.

(A diffuser, if you don’t know, is an industry term for “reducing light intensity.” A lot of film lighting technicians use diffusers (like white boards or bed sheets) to soften the light on actors. This is particularly helpful during daytime. Just a cool industry-insider trick I picked up working as a lighting intern on a few student films.)

Now simply run some hanging wire through the bottles… and hang them from your ceiling! I showed my girlfriend this idea and she freaked. She wanted us to run out and buy a dozen bottles of wine! (Luckily, we already have a few empty bottles saved up over the months. Hurray to no hangovers!)

Conclusion

Now that you’ve hopefully been struck by “the bug” and taken some serious notes – you can start brainstorming on your own cool LED strip light designs. Or simply use one of these seriously-beautiful choices in your own home. No matter what you decide to do… in the end… there’s no denying your guests and family and friends will be simply amazed at what you’ve done.

Plus, you may just fall even more in love with your home! Who doesn’t want that? Our homes are our sanctuaries, after all. :- )

Featured photo credit: via pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Does Gender Play a Role in Beauty Convention?

source from: http://feeds.lifehack.org/~r/LifeHack/~3/zpQUK4Q0iLc/does-gender-play-role-beauty-convention

Facial Hair, Beards & Gender

While there is much debate on the subject, it is clear that beauty is circumventing itself. Neutrality or non-binary gender is playing a huge role in how things are shaping up.

The merger of Burberry and Gucci men’s and women’s fashion show in Milan solidified this. Unisex clothing and accessories shared center stage with traditional garb opening the door to a whole new breed of clientele. Men’s and women’s fashions were replaced by gender neutral items in a spectacular show that included many famous transgender models. It created quite the buzz around the world.

There is a kind of paradox when it comes to beauty trends in general.

This paradox will not have an impact on future trends.

Let’s take a look at things.

Women have used fashionable clothing, accessories, make up and hairstyles for centuries to express themselves. In the same context, men have had used beards, hats and adorned themselves with tattoos in an attempt to appear more powerful. While the trends themselves may have been different, the basic principles have remained untouched since the Ancient Egyptians.

What do beauty, beards and gender have to do with future trends? Nothing and everything.

If gender is not going to be so important in the future, will there be a need for fashionable products? In a world where non-specific identity is paramount, many questions loom. Why are so many men growing beards? Even more important, why are there so many different beard types? It should not matter. Yet, in this recent article on many beard styles in StyleMann.com the author showcases over 25 of them. Our fascination with facial hair, make up and beauty seems ironic.

If gender does not matter, why does the power of attraction seem to be so critical?

Some people think it has to do with vanity, but the truth is much simpler than that. It has to do with basic mating principles. Humans are trying to attract a mate, regardless of gender. It is natural and this cannot be denied or changed based on social norms.

However, there are other factors that have a impact and create this paradox.

According to the University of Western Australia men are feeling pressure from other men. They are attempting to look more aggressive to compete with a wider pool of mates. In the same context, other women pressure women to be more beautiful. This happens in the gay and transgender communities as well. Proof of this lies in the fact that sales of male grooming products have risen a staggering one billion dollars since 2012.

The tables have turned. Men who wear makeup appear more feminine suggesting that some males would rather play a submissive role. Women who sport suits are often depicted as ‘ugly” corporate powerful women. This is not always true, so is it gender or gender bias that dictates beauty and fashion?

The competition to be beautiful is alive and well. In fact, things have become so competitive it can lead people to take extreme measures. According to a CBS report, some body altering behaviours could even suggest a mental illness.

If gender is no longer an issue, will people stop trying to be unique? It is unlikely since mating rituals will remain intact.

People are taking huge risks to make themselves appear unique. Gender neutrality has not changed this, people have just found a new way to make a social statement.

Dominance also plays a major role in beauty choices. Of course, this phenomenon is not a modern one. British men have been sporting facial hair during battles to appear more powerful since the middle ages. Women have grown and chopped their hair off as a sign of defiance and independence.

Regardless, if we want to believe it or not, we define gender by how it looks based on popular trends. Vanity? Identity? Defiance? Conformance? Perhaps, this is the real paradox.

Hippies, hipsters, punk rockers, crooners and various other trendsetters have dared to challenged the norms. As much as things change, things have remained the same. We are still judging others and choosing mates based on looks.

Beauty and fashion will always play a gender role. If you choose to wear more feminine or masculine styles, you will still appear male or female based on those choices. People will define your identity based on them. Perhaps if you truly want to define a unique gender you will have to wear non-specific fashions, alien fashions or none at all – now that would be interesting! The naked truth? Truly then, we would have come full circle as humans. No gender, no clothing and no judgement based on looks. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. Non-specific gender robots might have an edge here.

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