For you, 2017 was a year of hard work. Of discovery. Of making tough calls, and moving forward. You accomplished a lot. You didn’t accomplish everything you wished you could have, but that’s the nature of life. At the end of it all, you’re able to look back and think, “Wow. That was a challenging year. Some of those challenges I made for myself. Most of those challenges I overcame.” But wow. Thinking about everything that you faced throughout the year, in a ten-second replay, feels a little like having a bowling ball dropped on your head. You put up with a lot. You dealt with a lot. You conquered a lot. You’re an older, wiser, and more accomplished person. And, proverbially or not, your feet probably hurt.


After a year like last one, it’s time to take a short rest. It’s time to put your feet up, close your eyes, and think, “Now what?” If you’re like most people, you’re not quite sure how to enjoy the end of a season. While 2018 will bring new challenges, the challenges of 2017 are done, and you’re in the rest period. While you might be enjoying the silence, the lack of stress, the relief… chances are you’re restless. You might not know how to enjoy this time. You might not know how to pat yourself on the back, pamper yourself a little. In other words, you deserve a reward for everything you got done in 2017, and you might not know how to give it.
The good news is, it’s easy. Once you realize that you deserve a thank-you present from yourself (and really, you do) you can settle back and start thinking about what to get yourself. It’s easy, with the internet, to send a thank-you gift or two to yourself. After mulling over what you’d like, you might choose a bit of pampering: bath bombs or a trip to the spa. You might decide you’d like to try a new cocktail recipe, so you easily purchase liquor online, whether you live in Lawrenceville, NJ or Eau Claire, WI, since there’s always an easy way to get what you’re hankering for.

You might decide you want a bigger reward (after all, your 2017 headaches were pretty big) so you think along more exciting lines. Maybe it’s time to take that trip to Iceland, Italy, or the Caribbean. Maybe it’s time to finally remodel your kitchen, and get your dream-space realized. You’re well on your way to daydreaming about it: with modern appliance retailer sites, even gorgeous kitchen appliances are easy to browse from the comfort of your own living room.

No matter what you decide to do for yourself (there’s a reward out there as unique as you are) you’ll be happy with the choice you made. 2017 was quite a roller coaster ride, and you need some time to reflect on how you grew as a person. You also need some time to thank yourself for being the person you were since you got yourself through it.

You have an older house. Its shingles might chatter in the wind. Its pipes might leak. Its walls might creak, and its floors might moan. Your house has acquired quite a bit of personality–and at this point, you’re convinced it’s a cranky old man.

You may have had your home for ages. You remember feeding oatmeal to your toddlers at the kitchen table, curling up together to watch The Dick Van Dyke Show, while some did homework during commercials and some colored. You remember packing everyone into snowsuits. You remember drinking your coffee in the early morning silence. You have good memories in this house.

On the other hand, you may have just acquired the house. Maybe you loved the idea of a remodeling challenge–taking the creaking structure and making it well again. Maybe you loved the land the house was built on: the graveyard full of history nearby, or the way the hill behind the house sloped down into a brilliant valley sunset. You don’t have any memories attached to the house, yet… but you want to make them.

No matter which of these is your situation, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with your old house. Essentially, there are two different routes you can take: to repair, or to tear down and start from scratch.

Some homes may not require anything as drastic as a full rebuild. You may not want to upgrade and instead keep the house in good condition. You can get your pipes fixed. You can mend that dilapidated roof, whether you live in Washington or New Jersey, quality roof repair is only a phone call away. You like the idea of keeping your home the way it is; you want to preserve the memories in their original format.

Some homes may require a full rebuild; they just might not be stable anymore. Or, they might be fine for years, but you know you want to rebuild anyway. It’s time to start fresh and put your family somewhere new. You’re excited about creating something from the ground up–and you get to keep your beautiful land. Now, with companies standing by to help you, like these home builders in Brisbane, it’s easy to start the process of creating a brand new home.

No matter which road you choose to take, whether repair or rebuild, your home will always be an important place. Whether it’s dear to you because of the decades of life and stories in its walls, or because you designed each turn of the floor yourself, you’ll take pride in your home. It’s something worth spending time and money on because it’s the backdrop for the important things in life.

 

We’ve all been there. We’ve all wished life would just hurry up and make a little more sense. We wish it would show us better colors, smoother roads, fewer decisions. We wish life would stop it already with giving us the short end of the stick.

If you’re there, and you wish life was a little easier, be encouraged. It can be. It starts with a little something called being proactive.

You may have heard already that one of the traits of highly successful people is being proactive. Sure, you think, so that means “do more.” Do more! That’s the last thing you want. If being proactive doesn’t sound very attractive to you, maybe the definition in your head is a little bit off. To be proactive means to act. Instead of reacting to life’s punches, you punch back. Or you punch first. The core of a proactive person is belief. Belief that he or she can make a difference in the world. It might interest you to know that the most important trait a main character in a story can have is (you guessed it) proactiveness. We love to watch the stories, not of people who are nice, or perfect, or even likable… but of people who will go on adventures. We love to watch people who will make a move.

It turns out that your life can be easier, but not because life will ever give you a break. It can be easier because you can stop reacting to life. You can make life react to you, instead.

Say you’re stressed about finding proper cancer care for your father. Instead of worrying and waiting to be assigned a doctor, you can be proactive. Whether you live in Nevada or Connecticut, you can find quality cancer care close to your home with a quick online search. Say you’re renovating a small space for your new shop– and you want the shelves to be just right. Instead of hoping your renovation crew gets it right, you can purchase sleek and classy aluminum slatwall, and put your shelves anywhere you feel like it.

Say you want to travel, and you’re waiting for the money to come in. You work and work, you pay your bills, and still–there’s never enough money to take a trip. You wonder just how long London and Bombay will wait for you. Instead of waiting for life to hand you a trip, take the matter into your own hands. Stop eating your meals out. Cancel your subscriptions. If you’re really serious, move to a smaller apartment. You’ll have enough money to travel the world in no time at all. Plus, you’ll realize that your quality of life hasn’t even taken a cut.

Life doesn’t have to get the best of you. You can get the best of life if you only remember that life is a tool in your hands, and you’re the one spinning the wheel. Best of luck on your adventures!

 

You may opt for therapy as well. Have you ever wondered if you would benefit from a therapist or a phycologist? This link from BetterHelp can help you decipher the differences and make a decision.

Your house is more than merely a place with four walls where you keep all your stuff. It’s where you spend most of your waking hours (and all of your sleeping ones, presumably). A few things are the same in every house: There’s a front door and maybe a back door, plus some windows. There’s a place to sleep and a place to eat (and usually a place to cook what you’re eating). There’s a bathroom, since everybody needs to use the toilet and take a shower. Aside from the basics, your house may also contain some keys to both your physical and mental health.

Windows and walls

Most people do not live in windowless homes. There’s a word for people who do, and it’s usually “inmate.” Humans need a connection to the outside world, and windows are the oldest way to get that. Long before there were smartphones and laptops, we could look out our window. Sure, the weather app on your phone is nice, but it’s not as immediately helpful as glancing out your window and confirming for yourself that yes, it is in fact snowing.

But windows can also turn on us, or at least not give us everything we need. Older windows can be drafty, which can lead to higher electric bills because of all the air that’s escaping your house and heading outdoors. A small window that’s hard to see out of can almost be worse than no window at all. Windows are especially important in the colder, darker months. If there’s a blizzard outside and the sun is setting at 4 p.m., then drinking a cup of coffee and hanging out by the window might be the only way to avoid feeling trapped by Mother Nature. If your window isn’t working for you, talk to some local window installation experts. Your mental health is worth the price, and you can probably find a pretty good deal if do some research.

Mold and other invaders

What do you do when you see a large spider crawling across the floor while you’re taking a bath? Some kind, gentle souls will let the spider live its life, while others will freak out and feel like their turf is being invaded. Neither reaction is wrong, really. Now imagine if that spider didn’t crawl but just hung around your house and made you sick. Mold in your house is like that, and it’s worse than almost any eight-legged creature. Mold in your house can cause you to develop a stuffy nose, sore throat, and even a skin rash. Mold can form after floods, especially if the flood clean-up wasn’t properly managed. If you find this toxic substance in your house, there’s no sense in dilly-dallying around. Call in an environmental health team with plenty of training in mold remediation. They’ll send out a team that can take measures to keep the mold from spreading, and then they’ll get rid of the mold that does exist. You have to contain it before you can destroy it, and the right crew will be able to do just that. Getting rid of the mold will improve your physical health and go a long way towards setting your mind at ease.

Trying to stay cool in the summertime can be a real challenge. Air conditioning drives up your power bill, kids get restless, and the days just keep getting hotter. Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing that could provide relief. The refreshing coolness of a swimming pool solves most of these problems with ease. With a backyard swimming pool, you won’t have to worry about those scorching late summer afternoons.

Pools are not only a great addition to your comfort; swimming directly benefits your health. Perhaps you’re seeking a new way to stay in shape. Swimming in your own backyard pool can be done at any time of the day so you won’t waste time trying to get to the busy gym. Resistance training done underwater is great for flexibility and strength. Another great thing about swimming is that you’ll be able to take a dip in the water for the rest of your life. A swimming pool is really an investment in your own future.

We all know how warm those Hamilton, NJ summers can get. Sometimes it seems like the pavement is going to melt right off the road! A swimming pool will not only keep you cool in the summer; when the winter arrives you’ll be able to keep kicking. A pool heater is a great, economical way to continue swimming throughout the whole year round. If you’ve got kids, having them take care of pool responsibilities serve as great chores. They’ll learn a bit of scientific knowledge, the pride of hard work, and a useful life skill.

Every great pool needs a backyard clubhouse. A little pool shed to house pumps and provide a changing room is a great idea. These little structures are super simple to build, you’ll be able to do it yourself. A bit of construction knowledge helps, but with modern sources of information, you can basically follow along with a video. There are a ton of plans available online. If you’ve got tools, a good construction sense, and some lumber then you can build a shed.

Your clubhouse doesn’t need to be anything fancy, basically, four walls and a few windows will work just fine. Inside your structure, you could have changing areas, games like ping pong or even an entertainment center. Maybe install a bar if you’re looking for a more adult-themed backyard area. When you build it yourself, the options are endless.

Take a moment and visualize your backyard. Does your property have a relatively flat backyard? Do you have space for a pool? You don’t need an Olympic-sized monster pool, just something to keep cool and stay in shape. It doesn’t take much to get started; many contractors will gladly give a free estimate. If you time it right, you could construct the pool in the colder seasons and be ready for the summer. By the time the weather heats up, you’ll be jumping into your own pool!

If you’re familiar with health and fitness, you’ll know that the kitchen is just as important as the gym. Contrary to some popular opinions, healthy food is exciting and delicious! If culinary arts are your passion, a modernized kitchen is absolutely essential. Did you know that kitchens have entered into the “smart” realm of technology? The same Bluetooth power within your smartphone is now a champion in the kitchen. This means the days of clicking timers and stressing about proper temperatures have passed. Imagine baking a masterfully cooked meal with the computing power of your smartphone! With a few swipes, it’s totally possible. Efficient foods fuel efficient bodies. Are you serious about physical performance? Add a supplement regimen and upgrade not only your kitchen but your endurance as well.

Modern, sleek kitchens are all the rage right now. The beautiful cleanliness of stainless steel accompanies classic black accents. As Bluetooth connectivity has become so much more ubiquitous, the smart kitchen has arrived. Ovens that can be adjusted via an iPhone, smoke hoods which start automatically and, touch controls are just a few examples of the mind-blowing kitchen technologies currently available. The engineering from Dacor has paved the way for such innovation. Did you ever imagine that your oven would contain a Wifi receiver? Here’s a great example: you download your favorite recipes to your smartphone. Once connected, the machine learning within the oven turns on, setting the temperature right where you need it. You can relax, enjoying the pleasant comfort of your Internet Age kitchen.

Bodies are really no different than machines. They must be cared for and maintained. If you’re passionate about fitness, it’s time to upgrade to a new diet supplement. Are you familiar with the amazing benefits of Ephedra? For over 5,000 years the Chinese have used Ephedra in their medicinal practices. Ephedra is an all-natural, safe supplement. By taking a supplemental pill, you’ll have a reason to stick to your dieting plans. Struggling in the gym and want to find a bit more focus when it comes to exercising? With the energy of a new diet supplement, you’ll be smashing plateaus and reaching heights unknown.

A kitchen is so much more than simply a cooking space. Memories are made, new bodies are forged, and delicious meals provide wonderful memories for years to come. If you’re serious about your health and culinary enjoyment, it’s time to install a smart kitchen. Don’t hold back, an investment today will continue to pay off throughout the life of your home! Even a simple upgrade to a smart oven or microwave will transform your space. Imagine being able to set your food in the oven, walk away to your bedroom, and then monitor the progression from your phone! Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. A clean diet must accompany a modern kitchen. With a masterfully crafted meal and an efficient workout supplement, you’ll be nearly unstoppable.

Many things in life bring satisfaction: a good meal, a selfless decision, meaningful relationships. If you live a well-balanced life, you likely seek out new tasks and opportunities to bring your life satisfaction. You don’t wait for life to happen to you; you happen to it. You see an opportunity for growth and improvement, and you go for it.

If this description aptly fits you, you’ve likely considered remodeling part of your home. Few of us are able to buy a house that’s just the way we like it. Like our own lives, we like to take our homes and make them more meaningful, more personal. As each personality is unique, so is each home. You have a specific dream about where you’d like to relax, a strong mental image of where you’d like to bake. All it takes to create these dreams is a bit of money and time. With a home remodel, you can take the home you already have and add a bit of your own flavor.

The most commonly remodeled room in American homes is the bathroom. Small, it’s a great place to start! Some bathrooms are upgraded by a mere wallpaper removal and paint job. Others will require fully re-done tiles, floor, sink, and cabinets. While the task of finding the right business, let alone style, to complete your tub and floor can be daunting, the rise of the internet will save you time. Warm and relaxed at home, you can browse the selections of all your local vendors with your laptop on your lap. Your whole family can gather around and weigh in. You can get all your pricing estimates at the click of a button–no driving around required. Whether you live in California or Pennsylvania, there’s a business that’s just right for you.

The second most commonly remodeled room is the kitchen. While more bathrooms end up actually remodeled, more people dream of redoing their kitchen. The center of the home, and often one of the largest rooms, the kitchen is a hub for your family activity. The idea of redoing it could seem too hefty a task, but you’re not likely to let that stop you. Again, designing, planning, and purchasing the right materials is a much easier task with the internet at your disposal. Browse luxurious appliances or great kitchen lighting, all from the comfort of your armchair.

You’ve never let a challenge get in the way of your dreams yet. Maybe it’s time to take your home remodeling dreams into the planning stages. Maybe you’ll start small, with a fresh coat of paint in the bathroom, or go all out at once, redesigning two rooms at once while the kids are off at college. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll have an easier time than folks did fifty years ago, as the internet offers you more options and saves you time. Best of luck gaining that special reward: a personally designed home!

When you think of California, maybe you picture movie stars, bright lights, and sandy beaches. While these are beautiful in their own right, California offers much more in the realm of nature. Did you know that Northern California is home to many beautiful national and state parks? It’s true! Most of these parks are within an hour’s drive from any city and are paradise for those who love to be on the water. Whether you’re into speed boating and waterskiing or simply just canoeing along a peaceful lakeshore, Northern California nature is truly amazing. You’ll be able to grab a beer, round up your friends, and find a lake close by–no matter where you’re at.

Due north of Santa Rosa, Lake Sonoma is absolutely stunning. Golden hills roll along the side of this man-made lake and the clean water provides great fishing year round. Constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the early 20th century, the lake provides drinking water for the municipality of Santa Rosa. If you’re excited by the idea of boating, this lake is an absolute classic location for boating. On any given summer Saturday, you’ll find all types of boaters–from lazy pontoon trips to vintage sport boats–cruising along the best lake in wine country.

If you’re looking at boats for sale, check out the options online. With shipping costs so low these days, finding your dream boat is easier than ever. Simply hop online, narrow down your search, pick out your boat, and have it delivered! No matter the size or type, your boat can easily find you at your home or a marina.

Searching online for boats is so simple. First, you’ll have to choose your style. Do you plan on adrenaline-fueled speed runs? Maybe a relaxed pontoon boat cruise is more your style. Either way, don’t waste precious time and money driving around looking at boats. There are no pushy salesmen when you shop online. You’ll be able to ask your questions via email or text, making the buying process a breeze.

While you’re out on the water, there’s nothing as refreshing as a cold, local beer. Northern California is home to many great local breweries. Taking inspiration from the wine industry, the beer scene focuses on craftsmanship and alcohol artistry. If you’re seeking a unique Santa Rosa beer distributor, you’ll have no problem in finding great brews. No matter what your favorite style or location, a good beer distributor offers the best in popular beers. IPA-style beers are the absolute rage in Northern California right now.

There really is no better feeling than piloting a beautiful boat across a shining lake. Think of the friends you’ll make out on the water! The other great thing about having a boat? The world is your playground! With a simple trailer, you’re able to take that beauty to anywhere you please. You’ll never run out of destinations with so many amazing lakes, rivers, and bays in Northern California. Hop online, find yourself a boat. When you’re cruising along–beer in hand and surrounded by friends–you’ll be so glad you did.

We all hear about the extreme green warriors who pop up in the news every so often. There’s that woman who decided to try and fit all of her trash in a single mason jar, which thoroughly shamed those of us who take two big bags of trash out to the curb every week. There are people who “live off the grid” and try to produce their own electric power using solar energy, since solar energy is cleaner than coal. Even going vegetarian or vegan can be seen as an environmental choice.

There’s a saying that instructs people to “Go big or go home.” But it doesn’t apply to every single situation, and there are still ways to do plenty of good without getting to the point where you only take one three-minute shower a week. The fate of the earth is a worrisome topic to a lot of people. Every sign of progress seems to be negated by something negative. There’s a fear that if we don’t figure out how to be nicer to the earth soon, then it will be too late. Some people think it’s already too late. It’s all a lot to take in, but you should know that there are some overlooked ways to be friendlier to Mother Earth.

Biodiesel

Fossil fuels have a net negative effect on the planet. Sure, there’s talk among politicians about “clean coal,” but that’s an oxymoron. Coal production is dirty by nature. “Clean coal” makes about as much sense as the term “dry deep-sea diving.” The words just don’t pair well together. But if you have a diesel car, you don’t have to keep filling it with petroleum diesel. Instead, you can fill it with the grease from the potato fryer at your favorite diner. Yes, there are biodiesel companies who go to restaurants, collect cooking oil, and then convert it into a substance capable of powering your car. It may seem futuristic, but it’s a relatively simple process that can be boiled down to “collect, refine, and refuel.” There are additional byproducts created in the process of converting grease to biodiesel. Those byproducts, or bioproducts, can be sold back to local businesses, as well as used to heat houses. Biodiesel may sound like a strange concept, but it’s got a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional diesel fuel. It also really reduces the emissions that come out of your car’s tailpipe.

Biodiesel fueling stations aren’t everywhere yet. But the fuel makes an impact wherever it goes, and it seems likely that biodiesel will continue to grow in popularity as more and more people seek to become environmentally aware. So don’t feel bad about swinging through the drive-thru and ordering fries occasionally. It’s quite possible that the grease used to make those fries will soon be converted to fuel for your car. In a weird way, eating fast food can be good for the planet.

Greenhouses

No, we’re not talking about greenhouses, which are enclosed spaces used to grow flowers. Whether your house is brand new or was built in the last century, you can reduce your carbon footprint by investing in things like energy-friendly appliances. Looking to build a new home? In that case, you have even more options, as you can build an entire home that’s Energy Star certified. Energy Star homes get the most out of every single resource, and the builders do their best to make sure there’s no unnecessary waste. Energy Star homes are the future, and the future is now.

The turning of the calendar page from 2017 to 2018 means a fresh start for a lot of people. Things that seemed impossible in November or December can seem possible, or even probable, once there’s a new year and a blank slate. So many people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve because they want to become better people living better lives. We all have some things we want to improve about ourselves. It’s a very natural impulse. One way to improve your standing is life? Take steps to ensure you can secure a better job with a better salary.

Certifications

That guy working on your car at the auto repair shop probably didn’t get a bachelor’s degree in fixing cars. Instead, he probably went to an automotive college to get the training necessary to return people’s cars to good working order. Not everyone realizes that getting an associate’s degree or going through a certification program is an option if you want to pursue a career in the automotive industry. Bachelor’s degrees typically take about four years to complete, but most people can complete their training in automotive technology in less than two years.

If you decide to go the car repair route, make sure you select an institution that is both properly accredited and offers instruction from qualified teachers who are experts in the field. Hands-on experience really matters when you’re studying automobiles, so strive to attend a school that lets you get out there in the repair bay and do some work. Chefs don’t spend all their time in culinary school reading about recipes; they go into the kitchen, roll up their sleeves, and make something. Obtaining field experience working on cars affords you the ability to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. It’ll make you a much more confident worker when you do go out into the real world and start looking for jobs in the automotive industry.

Online education

There are some fields of study that require hands-on training, but there are plenty of others that don’t. That’s where online colleges and universities come in. Once we get past a certain age, it’s easy to feel like there’s no going back to school, and we’re just going to have to suck it up and get used to working at jobs that don’t pay much more than minimum wage. Don’t fall for that line of thinking. There’s a school out there that can offer you the degree plan you’re seeking, whether that’s an online accounting degree or an online marketing degree. The best part is it doesn’t really matter if the college is located in Oregon while you’re living and working in Nebraska. Just log onto your laptop and sign up for the classes anyway. A qualified teacher will work with you via email and other electronic means of communication. There’s no need to worry about getting on campus from 10 a.m. to 11:30 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Instead, the campus comes to you. As long as you meet all the deadlines, you can work on a diploma on your own time.

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