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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Adore your front door: Three tips for beautiful wood doors in any climate



(BPT) - Your home's front door is more than a portal for family and friends - it makes a statement about your own personal style. Home designers often list the entry door as one of the most cost effective ways to dress up the front of your home for "wow" curb appeal.



"This Old House" magazine notes that since the front door is the first and last thing we touch when entering and leaving our homes, "it's easy to understand why many of us still like our doors to be made of wood - nothing else matches the material's warmth and satisfying heft."



"People choose wood entry doors first and foremost for their beauty; it's a fine piece of furniture on the front of your home," says Brad Loveless of Simpson Door Company.



For homeowners who enjoy the beauty of wood entry doors, options are now available to stand up to the harshest climates - from the wind-driven rains of Nantucket Island to the desert Southwest. The following are three ways to have the wood door you want and to ensure it will look great for years, no matter what the climate throws at it.



Bring your dreams to life



With doors available in hundreds of wood species, and numerous designs and glass options, it can be hard to envision how a particular door will look like on your home. Short of hiring an architect to make a sketch, most people have had to rely on their imaginations. Recently, easy-to-use, free online tools have become available to simplify the door selection process. They allow a homeowner to be sure before they buy.



Go for performance



People are used to looking for high performance when shopping for new cars or computers, but might not realize the same approach can apply to doors. Manufacturers have developed high-performance wood doors with superior weather resistance that last in the most demanding exposures, including coastal homes with no porch or roof overhang to protect the door.



One high-performance option to consider is choosing wood species that perform best in moist conditions, as this varies among wood types. Species that have been shown in laboratory testing to have natural moisture resistance include Douglas Fir, Black Locust, Nootka Cypress and Sapele Mahogany, among others.



Another performance option some manufacturers offer in their wood doors is water-resistant composite blocks within the bottom of the door, where water can infiltrate. Doors also are available with full exterior cladding to protect them from rain and sun, while retaining the beauty of wood inside the home.



A strong finish



With any door, whether made of wood, steel or fiberglass, it is crucial to finish it for long-lasting protection from the elements. Doors are sold either factory finished or unfinished. If unfinished, the door must be finished by the door dealer, a contractor or the homeowner. Manufacturers provide step-by-step instructions for best results from finishing, and those steps typically must be followed to ensure warranty requirements. Chief among these are to finish all six sides - front, back and all edges. As no wood surface should be left unfinished, finish should also be applied to the cut-outs for the handle and lock set, as well as any other openings, such as for mail slots or pet doors.



If the door is exposed to sun, it is generally better to use lighter color paints or stains as those absorb less heat from damaging UV rays.



Cost-control tips for bridesmaids-to-be



Standing up for your friend as her maid of honor or bridesmaid is a special experience you'll both remember all your lives. Yet your happiness for your friend, and your joy at participating in her wedding, can be tempered by concerns about the costs associated with being a member of the wedding party.



Just like the bride and groom, attendants often need to use credit to fund their wedding experience, including the cost of a dress, gift for the happy couple, the bachelorette party and perhaps traveling to the wedding location. Still, if you rely too much on credit, you could end up with debt - which is a lot worse than a dress you'll never wear again.

Careful planning and an honest discussion with the bride and groom about cost control can help ensure no one overspends on the big day.

Before you agree:
The first question you should ask yourself is: "Can I afford to be in this wedding?"

If the person asking for your participation is your best friend in the world, and saying "no" will harm your relationship, you'll have to find a way to fund your bridesmaid duties without breaking the bank. But if the invitation comes from a friend you're not particularly close to, it may be appropriate to decline, especially if the associated costs will be a financial hardship.

When the answer has to be "yes," your next move should be to assess your finances. How much cash can you reasonably set aside between now and the time the bills start to arrive? How much of your participation will need to be funded through credit?

If you know credit will be a big part of your wedding party budget, monitoring your credit for a few months may help you manage your finances. Membership in a product like CreditReport.com offers members valuable tools to help them monitor their credit for a monthly fee.

When it's time to say "yes":
Once you have an idea of how you can budget, it's time to have a candid discussion with the bride and groom. Let them know what you're comfortable with, and what will be beyond your budget. Determine what their expectations are for the costs you'll bear, and what they'll pay for.

If you find that your financial abilities and their expectations are too far apart, give them the opportunity to reconsider their invitation for you to be in the wedding.

Ironing out money matters at the beginning of the wedding planning process will help ensure you don't have to distract the bride and groom with the discussion as their big day approaches - and their stress levels go up.

When you're committed:
Once you've said yes and agreed on expenses, it's time to put your plan into action. Begin setting aside money right away, even if the wedding is a year away. The longer you have to save cash, the less you'll need to rely on credit as the wedding approaches.

Look for ways that you can cut expenses without impacting the wedding itself. For example, if the bridesmaid's dress must come from a pricey boutique, perhaps you can find matching shoes for less at a different retail store. If you'll be traveling to the wedding in another state - or even another country - shop for the best airline deal, and explore the possibility of using reward miles or hotel points to help defray your travel costs.

Compromise with the bride: If she agrees to let you wear your favorite little black dress, rather than drop a few hundred on something new that you'll never wear again, make it up to her by helping out in some other way. Perhaps you're a skilled crafter who can make one-of-a-kind favors for the reception. Maybe your graphic design skills could help her save money on custom-designed invitations. Or perhaps you can use your flower-arranging skills to help her save money on centerpieces, boutonnieres and bouquets.
With some advanced planning and loving honesty, you can help ensure your friend's big day is as perfect as possible-and that the only thing you're left with afterward are happy memories.



Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Green living project: Revamp your kitchen pantry to avoid waste and save money



For a basic green living project with benefits to your wallet and the environment, consider revamping the kitchen pantry. The cupboard is the starting point for most kitchen activity and is more than just a storage space. Develop good buying habits and build a strong foundation and you can avoid the waste of food and money. Here's how to tackle the task at once or little by little.



Assess



When you are not in a rush to whip up a family meal or put away loads of groceries, take some time to really look at the items in your pantry. What is in front? What is hidden in the back? What's used most frequently? What is expired?



Be more aware of your consumption habits, suggests Cory Schreiber, a chef instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Portland. This awareness is a simple step to greener living. Avoid impulse purchases by being more mindful of the emotions that can be involved in food shopping, he adds. Not only do you avoid waste this way, but conscious consumption is more cost effective too.



Utilize



Another cost-effective method that Joshua Joe, storeroom manager at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California - Los Angeles, a campus of Argosy University, recommends is a common inventory and accounting process used by schools, hotels and other food service providers. Practicing a first-in, first-out method of consuming your pantry goods is a true way to save money and prevent food waste, says Joe, who purchases the school's food supplies. With approximately 500 culinary arts students regularly coming through the school's dry storage area, Joe encourages the students to use the earliest bought, or oldest, goods first. The tendency is to go for the freshest or A+ product when the A grade item will do, he says. You don't want to let perfectly usable goods go to waste.



Stock up



Once you have a handle on what you are buying and how you are consuming it, it is time to stock up.



Schreiber proposes buying high-quality essentials and purchasing goods in bulk. Buy the highest quality staples you can afford, recommends Schreiber. For example, six pounds of a good butter can last you a solid five months. Other items where quality counts and the products can endure include oils, vinegars, salts, dried herbs and spices.When possible, buy dry goods in bulk too, he adds. Grains, rice, legumes and pastas are all good products to shop for in a food store's bulk department.



To store the loose pasta or grains, look for containers with a lower environmental footprint. Using glass, metal and ceramics is the easiest solution, says Chris Stanley, an Industrial Design instructor at The Art Institute of Seattle. Stanley, who has taught courses on the history of industrial design and in materials and manufacturing, adds, choose something classic in design so you won't be tempted to throw it out in two years. Or, you can re-use glass jars and that fruit cake tin your aunt sends you each year.



Not only is buying in bulk less expensive, but less packaging means less energy used to create the materials and less garbage to throw away - all of which are more friendly to the environment.



Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Make your preening routine green



Starting an environmentally friendly routine at home is a goal for many families who are concerned with reducing their environmental footprints. The age-old reduce, reuse and recycle mantra is a great start, but what many don't know is that there are also simple changes you can make to your health and beauty routine that can make a big impact on the environment. Who knew "green" preening could be so easy?



In addition to finding beauty products you love, you can also support brands that promote sustainable living. Consider making changes in your health and beauty care routines that will help reduce your environmental footprint. It's the small changes you make that can lead to a big environmental impact.



Here are some ideas to help you get started:



* Products that are offered in bulk - Buying products you frequently use - like skin lotion or tooth paste - in bulk sizes helps you to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up being thrown away or recycled. And not only does it help you reduce your waste, but buying bulk also tends to provide better savings. When shopping, however, only bulk up on items you use frequently enough, so you won't end up with any spoiling before you use it.



* Packaging that's a little easier on the environment - Purchasing products packaged in a sustainable manner is a good way to help reduce your environmental footprint. For example, the Pantene Nature Fusion collection is packaged in renewable, sugarcane-based plastic, helping to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Both the Pantene Nature Fusion shampoo and conditioner bottles reduce the use of fossil fuels by more than 70 percent versus traditional petroleum-based plastics, and release up to 170 percent fewer greenhouse gasses in the manufacturing process. But you don't have to sacrifice beauty to be eco-savvy - the collection combines Pro-V science with naturally derived cassia to give your hair healthy strength and shine.



* Eco-conscious manufacturers - Many manufacturers of health and beauty products are becoming more conscience of how these products are developed. For example, some companies like P&G are developing techniques to reuse waste in the manufacturing process, combining reduce, reuse and recycle into one process. And many companies are adopting environmentally friendly manufacturing processes that help to reduce energy usage and use more renewable energy sources.



* Good things in smaller packages - Concentrated or condensed products allow you to purchase smaller quantities in smaller packages, resulting in less waste that end up being recycled or thrown away. In addition, concentrated products in smaller packages allow more packages per truck shipment, helping to reduce the environmental impact in the shipping industry. This helps to reduce the product's footprint before it even reaches the store shelves. Do a little research to see if your makeup or lotion brands offer a concentrated option, so you can put the mantra, "a little dab will do you," to good use.



For more tips on how you can add more sustainable practices to your health and beauty routine, or other areas of your home, visit www.facebook.com/futurefriendly. You'll discover how small changes in your daily preening can really make a significant change.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

Como puedo comprar casa con Tax ID


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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Give your home a quick refresh with these budget-friendly tips




(BPT) - Whether you are buying, selling or simply remodeling, you are looking to invest in updates that will increase the value and appeal of your home. It's natural to want it all, but before you over-personalize or break the bank, there are many simple, budget-friendly changes that can increase the value of your home without the risk.

Cassandra LaValle, interior designer and editor of the acclaimed lifestyle and design site, Coco+Kelley, offers these tried and true tips for upping your home value without overdoing it.

* Refresh with paint: You may not be able to replace large appliances or countertops, but in the kitchen adding a fresh coat of neutral paint to outdated cabinets and swapping out hardware can go a long way in making the space feel refreshed.

* Little luxuries in the bathroom: Replace your current shower head with a rain shower, like the Waterpik RainFall+. Completely budget-friendly and easy to install - it takes less than five minutes - this showerhead can make a huge difference in an everyday routine - giving a spa-like experience with multiple high-performance spray settings.

The same goes for lighting - brightening up this space in particular can be a big selling point.

* Don't forget about the outside: Every home needs curb appeal. If you can't afford major landscaping, focus on the entrance to the home. Again, updating with paint and hardware on the front door will be a welcoming touch, while a couple of really great potted plants at the entryway add to that focal point.

* It's in the details: Consider adding small details to rooms that will elevate the style. Framing out windows, or adding baseboards, molding or wainscoting to a space will leave it feeling a bit more polished.

No matter how big or small your projects, remember it doesn't take a lot of money to make a big impact to any space.