Ask Away...: May 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Ultimate Home Gym Equipment Guide



So you have decided that you are sick of having to drag yourself down to the gym every couple of days to workout but you don’t want to let your fitness levels hit rock bottom? Creating your very own home gym may well be the ideal solution. Once you have chosen your space, you will then need to set about selecting the equipment you need. This will all depend on which areas of your fitness that you want to focus on, so let’s go through each one in turn and some of the equipment that you can invest in.

Cardio

At the upper end of the scale, a treadmill or stationary bike will give you a good workout all the year round. Another option is a rowing machine which also has the added benefits of helping to build and tone muscles, improve endurance and enhance your cardiovascular functioning. Less expensive is a punching bag which can give you a great full-body cardio workout. If you don’t have a big budget at all, even a skipping rope is a good option which also has the natural advantage of taking up next to no space in storage!

Strength



Pretty much every home gym should including a set of dumbbells, and if you get the adjustable kind then you have the ultimate versatility. Choosing a dumbbell workout shouldn’t be hard with so much advice available online. If you are a real free weight fanatic, a weight-lifting bench will also probably be pretty high on your wishlist. Alternatively, if you prefer a workout that is free of machines then there is plenty that you can do with a medicine ball. Another affordable option is a pull up bar which you can put in the doorway of your home giving you an incentive to do some every time you walk through.

Flexibility



It is fairly simple to start building up your flexibility without the need to invest in any overly expensive equipment. The item at the top of your list should be an exercise mat that gives you a good surface for any yoga, ab workouts, core strength building or stretching that you would like to build into your workout routine. If you are going to be working out on a hardwood floor, try to choose one that has a bit of extra thickness. Another must-have item in terms of flexibility is a foam roller which helps to smooth out any knots or tight muscles that you may be suffering from.

Core

We have already talked about the usefulness of an exercise mat when it comes to doing core strength workouts, but an ab wheel is another piece of equipment that is very useful in this area. Remember to take your time and not rush into a complex routing too quickly or you may not be able to move the next day! Elliptical trainers are also a nice piece of equipment that don’t take up a great deal of space and get you to engage your core.

 












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Books I Recommend You Read [May]

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 Another month, and more books. Plus we are getting into the nicer weather so there's no excuse NOT to head outside and read a good book. So check out the ones I've read recently.

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
This was an amazing book about a sexual assault that takes place at a party.   The main character has a new love interest but she can't seem to pin point where he was the night of the party when a fellow classmate was raped.   It's heartbreaking and honest.  A MUST READ!!


The Big Love by Sarah Dunn
This was a Sex and The City style read that basically explores the reality of relationships and when infidelity occurs.   It was comical and witty but also had a serious edge.  A nice, easy read.


Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
This was a great read, rather long but I loved the real life references. it's basically about a kid that becomes famous for saving his school from another guy, who has some serious mental health issues.  Intertwined in the whole saga are the everyday dealing of high schoolers to drugs and sex.  


Startup by Doree Shafrir
This is a nice easy read about a few employees of a start up tech company and the scandal that comes in the industry.   One's trying to spread the word of an inappropriate relationship while another is trying to cover it up.  This was an entertaining read that gave me a peek of what it can be like to work in that industry.


Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn
This is one of those amazing feel good novels.   I loved it! It reminded me a lot of a Sex and the City type plot (which is funny because I've totally said that about her last book) where it's a mishmash of a few people and the decisions they make and how some of them intersect. It's also a nice little novel that features happy/unhappy/and scandalous relationships.


A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

This is by far one of my favorite books ever and I sure hope they make it into a movie. It reminds me very much of Gone Girl and the twists and turns that don't stop until the very very end.   It's basically about 3 people.   A husband and wife and their friend.  The wife goes missing then turns up dead. The husband and friend fall in love.  But something's not as it seems and to understand what's really going on they have to figure out who they want to trust. 


The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell
This was an awesome read! It's about 4 women that are young and married and the crap they are dealing with.  It covers everything from marrying an older man, dealing with a husband's secrets, and keeping secrets of your own. A very lighthearted read!


Setting Free The Kites by Alex George 
This book was amazing.   I felt like I was watching it all in a movie as I read.   It's about 2 boys in Middle School in the 70's and how they form a bond.   One of them loses someone in the family first, and in a couple of years the other one loses someone.   They definitely share that in common.   There are some ups and downs during their friendship and even extreme tragedy.   I found it hard to put this book down.   I never wanted it to end.   Bravo to Alex George! What an amazing book!


Always by Sarah Jio
This was a sweet and easy read about a woman who happens upon her ex-boyfriend aka the love of her life on the street as a homeless man.  While she's currently engaged, she has to decide how to help her ex and decide if she wants to continue with her engagement.     

















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Outfit of the Day: Feather Obsession






I realized I have a thing for feathers. I mean seriously, I have more feather patterned tops and bottoms than any other pattern in my wardrobe. I love these because they are earthy colors.   The feathers on these leggings are very subtle.




It was a damp and rainy day when I took these photos so I had a layered look. I wore a mustard Classic T and a Sarah Cardigan.








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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Pet Problems: You Need To Understand These Challenges Of A New Addition To Your Family

Orange Tabby Cat Beside Fawn Short-coated Puppy

For a lot of people, no home is complete without the addition of a pet. Not everyone is going to have the same taste in pets, but it's definitely understandable why so many people really love bringing a new addition into their homes. Pets bring a sense of companionship and love; help kids become more responsible, and they often bring families closer together. Of course, the biggest mistake that you can make when you're thinking of bringing a pet into your home is to assume that it's going to be all sunshine and rainbows all of the time. It's surprising just how often so many people tend to forget about the sheer amount of hard work that goes into having any pet, especially a family pet like a dog or a cat. Here are some of the challenges you need to be aware of when it comes to bringing a new pet into the home.

Leaving them alone

A pet is a serious commitment. If you're not fully aware of that fact, then you're simply not in a position to bring one into your home in the first place. It's not just a matter of training, feeding and caring for a pet. You've got to be aware of the impact it will have on your entire routine. If you decide to get a dog then leaving them on their own may become a serious issue. Many dogs find being left alone very upsetting and even those that don't often find themselves becoming bored. Dogs that are left alone to get bored can run riot in your home, often chewing everything they can get their hands on. You should try and find some toys for them to chew on, preferably pretty sturdy ones unless you fancy buying a new one every two days. Plenty of companies claim to have indestructible toys, but companies like Tuftoys are confident enough that they will invite you to "try our durable dog toys here" so that you can see for yourself! Of course, if you don't want to deal with that, you could always choose a more independent pet like a cat.

Existing pets

If there's one thing that a lot of people fail to consider, it's the impact that a new addition can have on any existing pets in your house. You might previously have thought that your pets were incredibly relaxed and happy meeting other animals, but that wasn't on their home turf. A lot of the time animals can be much more aggressive when another pet arrives in what they consider to be their territory. The same goes for the new pet. You need to make sure that any animal that you're bringing home is comfortable around other animals in the first place, but is also happy being around your pet specifically. The best thing to do is to have them meet in a neutral environment first a few times so that they can get used to each other. After that, you can start introducing the new pet to your home. Only when you're totally sure that they will both be happy should you fully commit. It might seem like a lot of work, but if you're not careful, both animals could end up incredibly unhappy.







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What You Need to Do When Selling a Property

If you are selling your home, you want to give yourself the best chance of a quick sale at the asking price. You also want to make sure that there is minimal hassle along the way. We have some top tips to help you out.


GETTING YOUR HOME READY FOR VIEWINGS

  • Put personal items away - The first thing you need to do is get rid of all personal items. Of course, you don’t need to throw them away, but make sure that they are out of sight. If the viewer sees family photographs splattered across the house, they will struggle to imagine it as their home.
  • Make small rooms appear bigger - If you have any rooms that are particularly small, there are different tricks you can use to make them appear bigger. For example, in a living room or bedroom, place a large mirror on the wall, as this will open up the space, making it look larger and more welcoming. Here are some great bathroom space saving tips.
  • Give your garden some TLC - Your garden is often the first thing people see when they approach your house. First impressions count, so make sure your garden is neat and tidy.
  • Get the professionals in - A professional deep-clean is money well spent. This will include all areas, including underneath the sofa, shower doors, and your oven. It will make a massive difference, breathing life into your home, and it is often a lot cheaper than people realise.
  • De-clutter - Don’t wait until the day you move out until you have a big clear-out; do it before you welcome your first viewer. Nothing looks worse than clutter!

IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO DO

  • Get pre-approved for your new mortgage - Don’t dive right in without knowing how much you can afford to spend on your new home, if you are indeed buying another property. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is especially important if there have been changes to your financial situation.
  • Revisit your will - Selling a property may mean that you need to revisit your will, especially if this is not the only property you own. This is where estate planning services come in handy. You can ensure that your will is constructed properly and that everything is divided how you want it to be.
  • Try to coordinate closing dates - You could have a nightmare on your hands if you do not attempt to coordinate closing dates. It is advisable to choose a long closing, for instance, 60 days or more. This will give you enough time to move into somewhere new.
  • Re-direct your mail - Last but not least, it is important to re-direct your mail from your old property to your new one. You don’t want your buyers to get their hands on information such as your banking details. A re-direction service will give you enough time to officially change your address everywhere.

So there you have it; everything you need to do when selling your home, from getting the property ready for viewers to ensuring your mail comes to the right place!











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Making Your Rescue Dog Feel Happy And Safe In Their New Home

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The day you bring home a puppy is one of the most special days you’ll ever experience. But bringing home a rescue dog is even more incredible. You’re giving a gorgeous doggy a second chance at being loved, and knowing love, and you are doing it out of choice. The easy option is a puppy; the heartfelt option is a rescue dog.
The thing you need to understand is that there will be a learning period, for both of you and all of you. And to help you with this, we have come up with a few tips and tricks to help your new best friend feel happy and safe in their new home.
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We All Need A Little Space
Your new rescue dog may not be used to getting so much attention, or any attention or, even worse, it may only know bad attention. That’s why it is so important to give them some space. Go and designate a place in your home for them to escape to when things get a little too much, somewhere safe and away from the action. Just make sure it is somewhere they can access themselves, and do all you can to make them know this is their safe space.
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Structure Proves A Success
Dogs inherently crave routine. They want to know the boundaries and the rules, so lay them down early and gently. If you need some help with this, then seek out a company that offers dog training to any dog of any size. The reason getting this right is so important is because when dogs don’t understand how to fit in they become a little uncertain, and that can make them uncomfortable. So to help them feel more secure in their new home, be consistent with your training and encourage them, help them along so that they understand what sort of behavior is acceptable.
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Meet Their Special Needs
Every pet needs a few things: a bowl that is theirs, toys they can call their own, food that gives them all they need and a bed they can crawl into. Yeah, their needs are simple. It is just a matter of getting them right.

BOWLS: Get two non-slip bowls that they can become accustomed to.

TOYS: Buy the best toys for peaking their interest and enjoyment, toys that are durable and can’t be torn into choking hazards.

FOOD: As for their food, speak to a vet about what food is best for their breed and age, just to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need. But don’t stop there. Invest in some nice delicious snacks too, maybe even go the extra mile for them, and get a monthly subscription box full of tasties. If nothing else, they will help with training.

BED: With dog beds, the options are vast. But there are only two things to prioritize, really. Make sure it is big enough for them, and make sure it is in a quiet place they can go to on their own. This will help them get more accustomed to your home, and their place in it, all of which is important when re-introducing a dog to love and attention.








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Friday, May 26, 2017

Choosing The Right Furry Pet For Your Family

Choosing an animal of any kind as a family pet is a huge commitment, so you need to carefully consider what type of animal would suit your lifestyle and home the best. Once you’re sure you’re able to take care of an animal properly and can give it a wonderful life, you’ll have a new family member to make memories with, and it’ll be one the best decisions you’ve ever made.
 
Cats
 
Cats are fairly independent creatures when it comes to living within a family home. They are often likened to older teenagers, who tend to wander in and out the house depending on when they want to eat and sleep. This makes them excellent pets for families who have fairly busy days but are still able to give the time needed to feed their cat at regular times and give affection also (when cats want to snuggle; they really want to snuggle). If you’re looking for an animal to train to fetch your slippers, however, maybe a cat isn’t the correct choice for you.
 
There is always the option of getting a breed that is suited to being a house cat; these require more commitment, as they are inside all day, so will need to gain their stimulation through attention, activities and toys within the home. Whether you rescue a cat or buy from a reputable breeder, you need to ensure it has all it’s health checks and vaccinations at the vet’s before you bring them home; this will help to ensure your new pet lives a long and happy life with the family.
 
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Dogs
 
They are people’s best friends, however; before you even consider getting a pooch, you need to know that they are much like children, and require a lot of love, care, and attention. There are so many different breeds that are suited to an array of family situations, however; the most important things to consider are if you have the time and if you can afford them. When you’ve decided that you’re able to give a dog a loving home, do extensive research into the breed that’s right for you and your family; things to consider are size, how active the breed is, and how difficult they are to train.
 
Before picking up your new dog from the shelter, or breeder; it’s worth checking out a guide to dog health, and ensuring you have everything your furry friend will need when they arrive home. Book in with your local veterinarian, and ensure all checks and vaccines are up to date, and if you’re struggling to train them, there are plenty of guides online, or you can hire a dog trainer to come to your home. Dogs are a huge investment, but well worth it.
 
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Image from PEXELS
 
Smaller Furry Pets
 
Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and the like are excellent pets for those who don’t have the time needed to spend with larger animals like dogs and cats. As long as you do your research on the best environments for them, and can provide them with their ideal surroundings, they can make lovely companions in your family home. Often, smaller animals are a good way to teach kids responsibility, and they’ll learn the importance of feeding them and keeping their enclosures clean on a regular basis. It’s also important that your local vet is familiar with your little family member, should any issues arise. Check out some amazing hutches for smaller animals here: https://uk.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=rabbit%20hutch&rs=typed&term_meta[]=rabbit%7Ctyped&term_meta[]=hutch%7Ctyped.
 
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Image found here
 
 
 














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Outfit of the Day: Full of Purple


I know I generally criticize people for being too matchy matchy with colors but in my defense, the color of this LuLaRoe Irma is not at all matching ANY colors in the leggings. 








That being said, it still looks great together and that's why I encourage people to embrace different shades of the same color.








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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blog Not Getting Enough Traffic? Here's How To Change That!

When you compare blogging in 2017 to how it used to be when it first started, the difference is astonishing. Of course, there are plenty of benefits as to how it has advanced, such as much of the content being of a much higher quality. But there are also plenty more rules and regulations that now exist for you to abide by, as well as more blogs out there to compete with as well. All in all, this makes blogging in the 21st century a pretty complicated thing for many of us to get our heads around. Maybe you have just started your blog and have no idea where to begin - or maybe you have been running your blog for a while, but still have yet to reap any rewards from it. Of course, getting into blogging with the sole intention to make money is completely the wrong attitude; and nine times out of ten, it won't work anyway. But you can still earn money from your blog on the side, providing the content is good and you are passionate about it. Plus, there's nothing more satisfying as a blogger than knowing that thousands of people are reading your posts every day, and interacting with you in your own little online community. Ready to take your blog to the next level? Follow these tips for success and watch it come to life.

Check that it works

This may sound basic beyond belief - but for anyone to want to read your blog, you will need first to make sure that it functions as it should. This means no excessive loading times, no skewed-up text or upside-down pictures... and certainly no redundant links. Anything of this nature simply looks unprofessional, and you will find that people quickly lose trust in your blog. Always preview any changes you make via your web host and look at your site as if you were a customer, to make sure that everything is working correctly.
 
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Be transparent

If you do end up being lucky enough to get involved with sponsorships or brand deals on your blog, then you will soon learn that transparency is key. Never assume that your readers are stupid, or naive - if they think you've been sponsored to write a post, they're probably right! That doesn't mean, however, that you need to make a big song and dance about it either. Simply write a friendly disclaimer at the start of every sponsored article explaining the situation to your readers, and they will thank you for it.

Use SEO

In blogging, SEO is often regarded as a bit of a dirty term. But really, there's nothing wrong at all with using technological tactics to get more visitors to your site. Providing your content is still of a high calibre, there's nothing wrong at all with engineering your site to appear higher in search engines. Learning how to write snappy titles can immediately make your posts much more clickable, and adding tags and keywords helps search engines direct people to you who are looking for something specific.












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