Bills Bills Bills: Bring Them Down To Size

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Have you been struggling with high home bills? Every month, we have to budget, making sure that the bills we need to pay fit into our monthly earnings. This can be difficult particularly when there are so many to take care of. As soon as you figure out how to handle one, another pops up. So, let’s look at some of the bills that you might need to deal with and figure out how to handle them effectively.

Electric And Energy In The Home

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You do have to be careful with electric and energy bills because in no time at all, they can go through the roof. It’s so easy to lose track of how much you are using through the day. Obviously, there are simple ways to save on energy. For instance, you can make sure that you are turning off the lights when you leave a room and don’t forget to unplug items like the TV. Even on standby these products burn through electricity.

Winter in particular tends to send these bills rocketing through the roof because you are using the heating more often and stay inside more through the day as well as the evening.

To keep your heating bills low our first suggestion would be to get a smart meter. If you can, you’ll be able to keep a constant check of how much energy you are using each day. You will also be able to find out which appliances and items are costing you more money.

Once you have a handle on your usage, there are three steps you need to take to tame those bills.

Firstly, do what you can with what you have. In particular, turn off lights and appliances when you’re not using them.

Secondly, replace lights, gadgets and appliances with more energy-efficient alternatives. These will often be smart alternatives.

In the real world, there’s probably going to be a strong link between steps one and two. If you’re honest about this, then you can prioritize your updates in order of benefit.

For example, let’s say you want to update your lights and your washing machine. If you know you’re bad about remembering to turn off lights, then you should probably aim to switch to smart LEDs as soon as possible. That way, you can turn them off remotely. On the other hand, if you’re pretty good at turning off lights, then you should probably prioritize the washing machine.

Thirdly, you need to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on your energy bills. Research all options thoroughly, including no deposit electricity.

Issues With Insurance

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Everyone needs insurance, for their car, their home and any other assets that could be considered valuable. You might even have life insurance if you are worried about what you will leave behind for your loved ones when you’re gone.

The price of insurance can be high but how do you keep it under control? Well, you need to shop around for the best prices and make sure you are finding insurance that caters to your individual situation. You might be a high risk driver and if that’s the case you need to look at a business like Servo insurance brokers. They can help you find the right deal and make sure that you’re not paying an arm and a leg for coverage. As well as this, you need to look at ways to keep insurance levels down. In the case of your home, you should consider this when buying a property as some areas are more expensive to ensure than others.

Shopping Bills

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Last but not least think about how much you spend on your basic shop every week. Ideally, you should set a fixed point for the cost of the weekly shop and make sure that you are not going over it. This won’t always be possible but if you look for deals online and use vouchers you can keep the spending under control.

In particular, you should think about buying in bulk for items you know you’re going to need for a while. This should shave a little off the cost of the bill for your weekly shop.

No Prying Eyes: Maintain Privacy in Your Home

Everyone wants to have privacy in their own home. Whether you live alone or share your home with others, you need to have your own space where strangers and sometimes even the people you know and love can't intrude. For a more private home, try some of these ideas.

Cover Windows

People looking through your windows isn't something you want to put up with in any room of your home. If you think people can see in from any angle, window dressings can help. You can still allow light through using net curtains, semi-transparent blinds, or frosting on the windows themselves.

Make Your Yard More Private

While it's easy to make the inside of your home private, the exterior isn't so easy. When you're hanging out outside, your neighbors and others can often see you. Creating privacy doesn't have to be too difficult, though. Fences, hedges and trees can all help to obscure people's vision.

Soundproof Your Home

It's not just people looking into your home that can worry you. If you don't want people to hear you, you can soundproof your home too. It doesn't need to be anything fancy. Soft furnishings and rugs can help to absorb sound.

Secure Your Tech

Remember to check your smart technology to ensure its security. Many devices aren't as secure as they should be, and could mean that you risk losing your privacy in your home. However, there are a few things you can do if you want to try to ensure your privacy.

5 Ways You Can Help Freshen Your Dog's Mouth

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If you own a dog, especially a senior or small breed dog, you have likely noticed that your dog doesn't always have the freshest breath.  February was Dental Health Month so to honor that, I wanted to give you some advice in the form of 5 ways you can help freshen your dog's mouth. 

Brush Brush Brush
I have 4 small breed dogs so trust me, I know it may seem like a chore but even if you just use a finger brush to swipe some dog toothpaste anywhere in your pooch's mouth, it's better than not doing anything at all.  Obviously dogs can't brush their own teeth so they rely on us to help them out. Choose a toothpaste that helps fight plaque and tartar.  They even have chicken flavored toothpaste.  If you can't use a toothbrush then use a finger brush or even your bare finger if your dog will allow and they have a small mouth like mine do.  Try to get in the habit of doing this at least once a week.

Dental Cleaning
Occasionally, your vet may tell you that your dogs teeth really need a professional cleaning and their may even be some teeth that need removed.  This is especially common with small breeds. All of my dogs have had their teeth cleaned at least twice in their life time.  They are put completely under for this procedure and it's a great way to ensure that rotten teeth can be removed, abscesses can be found and the tooth taken out, and your vet can scrape the plaque and tartar of your dog's teeth.  Heart health and dental health are closely linked and since small breeds have issues with both it's well worth it for me to have it done regularly for my dogs.

These cleanings can be a couple hundred dollars but I make sure to save up some money that I set aside specifically for veterinary expenses for my wolfpack. 

Dental Chews
Whimzees Dental Stix from Chewy are a big hit in my household. Dental chews help "brush" your dog's teeth with their fun shape.  They are completely edible and easily digestible.  When you look for a dental chew, all natural ingredients is the way to go.  These chews specifically are free of gluten so it's great for dogs with sensitivities.  They help freshen breath and remove buildup on the teeth.  IN addition to brushing I like to give these on a weekly basis.
How do they work exactly? Well, their knobby shape helps ensure proper blood flow through the gums and the hollow parts allow the teeth to grip and chew.  They're also easy for small dogs to hold.  They aren't recommended for dogs under 5 lbs but all mine are over that and I closely monitor them anyways. 

Dry Kibble
Some people think that wet food is a better option for dogs that have had to have a few teeth removed but ironically, the dry kibble is actually helpful in removing plaque just like dental chews are.  So even though some of my dogs eat wet food I always mix dry kibble in with it.

Sometimes people complain that the dry kibble is just too hard for their dog but you can easily soften it just a bit by mixing a small amount of water in with their food.  My dogs have teeny tiny teeth and they do just fine.

Proper Nutrition
Obviously feeding a food that has natural ingredients is very important so that your dog is getting proper nutrients rather than "junk food".  I've also noticed that my dogs have fresher breath when they eat a high quality brand of food.    I always make sure that any baked goods my dogs get as treats don't contain sugar and icky ingredients like that as I know that kind of stuff isn't good AT ALL for teeth whether you're a human or a dog.

These are just a few little things that can help the overall state of your dog's oral health and hygiene.

Does your dog have bad breath? How do you deal?

Is Driving All It's Cracked Up To Be?

As a teenager, you would have dreamt about the lure of driving. Not having to rely on anybody but yourself to get from A to B. But is driving all it’s cracked up to be? No, it definitely isn’t. Just like with most things in life, there are some serious downsides to it. But at the same time, driving is sort of a necessity if you want to live a full life. It enables you to have so many different experiences that you might not have usually had, and in a way, it opens you up to adventure. We don’t want to make driving seem all negative, but we have go to show both sides of the story. There are millions of 15-18 year olds getting ready to get their learner's permit, and there are even more mature people attempting it too. So here is a bit of advice with regards to whether driving is all it is cracked up to be.

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The Positives

For a lot of people the positives far outweigh the negatives. When you’ve spent your whole life relying on someone else to get you where to you need to be, it is easy to see why people can just shut out some of the really big negatives. So the first positivity we’re going to talk about is independence. For younger people wishing to drive soon, independence is everything. It helps to put them in the transition from a teenager to a young adult. Because in many aspects of their life, they’re still regimented to follow a routine. They’ll have to get up, have breakfast, spend 6 or more hours in school, go home for dinner etc. There is a huge lack of indepence here, and they’ll rely on others for absolutely everything. Driving strips some of that reliance away. Suddenly they’re in control of where they’re going to. They can choose whether they go to the shops or the cinema because it is just so easy to get to.

Another positive is how easy it is to get your licence. Actually getting on the road with a car is another story, but the learning to drive but really isn’t that hard if you put the effort in. The first step for anyone of any age is taking the learners permit test. This is the practical side that will allow you to get that all important learners ID. Different people can take it in different places. For example. Teenagers can take a learner's permit exam with American Safety Council, whereas older people will have to find a different route. There are plenty of places available however, you just have to do a bit of googling to find your local test center. As long as you revise, this test should be really easy to pass. Then comes to harder part for a lot of people, actually learning to drive. The fear of being on the road with so much traffic is a lot to put some people off, but eventually confidence will build, and they’ll be test ready. You’ll most likely be no different. Nerves in the beginning are totally normal. Eventually they will pass!

The Negatives

The negatives are something we’ve got to talk about because they’re just so damn big. Driving is amazing, don’t get us wrong, but you have to be prepared for a few things. The first is the financial side of things. As soon as you start to drive you’ll notice your finances getting worse and worse, especially for young drivers. The cost of insurance is so high, they’re still in school so they can’t get a proper job to fund it, and they’re most likely out all night with friends using a lot of fuel. For more mature people, it is no different. Even with a full time job, trying to find the funds to run a car is just hard. Because it isn’t just the fuel, insurance and tax you have to pay for. Like most things in life, a car will break, and when they do, they can cost a seriou amount of money. This is often something a lot of people aren’t prepared for, and it can set them back hundreds of pounds. For a lot of people they can’t even scrape together the money to fix it, meaning they’ll be off the road for a long while.

Another negative is the roads that you’ll be driving on. There are so many points we could talk about with this, but the first is definitely traffic. Sitting in traffic in the passenger seat never seems so bad. But when you’re a driver who’s got somewhere to be, or you’ve just spent a long day in the office, or have been behind the wheels for hours, it’s an absolute nightmare. Traffic often leads to anger and stupid decisions, even if they’re not by you. Accidents are caused by people dipping in and out of lanes trying to get home quicker. If you’re ever involved in an accident, we would hope that the other driver was at fault. Most of the time when an accident occurs it is due to speeding, lack of attention, or influences such as drugs or alcohol. The biggest negative of driving is definitely the danger posed by the people around you, or even by yourself. If you had friends or children in the car who were tapping you to look at something, the second lapse of concentration is what could get you killed.

So Is It Worth It?

At the end of the day, driving is a necessary evil. It might drain your money, and it might be dangerous, but it gives us the freedom we so badly need and want. Even the simple things like being able to fill the boot of the car with shopping rather than carrying it to the bus is something you’ll take for granted. When you have children it becomes even more important to be able to drive. As long as you’re prepared with money, and know you can be a safe driver, then yes, it totally is worth it.
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3 Professionals You May Need Help From

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

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Throughout your life, you are likely to need the help and advice of lots of different people for lots of different things. This might be something as simple as needing someone to give you directions, or it might be needing a mechanic to fix your car. With that in mind, here are three types of professional you might need help from.

Medical ProfessionalsAt some point in your life, you are going to need help from
medical professionals. It doesn’t matter how careful and safe you are; you will get sick and need to see a doctor eventually. It might not be until your twilight years, or it might be due to some kind of accident. Either way, you will need to see medical professionals to help you recover. You should always remember that these people know what they are doing and that they are trained professionals. They have your best interests in mind with every decision that they make and that you are in the right place to get better and recover. You also might want to see a medical professional if you are suffering from mental health-related issues. If this is the case, then there is no shame in seeking help. You are taking a big step forward by asking for help, and you should feel good about that. Don’t discount medical professionals if you are ever in a situation where you need that sort of help.

Legal Professionals

There are times in your life when you will need the help of a legal professional. You might need to make a claim or are having a claim made against you, and you are in the need of
attorneys. This might be because of a car accident, criminal offence, medical injury, divorce or a number of other reasons. However, it is unlikely that you will make it through life without needing a legal professional in some form or another. Legal professionals can represent you in court and provide all kinds of helpful advice about your rights and the law in general. Without a legal professional, you could get yourself into all kinds of legal trouble without meaning to. Always seek the help of a legal professional when dealing with the law.

Financial Professionals

There are times in your life when you will need the help of a financial professional. This might mean having an accountant to help you with your tax return or the help you manage the finances of your business. Either way, you are going to need somebody training and knowledgeable about financial matters to help you. You can certainly try to muddle your way through, but the chances are that a financial professional will know of an easier and quicker way to do the exact same thing. When it comes to filing a tax return, your
accountant will be able to give you advice about what you need to include and make sure that your books are kept up to date. This will also help you better understand and be able to manage your finances.

Hacks To Stay Healthy When You Travel Abroad

When you’re planning a vacation, it can be tricky to think of everything all at once for when you’re in a foreign city. What will you do if you need help or medical assistance, for example? Will you know who to call and what to do? Here are some of the precautions you can take to make sure that you’re able to stay healthy and well when you travel, as well as deal with an emergency situation, should it arise.


Get Travel Insurance

One of the first things you should do, as soon as your vacation is booked is to get travel insurance. This will not only protect you against cancellations, but it can cover medical bills. And if you’re abroad, you’re likely to have some pretty high medical bills. You don’t want to put off getting care because you’re worried about the cost of it.

Don’t Take Risks

If there is something that you’re not quite sure if you should be doing it or not, then it could be a good idea to not do it. Taking risks in a foreign land can be greater than if you know where you are and what you’re doing. Things like surfing or paddle boarding aren’t dangerous on the surface, but if you don’t take the precautions then they can quickly become that way. Which is where surfboard leashes from somewhere like OMNA can come into play. If you are taking precautions, then it can reduce risk. But don’t too anything too crazy or dangerous when abroad.

When you’re travelling, you want to ensure that you have good quality, safe accommodation. If you’re planning to live somewhere for a longer period, do your research on the area. There are a number of options depending on your budget and requirements. If you’re travelling in the Singapore area, there are many hdb properties to choose from that could be perfect for your needs.

Drink Bottled Water

Drinking tap water where you live may be fine; you are used to the mineral content and know that it reacts fine with your body. But abroad, it can be pretty dangerous if you're not used to it. It can lead to you getting quite sick, and ironically, quite dehydrated. So unless you’re happy with the water and what it contains, it can be safer for you to be drinking bottled water.

Check Vaccinations

Before you go abroad, there may be some vaccinations that you are advised that you should have before you can go to the country you’re planning on going to. If this is the case, then it can be worth doing. Then it will mean that you are protected against certain viruses or diseases that aren’t common where you live, but are where you are going. Things like malaria are important to protect yourself against.

Eat Well

When you are in a new place, the food can be amazing and you’ll want to try it all. But following a good diet when you’re away is just as important as if you were at home. It can be a good idea to eat ‘like the locals do’ as they are likely to be going to the popular and tasty street food carts, rather than the nasty ones. So that can be a good guideline to follow, to make sure you are eating good food, rather than something that could make you ill.

Amazing Advice Beginner Drivers Need to Know

Monday, February 26, 2018

Learning to drive is a huge learning curve for everyone, and it takes everyone different lengths of time to learn how to drive. If you are learning how to drive, or you are nervous about getting behind the wheel, some of this advice will be great for you. Or perhaps you just to know some helpful ways of learning if you have already started your lessons. Whatever stage of learning how to drive you are at, there is something here for everyone. Knowing how to learn, and what to do before you even start your lessons can be helpful for many people. Knowing some helpful tips can help you progress from one stage to the next an ultimately get you on the road and in your own car that but quicker. If this sounds like the kind of advice you need to know as a beginner driver then sit back, relax, put on your seatbelt and be prepared to find out some amazing advice for beginner drivers.

Learn as Much as You Can Before Your First Lesson

Taking driving lessons is the main way people learn how to drive, this is something that everyone knows and people rarely even take their test without having a few under their belt. However, learning as much as you can before you get behind the wheel is something that not everyone does. Before you have your first driving lesson you can learn about things like what each pedal does, some basic rules of the road and what you need to do to make the car move forward. By learning some of this basic information before your first lesson you are making the most of your time with the instructor. You can easily learn about these things online so get your laptop out and start googling some things when you have some spare time. There are plenty of blogs about this, or you could ask a family member lots of questions too. This not only means you are making the most of your time with the instructor but that you are making the most of your money as well. Driving lessons soon add up, but if you already know a few things before you even start, you will progress much more quickly than if you didn’t.


Don’t Start Learning Then Stop

Something that can hinder many beginner drivers is learning how to drive and is having lessons, then stopping for a while, then starting them up again. If you have been driving for many years then stopping driving for a while probably won’t make much of a difference to your driving, although you might be a bit rusty when you start again. For beginners, it can be very detrimental. If you start learning then stop again it is very likely you will have to start learning all over again when you take it up again. If you are a beginner driver it is a good idea to try and avoid this happening to you.

There are lots of ways to prevent this happening. Some people decide to save up before they even start learning how to drive. This way you can carry on having lessons and won’t need to stop because your funds for driving lessons has run out. If you have a steady income then this might be less of an issue for you. Some people find it easier to buy lessons in bulk so they have a plan set up for the next few weeks or months. However you do it, make sure you don’t have to start then stop learning so you can become a great driver as soon as possible.

Have a Car to Drive When You Pass

Some people already have a car lined up for when they pass but if this isn’t you, it might be a good idea to think about your options. Getting your first car can be quite costly, especially when you have just spent lots of money on lessons and passing your test. You could always see if someone in your family want to update their current car and give you their old one or see if there are any affordable options available in your area. If this interests you might want to learn more about learn more about Audi's extended factory warranty. You could always get insured on the family car or your partner’s car. Getting insurance for a short period of time might be worth it, depending on when you need to drive and use the car. There are a few options open to you if you are going to pass your test soon but you don’t want to invest in a brand new car. If you are a beginner driver it is probably worth researching what kind of car you want to get, and what payment plan would work for you.


Learn Outside of Lessons

It is also very beneficial to drive outside of your lessons too. This means driving the car of an experienced driver while they sit in the passenger seat. This is a fantastic way to solidify your skills, get in some practice and build your confidence when it comes to driving. It can also help you get used to driving in different situations, with different people and driving different kinds of cars. Getting in as much practice as you can is the best way to pass your driving test. Things like going to the shops, or dropping off friends at their houses, are all great ways you can practise driving. Doing it as much as you can maximizes your chances of passing with flying colors.

If you are beginner driver, following some of this great advice could help you to learn and pass your test even quicker than you thought you could. It is a smart idea to learn as much as you can before your first lesson, and practise as much as you can before you have your test. Following this kind of advice will maximize your chances of learning, and will mean you can pass your test and become an amazing driver as quickly as possible. photo ScreenShot2014-06-25at102225PM_zps4fdda517.png

The Vitamin Beauty Cabinet You Didn't Know You Needed

Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.

This saying comes from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer and politician from the 18th and early 19th century who became a famous gastronome. It’s in an essay published shortly before his death, The Physiology of Taste - Physiologie du goût in French – that he explained the idea that food defines species and people. Brillat-Savarin was also one of the first to suggest protein-rich diets for health reasons, understand that high-carb diets can be linked to obesity. He also notes in his Physiology of Taste that there is a clear correlation between the physical appearance of a person and the food they consume, recommending that eaters who struggle with oily skin adopt a grease-reduced diet.

As surprising as it might sound, this lawyer who died almost 200 years ago gave recommendations that we can still use in today’s beauty routine. Naturally, there is no need to forget about skin and hair care products and vitamin supplements. But while these matter, it is even more important to make your diet your number one priority in your beauty routine. What do you need to keep in your beauty cabinet to maintain your good and healthy look? Beauty, as it happens, doesn’t start in the bathroom. It begins in the kitchen.

Can you eat yourself beautiful?

Give your skin what it needs

Your skin is the largest external organ in your body. Consequently, it is quick to show issues in your diet and care regime. Indeed, flawless skin is not God-given but is the result of attentive nourishing and cleaning. In a previous article on the blog,, you can find the essential tips to help you get your skin back under control. Lack of hydration is the most common mistake when it comes to maintaining healthy-looking skin. Indeed, when you don’t drink enough water, your skin feels dehydrated which will enhance the fine lines and under eye bags. It doesn’t take much to improve your skin elasticity: As a general rule of the thumb, drinking 8 glasses of water a day can visibly transform your appearance. Naturally, the choice of skin care products is important too. Priming, exfoliating and protecting your skin can preserve its youthful appearance for longer. However, as local applications can’t solve everything, you will need to give your skin the vitamins it needs to remain healthy in the first place. Vitamin A, for instance, which you can find in sweet potatoes, carrots and dairy products, is essential in encouraging skin cell repair. Vitamin C, which is commonly found in citrus fruits but can also come from tomatoes, brussels sprouts and many other greens, is a natural antioxidant that keeps your skin firm and elastic. Vitamin K can help to reduce dark circle and spider veins. And finally, folic acid is indispensable for the creation of new cells.

Vitamin C: Orange juice

Healthy and shiny hair

Everybody wants healthy looking hair. But, more often than not, your hair might need a little boost to grow healthily. If you're struggling to get a head full of shiny and strong hair, you might want to kick hair growth with specialist shampoos: Additionally, it’s essential to support the health of your hair follicles with the right diet. Just like your skin needs vitamin A to encourage repair, your hair needs it for protection. Indeed, vitamin A helps to produce a healthy oily substance, sebum, which keeps your hair from drying out and becoming brittle. However, be careful not to consume too much vitamin A as this might lead to hair loss. Inositol can help to prevent hair loss and is found in beans, citrus fruits and whole grains.

Strong immune system

Ultimately, your appearance can be affected by illnesses. Just as a cold will make your skin look dull, it appears logical that a strong immune system can facilitate your beauty routine. When your body is healthy, you look naturally healthy and beautiful. But the consumption of superfoods can help you to improve your look. Yogurt, for instance, and especially those containing live active cultures can help to keep your gut and intestines free of disease. A daily 7-ounce dose can keep you healthy throughout the winter! Garlic is also extremely helpful in combating infection, making you less likely to catch a cold.

The food for a healthy mind

You may not consider your brain to be part of your beauty routine, but a healthy brain is essential to maintain all vital body functions such as skin repair, hormonal flow and hair growth. Needless to say that fueling your brain with the vitamins it needs is key to maintaining your good looks. Magnesium, for instance, present in spinach and avocados, is used in over 50 processes in the brain. It is connected to energy production, ensuring that you can transform your food into energy without putting on weight. Vitamin D too can affect your ability to maintain your weight.

Eat yourself to peacefulness

You might not think about it, but your ability to relax is closely linked to your appearance. Stress can indeed affect your sleeping and eating patterns, causing transformation in your presentation. While you shouldn’t indulge in comfort food to take the edge off a stressful situation, you need to know that the regular consumption of certain foods can help to reduce your stress levels. According to Bustle, dark chocolate is a great go-to ally when you’re stressed out. Admittedly, you need to keep it in manageable doses, 1.4 ounces per day is enough to do its magic. Yoghurt can help to soothe your gut and ease stomach pains related to anxiety. So that’s an idea for a healthy stress-free snack!

Dark chocolate reduces stress

The food you don’t need in your beauty cabinet

Ultimately the list of what you need in your beauty cabinet is long. But so is the list of what shouldn’t be in your cabinet too! Sugary drinks increase your caloric consumption and can be linked to fatty liver disease, affecting your look and health. Don’t try to compensate with low-fat yoghurts as these don’t contain any healthy bacteria to keep your gut healthy.

Ultimately, you are what you eat. And if you eat healthy food that fuels your body with all the right nutrients, you will find that your beauty routine requires as many skin and hair care products to achieve positive results.

Books I Recommend You Read [February]

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I read some great books during the month of February thanks to the gross weather. Enjoy!

Alone by Brett Archibald
This memoir is about Brett and how he fell over into the ocean off a ship he was on with his friends.  For 28 hours he was stuck in the middle of the ocean and had no clue where he was.  The book is told hour by hour from his point of view and he floated in the open ocean and dealt with many demons both real and imagined.  It also tells the story of what was going on back on land and in the boat when everyone was scrambling to find him.  It's an AMAZING story of survival!

The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani
This is a great thriller about a nanny that seems perfect on the outside but the book follows her as she unravels on the inside.  I love the fast pace and the descriptive text that makes me feel like I'm in the nanny's brain myself.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
This book reminds me of Gone Girl with the twists and thrilling excitement throughout the book.  An abusive man is the reason an ex is trying to save his new fiancée from marrying him and being tormented forever. He is trying to stop her from getting in the way. But there's a REALLY big twist.  

Grist Mill Road by Christopher Yates
This book was awesome! It flashes back and forth between 2008 and 1982.  In 1982 three friends were in the woods when a tragic incident occurred. They have moved on but it's coming back to haunt them and as the story unfolds things are not as they seem.  The person you think originally did the worst thing maybe didn't really do it without being provoked. 

The Days When Birds Come Back by Deborah Reed
This was a story about two people with very tragic and haunting pasts that unfold in the storyline throughout the book.  Their paths cross again even though they don't know who the other is at first.  And it leaves the mystery of if their paths will cross a final time... but you have to read to find out. It's a great mix of tragedy, reality, and love.

Look After Your Parents Health When They No Longer Can

Thursday, February 22, 2018


There may come a time in your life where your parents fall ill, whether that be from a disease like alzheimer's or dementia, or they are no longer able to do things physically because of an accident they may have had. Whatever it may be, you may find yourself in a situation where they can no longer look after themselves, so you're in a position where you have to do it for them instead and become their carer so that you are able to ensure that they are properly looked after. This might mean cooking for them, feeding them, washing them, cleaning the place, and reminding them to take their medication.

This isn't an easy thing though, not only is it demanding, but it can really mess with your emotions. This is because the person that once looked after you when you were young and vulnerable, is now requiring your care. Unfortunately, that is just one of the processes that happen with time and getting older.

So if you find that you are in this scenario with your own parents, whether it be your Mom or Dad, (or both), it is important that you figure out what you're going to do.

There are a few options that you have, so take a look.

Nursing home

A lot of people are put off on the idea of sending their parents to a nursing home as they feel that it's just dumping them into a prison - but this isn't correct. Nursing homes are wonderful places that you can send your loved ones to so you know that they are getting around the clock care that they require, while living in a stunning environment that gives them their own space, and still allows them to hold onto that important pride and responsibility that means so much. There have been stories where people are treated badly, in which case they contact a local lawyer so that all the appropriate actions can be made. But this isn't an often occurrence, and it's down to an individual, rather than an organisation, so this should never worry you. You just need to do the right research before deciding on a place.

Live in carer

There are many agencies that supply highly trained staff who have all the appropriate qualifications to look after someone with various health problems, whether that be their physical or mental health. Essentially they are carers who come into the home and live there so that they are able to provide the assistance they need no matter what time of the day. This tends to be a great option if your parent is very adamant about staying at their own home, rather than having to move. It gives them the chance to keep their environment and comfort, without having to worry about any responsibilities like cleaning and cooking, as they may find those things very hard now they're older - if not impossible. It takes a lot of trust from both you and your parents to allow a stranger into the home, so make sure that they get on with each other and have a connection before you decided on someone.

The Art of Not Getting Taken for a Ride

While you want to go through life thinking that everybody is out to help everybody else, there are always a few bad apples that make the whole bushel look rotten. There will no doubt be some point in your life where you suffer an accident on the road, or perhaps fall victim to a scam. While this is difficult enough to cope with at the time, it can be made even worse if you are not prepared for what could come afterwards.


When battling against fraud, being misled, or merely mistreated, it is essential to know what help is available to you to help you recover any expenses or other factors. Depending on the situation, you might be entitled to compensation from the guilty party that will ease the stress of any misfortune.

Furthermore, victims of this sort of issues can research and work with a consumer protection attorney, who will understand your rights and be able to offer advice on how to proceed. This will give you something to back up your claims should things escalate, and you find yourself going to court to claim what you require.


A lot of the time, any accident or incident no matter where you might be is a lot of He said, she said, and it can be a challenge to discern who is right and who is wrong. Because of this, it is essential that you get whatever happened on record as soon as you can by writing it down and taking witness statements to ensure everything is understood.

Furthermore, knowing what happened will put you in a better place when it comes to discovering who is at fault. It isn’t necessarily getting your story straight as much as it is getting a clear picture of the incident, which will help any law enforcement or other services such as a Lawyer Personal Injury in getting to the bottom of the issue. Not only will your conscience be at peace, but you can also help resolve conflicts quicker without doing too much harm on yourself.


Being involved in a scam or negative situation of any kind can have disastrous effects on the rest of your life. It isn’t merely something like suffering an injury at the supermarket and receiving the proper compensation for treatment, but also the mental aspect of such occurrences.


Our mental health is just as crucial to our well-being as our physical, and so having resources where you can talk with someone, whether it be a friend, relative or professional will ease any stress and anxiety you might be suffering following your incident. Having a sound mind will also help you overcome any hardships brought on by this, and so will allow you to get back into the world without missing a beat.


As much as you want to have faith in the world, there will always be someone out there looking to take advantage of you or your family. Often, this can be hard to spot, but remaining vigilant and noting anything that appears out of the ordinary will help you overcome any issues and avoid getting taken for a ride. Approaching such situations calmly and maturely will only benefit you, and fighting back against any doubt, instead of merely rolling over will put you in a better position when push comes to shove.

Breathe Easy

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Do you have trouble breathing as well as you think you should? Do you wish you could climb that fight of stairs without wheezing? Do you want to be able to blow out those candles on your 80th birthday cake with ease? Here are some simple things you can do to breathe more easily whatever your situation:

Rule Out Sleep Apnea

One thing that can really hamper your ability to breathe easy is sleep apnea - a condition that can cause you to actually stop breathing multiple times a night. If you wake up feeling less refreshed, your spouse has commented that you snore a lot and, especially if you’re also overweight, it is definitely worth having yourself checked out for the condition because it can be treated and your breathing will improve when it is.

Push Yourself Daily

If you start wheezing as you climb the stairs, walk up the hill by you home or even when you’re on flat ground, you need to build up your lung capacity. The Best way to do this is by pushing yourself to do more cardio exercise daily. Start walking up and down the stairs or up nearby hills every day for at least 60 minutes a day ( you can split this into 15-minute blocks) and your lung capacity will improve, especially if you’re suffering from a condition like emphysema.

Eat Your Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation within the body, and since inflammation can play a significant role in conditions like asthma which affect the airways and make it difficult to breathe, they should be a regular part of your diet if you want to breathe easy.

Sort Out Sinitus

If you suffer from chronic sinusitis, chances are you find it much harder to breathe easy than your peers. Luckily, you can get effective treatment for the condition. So, see your doctor, get yourself checked out and if you’re a good candidate for it, get balloon sinuplasty.

Practice Abdomen Breathing

If you take five minutes out of your day to breathe deeply from your abdomen, you will build up your ‘breathing muscle’, and it will be much easier for you to breathe all of the time. What is abdominal breathing? Basically, it’s the process of taking a deep breath through your nose, until your lungs are completely full and your stomach sticks out, the exhaling fully. Repeat as many times as you can, and you will notice the benefits pretty soon.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

Many of the common commercially available cleaning products are filled with toxic chemicals that are bad for your health. If you use them, you will be inhaling things that could make it more difficult for you to breathe, So, start using more natural products like lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda for your cleaning needs.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

If you get lots of vitamins and minerals inside you, especially beta-carotene, vitamins E and C and selenium, your lungs will function better, and you will breathe easy.

Now, take a deep breath!

Pixie's Becoming A Therapy Dog!

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I am so excited to share some exciting news with you - Pixie is becoming a therapy dog with KPETS - a local organization! !! Now before you ask what that is exactly, let me explain. 

First off, a therapy dog is NOT a service dog. A service dog can go anywhere with the owner because they provide a crucial service to the human they serve.  An example of a service dog is a seeing eye dog.  A service dog should never be interrupted or petted when out and about because he is working.  A therapy dog on the other hand only goes where they are invited, usually through a therapy dog program.  A therapy dog can always be petted when they are out and about because that is their job - to provide therapy!  Therapy dogs go to schools, libraries, events, nursing homes, and hospitals.  They interact with people and bring positive energy wherever they go.

For those of you who have met Pixie in person you know that she loves humans.  No matter what size, shape, age, gender, or color you are, Pixie will fall in love with you. So lately I've been thinking what can I do for Pixie that will bring happiness to her life (aside from being super spoiled of course) and then I saw a Facebook post by a friend talking about enrolling her dog as a therapy dog. 

It made me remember a time when my Grandma was living at an independent living community and I brought Pixie in the one day to visit her.  She made me show Pixie to some of the other residents and they got a kick out of how tiny she was.  She was so happy to meet them and I remember how happy the residents looked and how excited Pixie was.  So either way it's a win-win.  I began to pursue signing Pixie up. 
Posing quickly while on the way out, after passing the group evaluation!

I had to attend an orientation to learn more about the program and what is expected.  Then I had to take Pixie to a group evaluation where they deem you "Ready" or "Not Ready" for the program based on how much control you have over your pet and your interactions with your pet and how they handle people.  So the evaluation was in a nursing home and let me just say that Pixie made many friends. 

Pixie did so good, with a little help from Earthborn Holistic EarthBites Chicken Treats from Chewy of course! I actually didn't need to use them most of the time because she was so well behaved.  When training or preparing your dog for something like this remember that it's important to choose a healthy treat.  Earthborn Holistic EarthBites are rich in antioxidants and contain veggies, fruit, and Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit Pixie's skin, hair, and immune functions.  There's no grains or gluten and these treats are a fantastic training aid.  They are the perfect size!

I was so nervous going into it and I have no idea why. I think it was fear of the unknown.  I had no idea how the process would work so I didn't have any idea to run through in my head.  Pixie will attend 2 visits in front of evaluators and when given the OK, her paperwork will be sent in and we will get her badge and supplies and we can start signing up for visits.  I am so excited for her!

If you have a dog that just LOVES people like Pixie does, consider signing them up to be a therapy dog.  Just look online for pet therapy programs in your area.

There are so many opportunities for therapy dogs to help people.  Some dogs are used to keep children calm in traumatic scenarios like testifying in court and some are great at rehab facilities to make recovering addicts feel better.  Some dogs are perfect for making weekly visits to nursing homes and some dogs are great company for hospital patients that are in pain or enduring treatments.