Hello and welcome to my design thoughts.

With thousands of websites, articles, newsletters and blogs on interior design, is it any wonder home design is confusing? As an artist and designer, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of fabulous information available for the curious and motivated homeowner. And Free to boot!

Keeping it simple is a little more difficult. I have visited many "designers" client homes, just to see the designers particular brand or style stamped all over the place. How do we keep our homes in the realm of our own personalities?

When you are searching for a design and or designer, first look at their product. Talk to past clients. Visualize the designers work in your private space. Does it work? Or could you have done a better job on your own and a whole lot less expensive?

I have designed many different styles. Each as individual as the client themselves. How is this done? First, you have to do the homework. A client who states: Do whatever you like, I trust you and I will be back from Bermuda in six weeks "might be a client I may choose to steer clear of.

I will not brand my personal style on a clients home. Your home should and must reflect your personality and uniqueness. With excitement and motivation, create something totally yours, you can learn how to build a really stunning environment all your own.

Magazines, websites other design information can be your very best friend. You have done it before, I just can see both of us searching magazines, ripping out the cool stuff and making piles … This is your start to discovering your personal style.

Build a book on these pictures. Study each picture. Circle the idea or picture which done your eye. Put you piles of pictures in categories. Ie living, bath, family, kitchen. Then go back and cull out the pictures which may not be as appealing. Only keep the very best. You will ever discover what you love, whether in color, shape, size or style name. My personal style is called European Recycled … No joke.

Keep your first trial and run simple. Paint is the least expensive re-do and has an amazing impact. A fresh coat of paint is magic. Interior design can be a simple act of re-arranging or de-cluttering.

Find your magic. Love where you live. Make it a peaceful and creative environment all your own.

SK Sartell …

Breast Cancer, to be informed that you have such a serious disease has to be a life altering point in a woman's life. No one can ever prepare themselves to receive bad news of that caliber. Even with the advances in treatment, support systems, and recovery statistics, fear of the unknown is omnipresent. Fear of the side effects of radiation therapy and chemo therapy can cause the stress level to increase substantially. It's a natural response to a serious situation

Extensive research has revealed the various ways people respond to their cancer has a direct impact on the course and intensity of the disease. Additional research has proven that intense negative emotions over time can impede the body's ability to combat the disease.

One thing we must be aware of, however, is short term stress can actually be a good thing because it stimulates the fight or flight response. Oftentimes the jolt of a serious diagnosis spurs some people to take a proactive attitude towards the new and challenging situation. This positive attitude frequently gives them the energy to do whatever it takes to defeat this cancerous foe.

We should also be aware of the consequences of a negative attitude. If one becomes consumed with fear, negative thoughts and attitudes, the results will be an immune system that is less efficient and vulnerable to an attack by an aggressive cancer. Doctors who practice a holistic approach to breast cancer agree that the mind-body approach like meditation, yoga, and Qi Gong can relax the mind, reduce stress, and make it easier for the patient to cope with the magnitude of the issues at hand.

Chemicals produced from long term stress shorten the telomeres found on the tips of the chromosomes. Telomeres are the end-caps that prevent our DNA from unraveling, thus preserving its strength and preventing damage that can extremely lead to chronic disease. Cells with shortened telomeres have a tendency to age prematurely. This premature aging process poses a potential risk for the development of new cancers. Stress, a pessimistic attitude, negative thoughts, and a negative attitude can affect your immune system by seriously damaging and often destroying critical immune cells. This, believe it or not, can result in the cancer intensifying. Some research strongly reports a cancer risk increases in women who experience long periods of stress.

Stress reduction is of primary importance in the fight against cancer. A good way to fight depression, fear, anxiety, and other stressful states of mind is by practicing meditation on a regular basis. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to sit quietly, focusing on deep slow breathing to decrease the intensity of your stress related hormones. Numerous studies have shown that meditation can significantly stimulate immune function, reduce pain, and improve ones quality of life.

There are additional mental-physical methods of reducing stress and improving immune function. They are called moving meditation because they combine deep mental concentration with slow methodical movement. Examples of moving meditation are Tai …

Even though life brings quandaries in our lives that rock the very core of our being (foundation); God's Word can keep us anchored. In Luke 6: 46-49, God teachers us the principle upon which we should build our lives. These verses tell us that the man who hears the Word and does not follow it is like the man who built his house on the sand. When the storms came and the waters began to beat, it immediately fell and washed out to sea. However, the man who built his house on a foundation of rock was left unshaken when the floodwaters rose and began to beat vehemently upon the house. I compare our physical bodies to the houses described in these scripts. We must build strong minds and bodies so we are better equipped to deal with the raging storms of life, such as a stressful job, the death of a family member, or an unwanted break up. The pain of these experiences is often so raw and disheartening that we are left feeling helpless, hopeless, and undisciplined.

The manner in which we conduct ourselves while in the midst of a storm is the true test of the strength of our foundation. Therefore, we should continue to pray and study the Word of God, in addition to eating nutritious meals and exercising regularly.

There is a wealth of data available that substantiate the benefits of healthy eating habits and physical activity. Yet, statistics reveal that African Americans are more overweight than ever before. As a result, Americans are battling obesity related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It is never too late to make small changes in your life that will result in huge physical benefits. But, is not it interesting how we sometimes allow uncomparable life circumstances to turn us into an unconscious, unfit state of being? Do you think God is pleased with us when we fail to honor him in the very times we need him the most? So, if we know better why do we continue to build our physical foundations on sand? …

Being a landlord is not always easy. Renting out a property comes with its difficulties, and this can affect the smooth management of your asset. If you do not screen your tenants well you may experience rent collection issues which directly impacts your revenue. Tenants might damage the property and refuse to foot the repair costs when necessary. If you appoint a property manager without conducting appropriate due diligence, you may end up losing value on your investment due to their slack performance. Lack of regular inspections might cause small damages to grow into significant problems that cost you dearly. Here are a few tips to help you ease your journey as you start your life as a landlord.

Property Visits and Floor Plans

Visiting your Rental property is essential to keep it in excellent condition. When a new tenant moves, in you need to visit the property on moving day to ensure it goes smoothly. You should also schedule regular visits to check on the condition of the property in regards to cleanliness and safety. Be on the lookout for damage to the property during such visits to effect proper maintenance. Anything that you note during these visits warranting further scrutiny calls for your extra time and attention.

Note down any specific items that you need to document including taking photos or videos when necessary. You should keep a log of all these particulars for future reference. These particulars and more will go towards informing your floor plan of the property. It is necessary to create one as it is the best way to display the configuration of your property to any tenant (both current and potential). When advertising your property, a floor plan will help you screen inquiries to get better prospects. You will save time and costs related to tenant vetting and interviews.

Maintenance and Gas Certificates

Keeping your property in excellent occupational shape is necessary for you as a landlord. Regular inspections will ensure that you are on top of the different aspects of your property that call for maintenance from time to time. When inspecting check the roof for any loose or missing shingles, mold, piled up debris, etc. to prevent moisture collection in the roof which can lead to hefty repair costs down the road.

Check the gutters to find out if they are draining the water as required. Confirm that the downspouts are carrying the water away from the foundation to prevent cracks from forming in it. Assess the state of the windows frames for any cracks. Inspect the siding to check on its paint. Any peeling or blistering near the roof on the siding indicates a ventilation or moisture issue that you need to resolve.

Make sure the HVAC system is functioning properly and that your gas certificates are up to code. While having your gas certificates renewed annually is a legal requirement, it will protect both the tenant and you in case of any issues down the road. Remember to confirm …

Everyone is certainly going to get excited when trying to adopt a dog. Truly a man's best friend, you can rely on your pet dog in giving you company, cuddling up together and some can even guard your house. You need to review your personal lifestyle and needs when adopting a dog. It is a major decision whether or not you would choose to have a puppy or an adult as a pet. Before deciding on which dog to adopt, here is some useful information that might help you decide.

On Puppies

* Bringing up a puppy is an advantage because this means that you would guide its growth and well being. You would have the chance to raise it up according to what you want. This means you can ensure that it is properly nurtured with the right dog food, ensuring that necessary dog ​​shots are given and prevent heartworm at this early stage. Having your puppy personally trained is also a plus since you can teach him exactly what you want.

* You should adopt a puppy when it is at least 10 weeks old. Puppies need a lot of time to be cared for by their mothers. This is a crucial stage for them. They somehow gain a psychological advantage for both puppy and for the mother dog as well.

* A puppy can easily adjust to new surroundings as compared to an adult dog. Although most puppies may cause minimal to major damage to your personal stuff while they are in the stage of teething. They need to be housebroken and house training needs a lot of time, effort and patience from the owner.

* There is no assurance of what a puppy would look like when it gets old; Especially if it is a mixed breed. Also, his temperament may change when he grows up.

* Most pet owners love how puppies can be entertaining. They are very cute and adorable pets that is a hit for both children and grown ups. Puppies can be easily considered as one of the family.

On adult dog

* You would have less of a fuss taking care of an adult dog. They already have this established behavior that you can easily adopt too. By being with the dog more often, you would have more or less an idea of ​​what its temperament is.

* You need to get as much information that you can when adopting an adult dog. Take note of its habits and mood swings. You can acquire information from the previous owners of the dog. Some adult dogs may have some behavior issues. It is important to take note of them.

* It may take some time and effort for an adult dog to be completely comfortable with a new owner.

* Take note that you need to introduce an adult dog to your children and other household members. This would help the dog be familiar with them and helps them refrain from biting …

If you do not have coverage for the fair or full value of the owned property, you will not be able to get financial help from mortgage companies. A few tips can make your home insurance meet your needs:

Homeowners’ insurance isn’t cheap. People living in areas more prone to earthquakes, floods or high claim areas pay the highest coverage. Sometimes, high-risk residents are asked to pay thousands of dollars as annual premiums. However, this does not means that homeowners of secluded, suburban areas can buy a cheap policy. The basic policy for relatively out-of-the-way areas lies between 100-500 US dollars.

Many people restrain from purchasing homeowner’s insurance because of the expenses involved in it. Homeowner’s insurance is not a choice that you can make. It is absolutely necessary and you should not refrain from buying it. The best thing about this is that you can cut down its cost by following some steps.

1) You Security Alarm Helps Cut Down Premium Costs: By installing a burglar alarm in your house and connecting it with a police station can help you cut down your premium costs up to 5 percent. However, in order to avail this benefit, you will have to show the insurance company the contract paper. Smoke alarms can also make things easy for you. Usually, a smoke alarm is installed in all newly built houses but if you set a smoke alarm in an old house, you can save more than 8 percent on your premium amount. Keeping you away from fire is another benefit that they give. So get the alarms for your safety and cut down your insurance cost.

2) Increase Deductible To Decrease Premium: Just like any other kind of insurance, if you choose a higher deductible for your homeowner insurance, you will have to pay lesser premium. This is another simple and easy way to keep away from paying higher premiums.

3) Buy From the Same Insurance Company: Instead of buying your auto and health insurance policies from other companies, consider purchasing them from the same company where you have bought your homeowner policy. There are a lot of companies that allow a discount up to 10 percent to all their customers who buy multiple policies from them. In this way, you can save on two or more premiums and control your expenses considerably. Moreover, you will stay away from the hassle of contacting different companies in case of any incident.

4) Pay Back Your Mortgage Loans: People who repay their debts to mortgage companies have to pay smaller premiums. You may wonder why it’s so. The answer is downright simple. The owner who manages to pay back his loans to take possession of his homes is also capable of taking care of his home. Once you satisfy Mortgage Company, the insurance company will satisfy you.

End Note

In order to keep yourself away from any kind of trouble and to receive your insurance money in time, make sure that you have everything …

Bottled drinking water is pure, right? Not necessarily. Bottled water can be less pure than municipal tap water in some parts of the United States. In fact, bottled water can actually be municipal tap water. Two examples are Coca Cola’s Dasani brand and Pepsi Cola’s Aquafina brand.

What is bottled water?

“Description. Bottled water is water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients except that it may optionally contain safe and suitable antimicrobial agents. Fluoride may be optionally added within the limitations established.” The United States FDA

Who regulates what bottled water has in it?

The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled drinking water, which is classified as a “food”. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water. Amazingly, the EPA guidelines for municipal water are stricter than the FDA restrictions for bottled drinking water! You might buy bottled drinking water that is acceptable to the FDA but is not acceptable for use as ordinary bathroom tap water.

The FDA’s specific regulations for bottled water are found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).

What are FDA standards?

Under the standard of quality (21 CFR, 165.110[b]), FDA allows certain levels of contaminants in bottled water.

Contaminants bottled water has in it.

1. Coliform. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria, such as E. coli, that are normally present in the human intestine. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 9.2 coliform organisms per 100 milliliters. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

2. Arsenic. Arsenic is a poison. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 0.05 milligrams per liter of arsenic. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

3. Chloride. Chloride is a compound of chlorine, a substance used to disinfect tap water. The FDA allows up to 250.0 milligrams per liter of chloride in bottled water. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

4. Iron. Iron is a metallic element. Your body needs some iron, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 0.3 milligrams per liter of iron. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

5. Manganese. Manganese resembles iron and is used in fertilizers. Bottled water may contain up to 0.05 milligrams per liter of manganese. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

6. Phenols. Phenols are corrosive, poisonous acidic compounds. Your bottled water may contain up to 0.001 milligrams per liter of phenols. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

7. Dissolved solids. “Dissolved solids” is a catch-all phrase. The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 500 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, of whatever type. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

8. Zinc. Zinc is a metallic element. Your body needs some zinc, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 5.0 milligrams per liter of zinc. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].

9. Fluoride. Fluoride is purposely added to some bottled water. If so, the label should say so. In addition, bottled water that is not labeled as containing fluoride may contain up …

Free will can carry us far but not infinitely beyond our genetic limits. We can stretch ourselves like a rubber band can stretch, but only so much. It's like Stephen King is never going to be Stephen Colbert, no matter how much he polishes his comic delivery, and Stephen Colbert can never be Stephen King, no matter how much time he spends alone writing. A person's preference for stimulating turns out to be a specific character, and once you realize your own preferences, you can begin to intentionally situate yourself in environments favorable to your own temperament-yet over-stimulating nor under-stimulating, either boring nor stressful. By attaching to the range of preferences in your and your family's life, you can tap into increased energy and satisfaction.

Even though people can push to the outer limits of their temperament, it's often better to situ ourselves squarely inside our own unique sweet spot. Too much stimulation produces a sense of being unable to think straight, it makes people tongue-tied, and it's the feeling when you've had enough and want to go home. Not enough stimulation is something like cabin fever: you feel idgy, restless, sluggish, like not enough is happening and it's time to get out of the house.

It's overly simplistic to say that we should always seek moderate levels of stimulation. After all, excited fans at a soccer game crave more stimulation, while people who visit spas for relaxation seek low levels, and confusingly, high stimulation levels measured in the brain do not always correlate with how we feel. Also there are many different kinds of stimulation: loud music is not the same as mortar fire, which is not the same as presiding over a meeting. Furthermore, you may be more sensitive to one form of stimulation than another, and some of us seem to enjoy more stimulation than others.

We naturally seek our own sweet spot of optimal stimulation, and we do it without much awareness. It's a dynamic process. Imagine sitting contentedly under a grape arbor reading a fantastic novel. This is a sweet spot, but after half an hour, you realize that you've read the same sentence five times. Now you're under stimulated, so you call a friend to go for coffee. In other words, you ratchet up your stimulation level. As you laugh and talk, you're back, thank goodness, inside your sweet spot. However this agreeable state lasts only until your friend (who needs more stimulation than you) persuades you to accompany her to a party, where you're confronted by loud music, plates of food, alcohol, and a room full of strangers. The people seem affable enough, but you feel pressured to make small talk above the din of music. Now-bam, just like that-you've moved away from your sweet spot, except this time you're overstimulated.

The recognition of the role stimulation plays in your own actions and emotions is a powerful tool, and now you'll be much better at understanding the dynamics between too much and too …

Know what visual conspicuity is?

Not many people do.

But it’s a term you should know if you create signs.

Conspicuity is the capacity of your sign to stand out. Put another way, it’s the capacity of your sign to be discovered by the eye.

Mostly subjective, conspicuity depends a lot on things like personal opinions, interpretations, emotions, and individual judgment.

Conspicuity is why some people notice your sign immediately and others walk by it without ever seeing it. No sign has 100% conspicuity with an audience.

Signs with conspicuity make an impact-no matter the size or purpose. Conspicuity is a critical design element to keep in mind when creating and placing a sign.

Types of Conspicuity

You need to consider two types of conspicuity when designing a sign: search conspicuity and attention conspicuity.

Search conspicuity depends on whether a person is looking for something specific, like a type of business or a house.

Someone walking pass a car dealership is more likely to notice signs in a car lot on her way to work than someone who’s not interested in buying a car.

Attention conspicuity has to do with a sign’s ability to attract attention as someone passes by-even when not looking for something specific.

Effective signage captures the attention of people-whether on foot or driving-when not looking for something specific at the moment.

Tips On Creating Conspicuity

Many consider attention conspicuity the more important type of conspicuity. Below are some tips on how to create attention conspicuity in your signs:

  • Use full color graphics. They have the highest awareness of all sign categories.
  • Use contrast. It creates visibility. Using light colored letters on a dark background, for example, makes lettering appear larger.
  • Choose a sign design that enhances individual letters. Using black letters on a yellow background or yellow letters on a black background makes your sign easy to read at a distance.
  • Make sure your sign is the right height. Use 1 inch of letter height for every 25 feet of distance.
  • Visual aesthetics are critical when creating signs. Font, color, graphics-all affect readability AND conspicuity.

Keep visual conspicuity in mind when developing signs and you’ll create signs that will make your audience sit up and take notice-even at night. It’s advised to choose best companies of your area to make a good signage for your business, that will help your business to grow high in your market with good visualized signage.…

Learning how to build a garage is not as daunting as one would expect, well, for detached structures at least. Homeowners who build their own garage can save thousands over hiring a builder who, in many cases, will subcontract to the same construction crews that you can hire. Or if feeling adventurous, or just downright thrifty, one can invite friends over for a few beers over the weekend and put them to work.

There are many items to consider while in the early planning stage such as:

Garage size: One car, two car, or even a three car garages can be designed with various sizes, but the lot and homeowner’s budget are generally the limiting factors. Local building codes vary, but typically a structure must not encroach within eight feet of property lines in rural areas and from zero to four feet in city limits. Detached garages must also be set back from other buildings by a minimum of eight feet, but this must be confirmed with local building offices as bodes vary. One important consideration is roof overhang. Eave and gable end overhangs are typically 12″ – 24″ (although less than 12″ is common in windy areas) and must be considered when determining building size and placement.

One method of determining the perfect size is to add 12′ to 15′ of width for each vehicle. If planning to use the interior walls on the sides for storage this will require another two feet of width per side. The length should be a minimum of 22′ and add four to ten feet for a work bench and storage. A two car garage could be calculated as 2 x 12′ +4′ for storage along each wall = 28′ x 22′ long without a work bench. Common sizes include:

1. One car: Common garage sizes include 12′ x 24′, 14′ x 24′, and 16′ x 24′. A length of twenty four feet is pretty much the minimum if you have a full size truck and even with a small or mid-size car there will be little wiggle room at twenty or twenty two feet.

2. Two car: The most common garage size in many states and provinces is 24′ x 24′ because many building codes required an engineered drawing and two inspections by a structural engineer for concrete floating slabs (monolithic) larger than this size. If space is scarce and the two cars are small to mid-size a 20′ wide may adequate, but certainly not comfortable.

3. Three car: There are many three car garage sizes due to more room for numerous designs and homeowners often have larger budgets when considering these larger construction projects. Common sizes are 36′ – 42′ wide by 26′ – 30′ long.

Foundation: floating slab (monolithic) and slab with frostwall are the two most common foundation options. The floating slab is less expensive and easier to build, but often require an engineered drawing and two inspections for larger concrete slabs (i.e. 24′ x 24′). In cold weather …