5 Tips For Going To America

If there is one thing people love most about crossing the Atlantic and visiting the states is that it’s all about chance and being able to take part in new experiences. The country’s spirit is reflected in America’s bold outlook and ever evolving nature. From the stoic skyscrapers of New York to the beautiful rolling hills of California, America is such a fantastic place to get acquainted with another part of yourself and try things that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Brits in particular are fascinated with America’s youth in comparison to that of Europe – America has only been alive for a few centuries, whereas Europe has a history that can be traced back thousands upon thousands of years. If you are looking to travel to America this year, here are a few tips to get you by, regardless of when or where you go…

ESTA

Before you book your trip, it is very important to apply for an ESTA, as the UK is part of the Visa Waiver Programme that means that those countries part of the programme are able to apply for a piece of documentation called an ESTA rather than have to apply for a full blown visa. An ESTA grants you entry into the states and was introduced shortly after the Twin Towers attack in 2001. It essentially runs a background check and ensures that you are safe to enter the US. Without an ESTA you will not be allowed entry into America, so it is imperative that you apply for one by visiting this website: https://www.esta-visa.org.uk/.

Sales Tax

When shopping in America, it is important to remember that when looking at the price of something, the price is not what you will pay as the sales tax that most states have is not included on the sticker or label. The actual cost of the item that includes tax will be determined at the checkout which is certainly something to keep in mind when you are only carrying certain amount of money with you or are budget conscious. And no, there is no tax refund like the VAT that is possible in other parts of the world, although if you are shipping back to the UK you may not have to pay tax.

Medical Insurance

Be sure to purchase substantial medical insurance before you go to America as it can be hard for many Brits to realise just how expensive medical treatment can be in America. A broken leg can set you back $9,500! Also bear in mind that you will have to pay first and then apply for reimbursement when you return to the UK, so you should have access to funds.

Tips

Tipping is common courtesy in the US and since Brits are notoriously tight tippers, it will be helpful to remember that tipping is commonplace in America and comes in at about 15-20 per cent of the service you receive.

Interaction

Go easy on the swearing when you are visiting America as most American’s don’t swear a lot, particularly in the South where they might apologise for saying ‘damn’! Similarly, while it can be interesting, don’t start a discussion on politics, religion, guns, obesity or war.

How to Save Money on Your Water Bill

As the summer months approach, unless your climate area is fortunate enough to rain in the morning every day, giving your grass the needed watering per day, there is no way around running the sprinklers.  While this can inflate your water bill to maybe even double the amount, now would be a good time to evaluate how much water you are using on a daily basis and try and make the necessary cuts.  Like anything else, saving a little a day will add up over the course of the week, a month, let alone your quarterly water bill.  Here are a few quick tips to help jump start the summer months with a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Stop Leaving the Water On

What may be common sense, the longer the water is running, the more money is racking up on your water bill, but you would be surprised how much you are actually wasting.  Do you run the water the entire time you brush your teeth?  You probably do, and besides rinsing your tooth brush and mouth out is really only time the water needs to be running, so most of that is waste.  Same idea goes with hand washing dishes.  When it comes to washing, as nice as it is to stand there and enjoy a nice long hot shower, you should limit the number of times you actually do that and stick to just getting in, cleaning, and getting out, limiting to under 10 minutes.

Get a Rain Barrel

Sure that may sound like a hipster thing to do, but a rain barrel is actually a smart way to catch the rain water to use for watering flowers or gardens, without inflating your water bill and reducing the amount the drainage into the sewers.  Especially in April and May when it seems like it rains most of the week, will be a good time to capture rain water to last you most of the summer.  Try it, you will like it.

Run Only When Full

Running only when you have full loads of dishes and laundry will reduce the number of gallons, and dollars, spent.  Sure you can adjust the size of the wash load for your clothes, but it still takes plenty of gallons to wash and rinse so unless you really need that one item, wait until the laundry basket is full.

I know that saving money on a water bill sounds like a trivial amount of money in the grand scheme of things. However, if you start thinking small, it can lead to substantial savings. First it’s the water bill, then it’s the electric, and eventually the heating bill. If you continue to make efforts to save money across the board it will eventually add up to a sizable chunk of money that can in turn lead to an extra vacation a year, or even investing for your future. I would take every dollar you could and invest for a secure retirement one day.

Shopping Online in Canada

Online shopping is not a new notion, nor is it merely an option for cheapskates anymore, especially in this century. However, though many people shop online, not many know what online shopping is or what the proper definition for it is. Simply put, online shopping is the process where a person directly buys goods/services over the internet. Therefore, regardless of what you buy or where you have bought it, provided you have done so over the internet, you have done what is referred to as online shopping. It is a form of Electronic Commerce where a business can sell to a consumer (Business –to-Consumer) or where a business buys from another business (Business-to-Business).

The one thing that is absolutely true is that for you to be successful while shopping online is that you need to know or have specific places where you do your shopping from. The fact that almost every one today is doing their shopping online mans that the business has gotten so many people involved in it, some of whom are not so genuine. Therefore, for you to ensure that you get the best services, you also need to ensure that you deal with the right merchants. There are a number of top Canada online shopping sites that you can deal with, but there are certain things that you should look out for in a good merchant. One of these is discount shopping sites or coupon sites Canada. This is because such sites will help ensure that you get the best products at prices that you can afford. The reason why most of us prefer to shop online is because of the reduced costs, so the lower the cost, the better the site, provided the products that are being offered are of the right quality.

Something else that you should watch out for are online businesses that accepts credit cards. Many people today do not carry cash; statistics indicate that on average a person carries at least four credit cards thus indicating that most consumers prefer paying by credit card. On addition, many businesses for accountability purposes prefer to pay with credit cards. With such a business, all you will have to do is have your credit card details on hand, know what you want to purchase and you will be good to go. However, you should also ensure that the site to which you are providing your details is one that you can trust to keep your details safe and one which will not share them unnecessarily.

The major aim of online shopping is to offer consumers a faster and more effective shopping experience thus emphasizing the importance of shopping sites online in Canada. With online shopping, you get everything you need without having to go through so much trouble.

Windows 10 Universal Apps – Why are They Important

Microsoft has deployed its first batch of the Windows 10 on PCs, as a first step toward going universal – running the same OS and the same apps across all of its devices. The new OS is all shiny and fancy, as you might have expected, but it doesn’t change the user interface in any radical way, like Windows 8 did, but instead returned to the desktop and UI familiar to us all. I’d even go so far as to say that switching from Windows 7 to Windows 10 will be easier than from XP to 7. Some who have made the move say that the two versions of the OS are too similar to be true.

Perhaps the most important news about Windows 10 is its introduction of a new concept, the Universal App. I find the choice of the name a bit off, though – for an app to be truly Universal, it should run not just on all editions of Windows 10, but on previous versions of Windows as well. But hey, it was them, not me, who gave the apps this deceptive name. But back on track: Universal Apps will run on all editions of Windows 10, from the one powering the Xbox One consoles to the one running on phones and tablets. And this is a more important thing than you might think at the first sight.

First of all, let’s count: you can deploy your apps on an increasing number of desktop devices quickly. Last week the number of PCs running Windows 10 has grown over 25 million worldwide, not counting the pirated copies of the OS (which is already spreading, mind you). And if you take a loot at the Windows Store (the new one, under development), you will see the importance of the new kinds of apps for the future.

1. CPU support

The new apps will run on all platforms. Desktop and portable computers are using x86 and x64 processors, while mobile devices like tablets and smartphones are powered by CPUs based on the ARM architecture. The Xbox One console has an x86 CPU, meaning that your apps will run on that, too, and the HoloLens is most likely to be based on one of the above architectures.

2. User interface

With Windows 10 running on a whole range of devices, you won’t have to create a separate app for every platform – you will be able to do all the under the hood works once, and simply create an interface for smartphones, tablets and desktops. This will cut the time needed to deploy an app on various platforms.

3. Re-use code

Microsoft is making it easy for iOS and Android developers to deploy their apps on Windows 10 / Windows Phone through two new SDKs built with this purpose. Developers will be able to use their existing C++/Java/Objective C code to deploy Universal Apps on Microsoft’s platforms, use its services like Cortana, Xbox Live or live tiles.

4. Load websites inside apps

A great innovation, which “marries” the web with apps: developers will be able to access their websites from inside a Universal App, make use of notifications and in-app purchases, and list their apps (websites) in the Microsoft Store.

This will be a great thing for gaming platforms like the Royal Vegas online casino, allowing their users to access their 300+ excellent games directly from their app on desktop, or their over 100 mobile games from their appropriate browser-based platform. Besides, users will get notified of their daily specials and promotions just like they were software updates or incoming messages. And the Royal Vegas Casino has a lot to inform its players about. Its game library – currently having over 700 titles in its downloadable suite – is growing by at least one, but usually two or three new titles each month. Besides, the Royal Vegas offers some of the most interesting – and mouthwatering – promotions each month, offering its players the chance not just to win serious amounts of cash, but also real life prizes. One of their biggest was a 7 day Caribbean cruise for two, a promotion that returns year after year. Not to mention the special offers for existing players, that puts free cash in their pockets, and the tournaments in which they can enroll in to win even more prizes at the end of the day.

It is in Microsoft’s best interest to get more developers to deploy their content on their new platform. Through Universal Apps, mobile-first developers will have a quick and easy way to deploy their mobile apps on millions of desktops, no matter on which mobile OS it was originally built for. We will likely see previously iOS exclusive apps appearing on Windows 10 powered desktops, and Android-first releases making it on Windows 10 desktops before iOS. Which is a good thing – diversity is always a good thing. While Windows Phone might have a very small market share at this time – only under 3% of the smartphones are powered by this OS – if you also count all the desktops running Windows 10, it will be much more profitable to build Universal Apps, conquering new devices all over the world.

Quick Tips to Green Up Your Life

Whether or not you believe in the science of climate change you can probably agree that we, as a species, need to do more to respect our planet and lead more sustainable lifestyles. After all, we only get this one planet. And, as much as we all love Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek, we’re still very far away from being able to explore the universe the way humans in science fiction do.

So where do you start? How do you live a more sustainable lifestyle? Here are some tips to help you do exactly that.

Cut Back on Fossil Fuels

Nobody–at least, nobody in this article–is going to tell you to stop using fossil fuels altogether. That would be crazy! Very few people can afford to take themselves entirely off the grid. Instead, we’re just going to tell you to reduce your dependency on them.

For example, if you live in a deregulated energy market you could switch to a power provider that uses renewable resources. You can track them down through a local energy comparison website.

If your local energy market is regulated, don’t worry! Most energy providers now have an opt-in system where customers can choose to pay a slightly higher price to have their power delivered from renewable sources instead of standard fossil fuels. Opt in! The rate hike is relatively small.

Beyond this, start using your body instead of your car! Walk to places within a mile of your house. Use transit if your city has it or a bike for places that are further away. Save your car for when you need to haul large quantities of things from one place to another.

Recycle

Most of us know that we should be recycling our cans and our bottles. Those are not the only recyclable materials out there! In fact, most things you buy these days are able to be recycled. If you’re not sure what should go in the recycling bin, call your local recycling center and ask for a list. Your city will also likely provide a list of what they’ll pick up for you.

Beyond the basics of sending recyclable plastics out to a center, look for ways to recycle goods within your own home. Most people are already in the habit of the plastic tubs and jars in which food is packaged. Look around for other ways to recycle. For instance, that sock that has a hole in it? If you don’t know how to darn it up, turn the sock into a dust rag! Old shirts can be cut up into rags as well. There are lots of ways to reuse and recycle household goods.

Reduce

Reduce the amount of waste you produce. If you’re looking for ways to recycle within your home you’re already halfway to this goal, the primary aim of which is to reduce our dependencies on landfills. One of the best ways to do this is to start composting. Tossing your organic produce onto a compost pile drastically reduces the amount of trash you throw out every week. If you live in an apartment, you can start a small worm bin or you can donate your compostable items to a local composter.

With the exception of food, you can buy pretty much everything you need secondhand (though we don’t recommend going this route with mattresses or upholstered furniture–unless you plan to break them down for other uses). Instead of buying new clothes and furniture, scour thrift shops and the Internet for what you need. You’ll spend way less on secondhand items than you would on brand new and you reduce the amount of waste being produced by your family.

Donate and Give Away

Instead of just chucking your old or broken items into the trash, why not donate them to charity or give them away to people who need them? There are ways to donate almost everything you own, from old computers to furniture. Even broken down toys and furniture can be stripped for parts by someone. Check around your local metro area for rebuilding shops like this one in Portland and send your stuff there instead of throwing it away.

These hints likely all seem really basic but trust us: basics are the best place to start. Once you’ve gotten used to reducing and recycling, you can move on to the bigger things like harvesting rainwater, installing solar panels, etc.

How to Adjust a Door Hinge in the Kitchen?

Adjusting a door hinge in your kitchen cabinet is such an easy thing to do once you understand what each alignment screw stands for. Any door hanging, gap between doors and their bases or sideways alignment issues can be easily solved once you understand your hinge.

Most kitchen cabinets will have European style hinges (also known as Blum hinges). After a few thousand open-close cycles, they may get a bit loosened that cabinet door alignment issues crop up. Doors can lose alignment vertically, horizontally, or depth-wise. Fortunately, the adjustment screws can take care of alignment issues in all three directions.

How to Adjust a Kitchen cabinet Door?

It is very easy if you just take a look at the picture above (Click here for an enlarged picture).

The Euro-style hinges have two parts – One part on the cabinet base (Base) and the other on the cabinet door (Door). The alignment or adjustment will be always done on the cabinet base part alone.

On the cabinet base part, there are four screws of our interest as marked (H, D and S) in the picture. You can adjust the height, depth or sideways alignment using a Phillips screwdriver (or sometimes known as a Star screwdriver) on these screws.

Height adjustment

For height adjustment, you need to work with the two screws marked as ‘H’. You have to slowly unscrew (anti-clockwise) these two screws for no more than one or two turns to loosen the door hinge a bit. Please note that usually doors will have two such hinges and to adjust the height you have to loosen the same screws on other hinges as well. Do not unscrew it completely or else the door might get detached completely which makes things difficult if you are alone. Usually, one or one and half turns anti-clockwise is good enough to adjust the height.

After unscrewing, raise or lower the cabinet door to the correct height and re-tighten the screws to secure the door. If you are in doubt as how much to raise or lower, you may mark the upper and lower edges of the hinge with a pencil before unscrewing to get an idea on how much to move.

Depth adjustment

Use the screw marked ‘D’ to adjust the depth of the door. This helps in getting your door’s face to be in line with the other cabinet doors nearby or close any space between the door and the cabinet base. To adjust the depth, loosen this screw and push or pull the door to the right level and then re-tighten the screw.

Side to side adjustment

To fix the sideways alignment issues, Turn the screw marked ‘S’ clockwise to move the door to the right. To move the door to the left, just turn the same screw counter-clockwise. Please note that we are talking about doors with hinges on the right side here.

If the hinges are on the left side, you need to just change the direction. i.e. To move to right turn counter-clockwise and to move to left, turn clockwise.

I trust that your kitchen cabinet door is in perfect alignment now! As I said before, be gentle and start with half turn or max one turn. Also note that the innermost screw is the depth adjustment one and the outermost one is the side-to-side adjustment screw regardless of whether the hinge is on the left or right.

Personal Hygiene Checklist

Regardless of your age and gender, personal hygiene plays and importance role in everyone’s life from day one till death.

Importance of Personal Hygiene

Hygiene is synonymous to health, immunity and fitness. As the old saying goes, health is wealth and unless hygiene is maintained there is no point in doing any amount of grooming or beauty job.

Maintaining good hygiene boosts your confidence level in public appearances and attracts respect as well.

Your personal hygiene and grooming checklist typically falls into the following categories.

Hand care

Humans use their hands to do most of their jobs and duties and hence it is the most important part to take care of when it comes to hygiene. You have to keep washing your hands with a good quality soap after each task that you do with your hands. In epidemic or flu season or while on travel it is advisable to use an alcohol based sanitizer to keep rubbing your hands with.

Washing hands from time to time is probably the most important aspect of personal hygiene

If you want to avoid falling sick often, hygienic way of hand washing is very important. To wash your hands properly, you have to first wet your hands, apply some liquid soap (or soap cake) – preferably anti-bacterial soap – and rub vigorously on all parts of you hand till above your wrist. You have to rub soap well into your fingers and nails with interlaced fingers and even rub the back of your palms. Keep doing that for 10-15 seconds before washing it off wth a lot of water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Skin care

Skin care is primarily about taking bath preferably twice a day. Those who work or go out regularly need to take bath as they get home afer spending some time outside. While taking bath, you have to make sure that you spend enough time applying soap or gel all over your body and scrub it very well with a scrubber or sponge working from top to bottom by covering your head, neck, torso and limbs. Taking bath in lukewarm water is preferred as it enhances the power of the soap and removes as many germs as possible.

If you are taking tub bath, usage of antibacterial bubble bath products or even adding a few drops of regular antiseptic liquids may help maintain better skin hygiene throughout the day.

It is important to wash your bath towels regularly in hot machine wash setting and equally important is the need to change your clothes daily. In addition, never use your undergarments and socks for more than once.

Romantic Picnic Ideas for Couples

When you hunt for picnic ideas for couples – especially for a romantic time together – you have to keep a few things in mind. Picnic is much more than good picnic food when it comes to couple’s picnic.

The following are some of the things that you have to keep in mind when planning for a picnic with your loved one or partner.

Purpose of the picnic

Picnic is much more than spending time together. A lot of couples make life changing decisions over a picnic. You have to first decide on the occasion (e.g. Valentines day, Her/His Birthday, Anniversary) and what to achieve at the end of the day – it could be probably a good time to propose to her, some time together to sort things out, talking about planning kids and even preparing for that.

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Time and location chosen

If you are looking at a family picnic a lot of people may set off early in the morning to be back before the sun is at its peak. However, when it comes to a romantic picnic for couples, something like a early to mid-evening is probably the best time.

When it comes to the locations, you have to go for a place that doesn’t tire you out. Having chosen the evening time, if you get to go for a picnic near water bodies – where streams or waterfalls are present – would be just out of this world. Picnics are even more exciting when you get to hear the nature’s sounds like chirping of birds and sights such as the beautiful sky or setting sun.

Regardless of the place, make sure that you give utmost priority to the safety of the place chosen and be prepared to hurry back in case of any bad weather, unexpected people, animal threat etc.

Surprises

Picnic can be more romantic and exciting with a few surprised packed in. It could be as simple as her favorite dessert, a bunch or roses, a few candles or something to cherish for life such as proposal ring or even the keys to a new home. More than the dollar value of the gift, the surprise factor is what matters.

Packing some surprises is the key success ingredient of a romantic picnic

Some of the other surprises could be singing a song for her or playing a musical instrument for her that she never knew you were good at.

Picnic Food Ideas for Couples

Wine is probably one of those indispensable things that makes a perfect romantic evening picnic. When you chose food for picnic, cook those things that are delicate and less troublesome for your stomach. Something sensual and delicious add value to the occasion and obviously you have to choose things that don’t get spoiled easily in the picnic basket.

If you are not a good cook, it’s not a bad idea to pack food from a caterer. Also, unlike those whole family picnics, it’s better to avoid cooking and grilling on the picnic spot where you want to spend more time talking to your partner.

How to spend time together?

Do a lot of talking looking into each other’s eyes and listen a lot to your partner as well. Avoid unpleasant topics and things that could end up in arguments. Talking about nature, stars, skies and beauty in general make a picnic more romantic.

Things to avoid include talking over your mobile phones (keep it on mute or shut it off), laptops, playing the radio or even teaming up with friends or other couples that you may accidentally bump into. Sporting activities, puzzles and games are not exactly part of romantic picnics. At the end you have to make sure that you both don’t tire yourself up by overdoing or stretching the picnic.

Needless to say to make the best out of a picnic, the weather and suitable clothes play a major role. Also, the right picnic accessories need to be packed up based on a planning list.

Have a good time together with your partner!


Amazing Picnic Backpack

How do you know if a Guy Likes You?

Well, this is a common question that many women keep asking themselves during their daily interactions with guys – at school or work place, during a dinner or at party, or even while interacting at social network websites such as Facebook. There are a number of ways to read the body language for the signs that a guy likes you.

Just observe a little more next time for the following hints that tells you that he definitely likes you.

  • Body language: He rarely turns his back to you and most of the time he tends to lean towards you and also looks at you a lot
  • Eye contact: He may say or do something funny and everyone around laughs, while his eyes will flicker to see quickly if you laughed too. He will try to establish eye contact with you or make faces if he is a bold and confident guy pitching for your love. Please note that shy guys will make occasional eye contacts with quick look away after each short contacts
  • Male ego plays: Guys feel the need to prove themselves if you talk about another guy in front of them. So, he’ll probably start talking about himself a lot and that is a sign of he’s ready to raise for you
  • Touching: He might put his hand on your arm when he laughs and won’t move his legs if it touches yours accidentally
  • Flirting to grab your attention: Some guys flirt with other girls to get your attention as this gives them a chance to see your reaction, and helps them know if you really do like them or not
  • Impression tactics: Watch for him showing interest in things you like and do either to get into your good books or he truly loves what you say and do
  • Nervousness: Check for signs of nervousness like nervous laughter, deep breaths, fidgeting or looking away quickly when you notice
  • His friends circle: Watch his friends to know if he’s interested in you. They might tease him when you’re around, or even try to find out if you like him. Look out for their reactions when you are around. They may smile and turn to him
  • Teasing: If the guy teases you a lot then he likes you especially if he doesn’t tease any other girl. Please note that flirting with other girls (as mentioned above) has a different meaning
  • Playful behavior: If he touches you by punching playfully, this means he likes you. This usually happens in the advance phase of his liking towards you
  • Compliments: Watch if he comments when you change your hair style or makeup one day. Any hint of appreciation with sparkling or wide eyes is a great sign that he likes you
  • Social network or online behavior: If he chats with you often on a social networking site like facebook or IM and put a :X on the end of everything he says to you, it means he likes you
  • Wherever you go… He may follow you in a sneaky manner and it may not be a co-incidence if you find him in most places you visit. He definitely like you

I am sure these tips will help to find out the true intentions of the guy in question.

How to Get Water out of Your Ear?

Water stuck in your ear after a shower or swimming session can be really frustrating due to the humming effect or semi-deaf feeling it causes. At times it can be very painful too even before it causes ear infection. You may follow these simple tips to get the water out of your ear.

(Please note that if the problem persists or pain doesn’t come down, you have to consult a doctor)

How to Get Water out of Your Ear?

  1. Tilt your head sideways so that the affected ear is facing down. Jump up and down for a couple of times, with your head in that tilted position, till you can feel the water draining out. This works well most of the time when there is sufficient water to flow out of the ear on its own
  2. If the above method do not work, use a dropper or spoon to add 4-5 drops of water into the troublesome ear with it facing up. Hold it for two-three seconds and tilt your head sideways so that the affected ear now faces the ground. The added water along with the stuck water should now flow out giving you instant relief. If you are in a pool or shower, do not wait to get hold of a dropper but use your own hands to pour a few drops of water
  3. If it still doesn’t go out, you may lie down in the bed on your side with the affected ear facing down. The water may flow out gradually on its own after a few minutes

Additional tips

Always use fresh water if you are following method 2 explained above. Bad water getting into the ears can cause ear infection.

If the above methods didn’t work and if the ear is still painful, consult a doctor without any further delay.

Things to avoid

While tilting your head fast, take extra care not to sprain your neck.

Avoid using ear buds, hair dryer or blower, surgical spirit or other liquids in your ear. I have heard of people using Hydrogen Peroxide in their ears to clean them up. A lot of other people use a vinegar and spirit mixture to dry out the ear instantly. We do not recommend any of these methods as nobody can guarantee the concentration of these liquids available at your home and hence how dangerous they can be.

Some people use tricks like plugging the affected ear tight with one finger and suddenly pulling it out. In fact, sudden pressure changes can cause damage to your ear drums and hence avoid the same.

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