6 Small Personal Touches to Add to Your Home

If you’re looking for ways to make your space feel more like home and reflect who you are, you’re in luck. This article covers ways to add personal elements to your home without drastic or expensive changes. Ready to make your house feel like your home? Read on to discover the six tips and tricks to combine personalization with style. 

1. Use Open Shelving 

In your kitchen, use open shelving to store your mugs and dishes. These items are unique to your household, which makes them personal to your style. If you have family mugs with your kids’ faces on them or with sayings like, “world’s best mom,” these are objects to decorate your home with and display front and center. 

You can also create custom mugs if you lack these items at home. The more personalized you make your things, the more customized they’ll be to you. 

2. Incorporate Family Photos

An easy way to add personalization into any home is by incorporating family photos wherever you can. Display your pictures throughout your home, and better yet? Create a family gallery that spans generations. You will love having a little piece of family history in your home, and it will undoubtedly make your home feel like a place you never want to leave. 

3. Display Handmade Gifts

If your kids have created artwork for you, such as having their handprints on construction paper or other decorative unique DIY crafts, these are the kinds of pieces you want to display throughout your home. Showing these personalized projects will keep your home feeling specific to you and your family. 

If you have a lovely card written by your partner, this is something you might want to display on the mantle or a bookshelf to remind you of other personal elements you’ve accumulated over the years.

 4. Display Pictures On Your Refrigerator

Whether your kid aced a test or brought home an awesome drawing they made in art class, these things will look great on your refrigerator. 

If you find any fridge magnets that remind you of home, friends, or family, use these to hang pictures on your refrigerator as well. By openly displaying elements of your home and the people you love, you’re adding to the sense of personalization you wish to create. 

5. Buy Artisan Products

For more personalization, aim to buy a few artisan or handmade products that add a unique touch to your home décor. Whether you like Moroccan throw blankets or handmade dreamcatchers, these artistic pieces are great for adding new life to your home. Get as creative as you want with these items and purchase the products that speak to you. 

6. Maintain A Mixed Style 

Don’t devote your home décor to one specific style. Often, homes that maintain one aesthetic look cold, unwelcoming, and boring. This is because they don’t include any elements that indicate that someone lives there and are missing an essential component: your personal touch.

Your goal should be to add liveliness to your home by maintaining a diverse style that does not meet the mold of any aesthetic more than another. By incorporating objects that remind you of your family and the things you care about, your home becomes as unique as you are! 

The Bottom Line

Adding a personal touch to your home is about being bold and incorporating the things that matter to you. From your kids’ artwork to a unique handmade product, the items you choose to display in your home should reflect your style and personality for an authentic style. 

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

As every parent knows, death is hard—but it can be a blessing in disguise. Instead of grieving over a lost loved one, a parent who has a life insurance policy will be able to make a transition smoother. A 100 000 life insurance policy, for instance, can be used to cover a widow’s expenses, be used as a means to pay for their children’s education, and afford much more. A life insurance policy can also help pay the costs of a funeral, as current life insurance can be used as payment for a funeral home.

Unpredictability of Life

Life is unpredictable. Every day, people go through life writing new chapters. Yet, some people find out that their lives end before they even start. Some die in their 80s, and some die in their 20s. Some die in car accidents, and some die in murder. Life insurance can protect you and your family from such sudden and unwanted situations, but there are so many types of insurance policies out there, it is not easy to choose the right one.

Unless you have a death wish, the only way you should buy life insurance is if you want it. Unfortunately, we are not particularly well-informed about life insurance, and the entire concept is confusing to many people. There are many diverse types of life insurance available, and each one can be overly complicated and confusing.

Life insurance is a necessary tool to protect you from the financial devastation of death. Yet, for most people, it is not a top priority financially. Very few people get the amount of life insurance coverage they need simply because they do not know how much life insurance they should have.

Plan to have Life Insurance

Most people do not think about life insurance until they are forced to do so, but it is an important part of being prepared. It allows you to build savings, support your family, and protect your loved ones in case of your death. So, how much life insurance do you need?

One of the most common life insurance questions is, “What type of life insurance do I need?” Unfortunately, there is no simple rule-of-thumb answer. It all depends on your health, your family, your career, and your lifestyle.

The answer to this question can vary. First, you should consider your current financial situation. If you are married, double the amount you are currently paying for insurance. If you are single, you might pay one-half the amount that you are paying for insurance. If you are not yet married, then you might want to get a bigger policy. Finally, if you are living on your own, you might need a cheaper policy.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of purchasing life insurance. How much should you buy? What coverage should you buy? And how much will you need to set aside each month? The short answer is, we cannot tell you how much you need to purchase to ensure your family’s financial security. That is because the amount of life insurance you need is one of those things that changes from person to person. There are as many answers as there are people. Those that have the income who want to play it safe, and want everything covered, will tend to consider a 100 000-life insurance policy. They will want income and mortgage protection, and money for the education of children still to grow up, should the policyholder not be around or be too injured to work, in the case of accidents.

Amount of Life Insurance to Have

If you ask a dozen people how much life insurance they think they need, you will probably get a dozen different answers. Since we are individuals with unique life experiences, income, hobbies, and family needs, it is no wonder. We can all presumably agree that a crucial decision for us is how much life insurance we need.

The cost of life insurance varies based on an individual’s age, health, marital status, occupation, and the type of coverage desired. Also, your risk assessment for your occupation will determine the amount of insurance you need. Based on research, the factors that affect the cost of the most expensive types of life insurance include gender, age, marital status, occupation, health, and the type of policy.

If you are a healthy person who has been covered by a medical plan for a few years, you may not need a whole lot of life insurance. Your annual premium might even be enough to pay for a substantial policy. But if you have health problems, substantial coverage may be a necessity.

Conclusion

Although it is hard to know exactly how much we would need our life insurance policy to be, a 100 000-life insurance policy would ensure that we have enough protection for everyone should the worst happen. We need to think of what stage a spouse, son, or daughter, could be at in life when there might potentially be an unexpected death of the main wage earner. A younger policyholder should consider that their children may still have a lot of growing up to do and so incur much expense just from educational costs and the hobbies they wish to pursue. Life is unpredictable, but a large life insurance policy will provide that financial security needed to fund many future situations.

Keeping Your House Afloat During A Rough Winter

Winter can be a difficult time in many homes. Once the weather starts to become more extreme, people have to work much harder to ensure that their property is in good shape. In some cases, this can mean spending a small fortune on repairs and work, though many people don’t make it to this stage. To help you out with this, this article will be exploring some of the issues that homeowners face during winter, giving you the ability to keep your house afloat when this time of year comes. This doesn’t have to be hard when you put the right time into it.

Ice & Water

Everyone knows that happens to water once it reaches a low enough temperature; it turns to ice. When in this solid form, water takes up more space than it usually would, and this can cause a lot of issues for pipes that are designed to carry water. Insulation can be used to cover outdoor pipes, ensuring that they don’t freeze when the winter weather comes. Alongside this, it can also be worth making sure that water isn’t allowed to pool on your building during winter, as ice can cause damage in other areas, too.

Flooding

Water doesn’t have to freeze to cause damage. Rain will usually come throughout the year in most places, though it will be worst during winter. This makes flooding a very real risk for many people around the world, and this can cause a lot of damage to homes that aren’t prepared for it. Having access to sandbags, pumps, and other flood equipment can help with this, though you may also need a water damage cleanup company to fully restore your home after a flood. Dealing with flooding can be very hard, and it will always be worth building strong relationships with the people living around you to make sure that you can work together during times like these.

Heating

Living through winter without the right heating for your home can be horrible. Many people get sick thanks to this, but this can be avoided by taking the right action before winter. By having your boiler and other heating systems serviced, you can make sure that they don’t need any repairs when winter rolls around. This can often save money, as you won’t have to deal with big issues if the appliances you have break down. Most cities and towns have loads of options available when you’re looking for professionals like this, making it easy for you to get started.

Winter can be a hard time for anyone, even if the weather isn’t too bad. Your home was built to withstand the worse the elements have to throw at it, but this doesn’t always mean that it will be able to survive extreme weather. You need to work hard to make sure that your home stays strong throughout the year, though this work will be well worth it to make sure that you don’t have to live in the cold.

Uncommon Symptom’s That Could Mean You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things that can happen to a woman. And if you’re trying to conceive, especially for the first time, it may be difficult to tell if you’re pregnant. No pregnancy is the same, and many women have different experiences. This article will discuss unusual symptoms that could mean you’re pregnant.

Heavy Drooling

Drooling is a symptom that is not on the typical list of early pregnancy symptoms. But before you write it off, consider this: every pregnant woman produces increased amounts of the hormone called relaxin during her gestation period. It’s important to note that relaxin does things like loosening your joints and ligaments (increases risk of injury) and increases saliva production (causing drooling). If you’re experiencing an increase in saliva production, then you may have conceived. If you live in the Chicago area, there may be access to free pregnancy tests in Illinois to confirm.

Strange Dreams

Some women find themselves having strange dreams during early pregnancy. Dreams of being abducted by aliens or finding themselves giving birth to a giant teddy bear are not common but can sometimes happen. These weird and wonderful dreams are caused by the increase of hormones in your system, and they’re nothing to worry about. However, if you’re experiencing nightmares or disturbing dreams, it may be a sign that you’re under stress. If this is the case, speak to your doctor or midwife for advice on dealing with stress during pregnancy.

Nose Bleed

Having a nose bleed during pregnancy is also uncommon, but it can happen. The most likely reason for a nose bleed during pregnancy is the increased estrogen level in your body. This hormone can cause the blood vessels in your nose to swell and become more fragile.

Other reasons for a nose bleed during pregnancy can include Preeclampsia (a condition that develops during pregnancy and causes high blood pressure) or Rh incompatibility (when mother and baby have different blood types). It’s important to contact your doctor to find out the cause of your nose bleed if it persists.

Wobbly Teeth

Wobbly teeth are another symptom that is not common in early pregnancy but does happen. The hormone increases in your body are the likely cause. During pregnancy, some women experience nausea or food aversions which can impact the strength of their teeth.

Wobbly teeth can be a sensitive and embarrassing issue, especially for your first trimester. To fix the problem, you’ll need to eat foods that strengthen tooth enamel, such as cheese or green vegetables. You should also avoid sugary food and drinks as they cause acid erosion that will erode the strength of your tooth enamel. Consult with your dentist before trying any toothpaste, mouthwash, or cosmetic dentistry procedures if you’re experiencing wobbly teeth during your pregnancy.

Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t ignore them. Call your doctor or midwife to confirm your pregnancy. Confide with a friend or family member so that they can offer support while you wait for an appointment. Pregnancy is a beautiful experience, but it’s not always easy. You can make it through nine long months with the correct information and support.

Design Tips For Multipurpose Spare Rooms

If you have a spare room in your home that doesn’t get a lot of use these days, it can feel like a bit of a waste, whether you have a room empty from a child who has flown the nest or if you have always had a guest room that’s not had a lot of use, it can feel a bit wasteful to have a room in your home that get’s no use.

But on the other hand, you still want the room to be a guest room if it’s needed. If you’re an empty nester, it can feel bad to turn your child’s old room into a home gym when they may need to come back home at some point.

So, if you want to keep the flexibility of having a guest room for when it’s needed, but also want to use the room for something useful, you can use this spare room as a ‘multipurpose room’, which, as the name suggests is a room that has multiple uses. You can double your spare room up as a home office, a home gym or even a cinema room. So how can you go about turning your spare room into a nice multipurpose room?

Swap Bed For A Sofa Bed

If you want to turn your spare bedroom into a multipurpose room, the first thing you should do is swap out the bed for a sofa bed. The main reason why is floorspace, a proper bed will have a large footprint on a room and restrict what else can be done in the room, whereas a sofa bed will take up less space when in the sofa setting. Having a sofa bed also allows you to use it as a sofa, which is perfect for a movie room.

Blinds For Day, Blinds For Night

Usually in a bedroom, you’ll have blackout blinds on the window to keep the room dark at night, which is perfect for when someone is sleeping in the room, but no so good when you want to use the room in the day, forcing you to operate in darkness or let all the light in. This can be solved with a set of new double roller blinds, which have a blackout layer for ensuring darkness at night and a dimout layer to keep the room light during the day.

Wall Mounted Storage

In a multipurpose room, wall mounted storage can be a game changer. Free standing storage units will eat up your floor space, which isn’t ideal for a room you intend to use as a home office or a gym, as you’ll have less space to work with. So by using wall mounted storage units like shelves or floating cupboards, you can keep the floorspace open, to allow you space for exercising or to place a desk to work at.

Essential Items to Include in Your Next Business Proposal

When you’re in business, there’s a good chance that another company will ask you to fill out and submit a proposal for them. While this may seem like an easy task, it can often pose just the opposite when you realize that it is your job to sell your product or service. You must convince the other company that your business is the best choice for their needs. 

To make this task easier on yourself, we’ve put together a list of the essential items that should be included in your next business proposal. Read more about them below.

1. An Executive Summary

Christin Hume / Unsplash

The first part of any well-written document should include an executive summary so the reader knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into before investing their time or energy into the rest of it. For example, let’s say you’ve been asked by a soda company to provide them with a complete marketing plan for their latest product. 

In the executive summary, you would summarize exactly what your plan entails. Good actions include sending a pitch deck to specific soda companies and supermarket chains. It’s also a good idea to do look into recent trends. From there, you can determine how you should implement your plan like identifying high-traffic organizations where demos can be held and hiring interns who will help with these demos.

2. An Introduction of Your Company and Its Employees

If you’re including an executive summary, it’s already understood that you want those reading your proposal to know more about you and your organization. However, by having a clear introduction explaining who you are at the top of your document, you’ll give readers all they need to know immediately. 

Let’s say, for example, that you own a small marketing firm with four employees, each of whom specializes in social media. While this information is already clear from the executive summary, including an introduction to your company at the top of it simply solidifies your place as an authority on the subject.

3. A Breakdown of Exactly What You’ll Be Doing to Help Them

Venngage

Have you ever read something where all the writer does is tell you how great they are?  If you’re like most people, you’ll find that quite annoying.

Instead, write exactly what services you’ll be providing and why they will benefit those reading the proposal. For example, let’s say a soda company wants you to provide them with a plan that helps increase sales by 20% over three years. You would include in the business proposal example that, during these three years, 30% of your time will be spent on research and development while the other 70% will be split between digital branding and public relations.

4. A Breakdown of Exactly What They’ll Get in Return

As already discussed above, every company should only invest in a project if they’re sure to receive something worthwhile out of it. If your business is going to be helping another company increase sales by 20%, then you need to show them how this will benefit them as well as what measurable outcomes can be expected as a result. 

For example, perhaps you would like for those reading the proposal to know that if their sales do indeed increase by 20%, they can expect to see an additional $500,000 in revenue each year. This number doesn’t need to be exact, but it should be specific enough so that they know exactly what they’re getting out of the deal.

5. A Sign-off/Closing Statement

After your proposal is written and you’ve included all of the information necessary for the reader to make a smart decision, you’ll want to close off by thanking them for their consideration. You could also remind them how great it would be if you could work together. 

For example, let’s say you want readers of your soda company proposal to agree with you about increasing sales by 20%. While this number will vary depending on what industry you’re currently in (a tech company may not be interested in a 10% increase in sales), the general idea is that you want to show them just how beneficial your plan will be no matter which angle they’re looking at it from. And, of course, a polite sign-off will remind them just how excited you are to work with them if they agree to give your proposal a read.

6. Include References/Endnotes

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As any professor will tell you, endnotes are extremely helpful for those who are interested in learning more about your topic. Endnotes allow you to provide additional information while also allowing the reader to continue focusing on your exact words and ideas. This is especially important if your proposal is based on existing research or materials. At the bottom, you’ll want to provide a bibliography.

Of course, there’s plenty more information on writing successful proposals you can find online or through other resources. You can even find dozens of business proposal ideas online. However, these five tips should provide you with an excellent place to start when putting together what could be the next big project for your business.

And if you feel lost or unsure about how your next proposal should look or how to write a business proposal, check out Venngage today. The platform has everything you need to get started, including the best business proposal template.

 

Best Iced Coffees to Make at Home

Iced coffee is always our go-to refreshment, especially when it’s hot outside. There is just something special about the combo of toasted, roasty coffee with ice and creamy sweetness – which would never fail to give us excitement the moment we take the first sip. However, drinking the same cup of iced coffee every day could get boring, so why not spice things up a little bit? Get creative and be your at-home barista with these simple, amazing iced coffee recipes that will leave you always wanting more.

Creamy Iced Coffee

The original iced coffee, but it is not like your typical one. In this variant, the coffee combines with milk, half-and-half, just a little sugar, a bit of vanilla, and of course, chocolate syrup! Yet, if you want it to have more kick to it, you can opt on chocolate liqueur instead.

Ingredients:

1 ½ quarts room temperature brewed coffee

One cup of milk

One cup of cream (half-and-half)

⅓ cup of white sugar

One teaspoon of vanilla essence

Two tablespoons chocolate syrup or liqueur

How to prepare:

  1. Mix the brewed coffee, milk, and half-and-half in a pitcher.
  2. Add in the sugar, vanilla, and chocolate syrup and stir thoroughly.
  3. After everything is compiled well, keep the pitcher in the refrigerator to make it cold and it’s ready to drink.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

If you’re the type that prefers a rich but sweet iced coffee now and then, yet you don’t feel like going the extra mile to make one, then this two-ingredient coffee recipe is for you. Sweetened condensed milk is used in this Vietnamese iced coffee to give it a great taste with little effort.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons of coffee (preferably Trung Nguyen coffee)

Sweetened condensed milk

How to prepare:

  1. Bring a kettle of water to a boil first, you can use an electric kettle to boil it faster.
  2. For this version of coffee, you will need to use a Vietnamese coffee filter to have retained its original taste. Pour a bit of hot water through the filter and your cup to warm it up.
  3. Discard the steel filter and add four teaspoons of coffee to the pot. 
  4. Gently twist the filter around until it stops. If your filter appears not to have screws, place the filter on top of the coffee.
  5. Pour a small amount of water into the filter to moisten the grind and allow it to expand a little and get rid of any little grinds. If you notice any grinds that past the filter, chuck it out.
  6. Fill the filter to the brim and set it aside to drip. The brewing duration is between 3 and 5 minutes, so put the filter appropriately. Because the filter will get hot, adjust it with something to avoid getting burnt. Put the lid back on and wait for it to drip.
  7. After it’s done, add about 2-3 teaspoons of condensed milk into the coffee. But if you’re not a fan of sweet coffee, then one teaspoon would be sufficient.
  8. Allow the coffee to cool slightly before pouring it into an ice-filled glass.

Iced Salted Honey Latte

Salt and honey may seem like an odd pairing, but that makes it unique. The fusion between salt and honey with the slight bitterness of coffee makes it mesmerizing; you would have regretted not having tried this earlier. This handmade latte does not necessitate the use of an expensive espresso machine.  All you need is just a microwave and a jar with a lid.

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk

1 cup of room temperature espresso or coffee

1/2 teaspoon of sugar (add more or less depending on your preference)

1 teaspoon of honey

1 teaspoon of sea salt flakes

How to prepare:

  1. Pour the milk into a lidded jar and shake rapidly a minute or until it is frothy. Then, take off the lid, place it in the microwave to heat for 15 seconds.
  2. Get two big glasses and fill them with ice. Distribute the coffee evenly among the glasses and add a pinch of sugar.
  3. Hold back the froth with a spoon and add a bit of milk to each glass. Scoop a spoonful of the froth and place them on top of the latte. Drizzle a little of honey (or more) and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt flakes on top of each latte.
  4. Stir everything and it’s ready to serve.

Gourmet-style Iced Coffee

Hitting the coffee shop for premium iced coffee all the time can hurt your wallet in the long run, so why not make your gourmet-style iced coffee at home? Simply prepare your coffee the night before with high-quality coffee beans. This way, the coffee will be at room temperature when morning arrives.

Ingredients:

1 cup of room temperature coffee

Two tablespoons half-and-half (or more, depending on your preference)

For the syrup:

½ cup of sugar

One cup of water

½ teaspoon of vanilla essence

How to prepare:

For the syrup:

  1. Get a medium saucepan, heat it over medium heat, and combine the sugar and 1 cup water, constantly stirring until the sugar has fully dissolved. 
  2. Allow it to cool fully before stirring in the vanilla essence. Refrigerate until it’s ready to be served.

For the coffee:

  1. Brew a cup of coffee in your favourite coffee machine
  2. Once it’s done, fill in a glass with ice cubes, syrup and half-and-half. Then, pour the coffee into the glass. Add 1 teaspoon of syrup at a time until the desired flavour is achieved.

Caramel Iced Coffee

Source: unsplash.com – Kari Shea

Unique iced coffee recipes are always great to have, but nothing beats the original caramel iced coffee. Caramel is a traditional taste found in some of the greatest coffee blends available. The bitterness of the coffee combined with the sweetness of caramel would give a zap on your tastebuds the moment you take your first sip.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of brewed coffee

One tablespoon of caramel sauce

1/2 cup of milk

Sugar (optional)

Ice cube and whipped cream

How to prepare:

  1. Fill a jug halfway with your freshly brewed coffee and add caramel sauce and sugar.
  2. Store in the fridge until it is cold.
  3. Fill your favourite glass with ice cubes and pour the chilled coffee.
  4. Pour in your milk and finish with a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle a bit more caramel sauce.

Are Your Electricity Bills Giving You A Headache? Here Are Some Handy Small Business Energy Saving Tips.

As a small business owner, you come face to face with several challenges day in, day out. Finding and retaining customers, increasing brand awareness, managing money, scaling, chalking out offline and online marketing plans, etc., become constant concerns.

As if these reasons aren’t enough to give creases of worries over your forehead, the rising electricity bills add insult to injury. However, the easy tips listed below come in handy in saving high energy costs. 

Read further to discover easy and effective energy-saving tips. 

Consider energy audit 

If saving on energy bills is on your mind, start with getting an energy audit done. Hire a professional energy audit company to determine whether or not you are using energy at your office efficiently. 

The company will delineate the loopholes and areas to reduce your energy use to save some energy and your money. 

Invest in energy-efficient devices 

You might not want to spend a bomb on buying energy-efficient devices for your small business, but it will save you money in the long run.

From computers to printers, air conditioners to coffee machines, check the energy ratings of each device before making a purchase. 

Switch off the devices when not using 

Devices tend to draw power when they are plugged in. Switching them off when not in use can help save a great deal of energy. 

Order your staff to turn off computers, printers, scanners, lights, air conditioners, microwaves, coffee vending machines, and other devices after working hours. 

Use a programmable or smart thermostat

You can trim your energy bills by using a programmable or smart thermostat at your office. This thermostat adjusts the temperature of the space when no one is working. 

Furthermore, ensure that your thermostat is away from direct sunlight, drafts, and mechanical devices, such as desktops, printers, photocopiers, etc. 

Treat your doors and windows

Reflective films, internal blinds, and external shutters on windows keep the strong sun rays from entering your office space. Hence, they contribute to keeping your workplace cool without adding to your energy bills. 

Furthermore, sealed doors keep the heat out during summers and in during winter, keeping your office space at an aggregable temperature without the use of ACs or heaters that add oodles to energy bills. 

Use natural lighting 

Ditch artificial lights for free of cost natural lighting. Make the most of daylight to keep your office space well-lit and airy throughout the day. Restrict the use of artificial lights to dark areas only. 

If you use artificial lights, ensure replacing your old lights with energy-efficient options, such as LEDs and CFLs.

Check your roof and ceiling

Any defect in ceiling insulation can directly add to your energy bills.  A well-insulated ceiling keeps a property warm in winter and cool in summer. 

Loft insulation, properly fitted roof tiles, heat reflective paint, etc., contribute to naturally maintaining a comfortable temperature in a building without adding to energy bills. 

Select your energy supplier wisely 

The rates of electricity and natural gas touch the sky. Being a small business, it might not be convenient for you to pay the going rate. 

Look for small business electricity providers that cater specifically to small businesses. These energy providers offer electricity at the best possible rate.

Finally,

Financial management is the biggest obstacle in the path of a small business owner. Hence, they always look for ways to save. 

With these easy hacks, you can save on your energy bills and iron out some of your financial woes. 

 

Must have Grill Gazebo Accessories

A grill gazebo is a wonderful addition to your outdoor living space. It is the perfect place to have cookouts or relax with friends and family. However, you will need gazebo grill accessories to make it complete. Check out these must-have grill gazebo accessories:

Grill Cover

A grill cover is necessary to keep your barbecue equipment clean and free of debris while it is not in use. Grill covers are made to be weatherproof and will protect your grill against rain, snow, wind, heat, UV rays, and dust. A second cover is necessary if you have more than one grill or need extra protection while your grill is not in use.

Grill Light

If you are entertaining in the evening hours, a grill light will help illuminate the space. A motion-activated solar-powered grill light is perfect to keep on hand. The grill light will automatically turn on when it senses motion and shut off after 20 seconds of inactivity to save battery life.

Firewood Rack

When you are hosting a cookout, the last thing you need to worry about is where to keep all of that firewood. Keep it organized with a wood rack, so it is ready when needed and keeps your home safe from any danger or messes. The firewood rack should have a covering to keep the wood dry, organized, and debris-free.

Barbecue Grill Brush

A barbecue grill brush will help to clean off stuck-on food particles that could be harmful when consumed. It will also keep your grill in top shape for future use and prevent rust from forming before you are ready to fire up the barbecue again. This is essential for keeping the barbecue area tidy and safe from harmful bacteria or other substances that could cause serious health concerns if consumed.

Wind Screen

If you plan to cook with a charcoal grill, windscreens are an excellent addition because they protect coals from being blown out by strong gusts of wind. In addition, it keeps the barbecue area tidy and safe from harmful bacteria or other substances.

Portable Grill Cart

A grill cart is an essential piece of equipment to have if you plan to cook out in the backyard. Grill carts are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and can be folded quickly for storage when not in use or transporting. The portable grill cart will allow guests to serve themselves while you socialize with others around the grill.

Gloves

Protect yourself from heat and flames with a pair of high-quality gloves that will keep you safe while cooking. Gloves come in silicone and leather materials. Therefore, choose the ones that suit your needs the best.

Grill Spatulas

Grill spatulas are designed specifically for cooking on grills. Therefore, the grill spatulas can help you turn over meats and veggies with ease. These spatulas are usually stainless steel or other heat-resistant materials that will not warp when exposed to high temperatures.

Charcoal Chimney

A charcoal chimney is a must-have accessory to properly grill out. It uses gravity to heat up coals faster and more efficiently than other methods by allowing air circulation inside the chamber, which lights it up in about half an hour or less.

Grill gazebos are an excellent addition to any yard because they allow you to entertain guests outside in style. They come with a variety of grill accessories that will keep the barbecue area clean and tidy, protect you from heat or flames, and organize firewood for easy access at all times.

Every Type of Coffee Mug, Explained

When you think of a coffee mug, what type of mug do you envision? Coffee mugs come in all shapes and sizes, all materials and all manner of bells and whistles. When you are considering creating a custom coffee mug, you need to consider all your options — which means you need this guide to each and every variation of coffee mug.

Style

The style of mug generally explains the purpose of the mug: where and when it should be used, what it should contain, etc. There are five basic styles of coffee mug:

Classic

The image that your mind conjures when you hear the phrase “coffee mug” is almost certainly a classic-style mug. Made for drinking at home or at the office — somewhere with stationary seating and a table on which to rest the mug between sips. Classic mugs tend to be short, without lids and with handles, to make drinking easy.

Travel

A travel coffee mug tends to be taller and slimmer than the classic mug, so they can fit more easily in the hand or in a vehicle’s cup holder. Travel mugs always have lids to prevent coffee from spilling during transit — though some lids work better than others. Usually, travel mugs lack handles, but if a travel mug does have a handle, it is likely large and easy to hold.

Tumbler

Like a combination classic mug and travel mug, a tumbler is a wide, tall mug that usually comes with a lid and lacks a handle. Almost exclusively, tumblers are made from layers of stainless steel to insulate heat. Tumblers aren’t inherently designed for travel, so many do not fit easily into vehicle cup holders.

Demitasse

The tiny mugs used for espresso are technically called demitasse, which translates from French to “half cup.” These mugs are not suitable for regular coffee, unless you only like to drink a sip or two. However, if espresso is your brew of choice, you should invest in demitasse, which holds roughly three ounces — the perfect espresso shot.

Novelty

A novelty coffee mug uses strange materials and takes odd shapes. You might find a travel mug that looks like a camera lens, or a ceramic mug in the shape of a toilet bowl. Often, novelty mugs are given as gifts, but their strange forms make them difficult to use on a daily basis.

Material

The material of a coffee mug affects almost everything about the mug, so you need to

Ceramic. The traditional mug material, ceramic, can be made into almost every shape and feature almost every color, making it ideal for custom coffee mugs. Most ceramic is durable and dishwasher-able. Ceramic doesn’t impact the flavor of the coffee, and it insulates the heat rather well.

Glass. Like ceramic, glass is easy to wash and doesn’t change coffee’s flavor, but glass can be more delicate and isn’t quite as effective at insulating. Still, the beautiful aesthetic of glass is increasing its popularity as a mug material.

China. Porcelain and China coffee mugs are extremely delicate and require gentle care as they are prone to chipping and cracking with rough use. Though they do not insulate particularly well, these materials are undeniably beautiful.

Stoneware. Stoneware mugs tend to be heavy, but they can resist damage better than ceramic, glass, China and other materials. Because stoneware is usually handmade, each stoneware mug is totally unique.

Stainless steel. Lightweight and durable, stainless steel is often used in travel mugs and tumblers. Many stainless steel mugs are not easy to care for, and some drinkers suggest the metal impacts the flavor of the coffee.

Melamine. Melamine is a strong plastic product that is dishwasher-safe and drop-proof. It holds in heat extremely well, but it shouldn’t be heated itself, or it could leach toxic chemicals into the coffee.

Features

Believe it or not, coffee mugs can be high-tech. Here are some features that can make coffee mugs function better in specific ways:

Double-walled. Usually present in travel mugs or tumblers, as well as stainless steel mugs, double-walled mugs have a special insulating layer to ensure coffee stays warmer longer.

Footed. A mug with a foot has a more stable foundation, reducing the likelihood of spills.

Lid. Lids help trap the heat inside the mug, keeping coffee warm. Travel mugs always come with lids, but you can find classic mugs with lids as well. You can also purchase aftermarket lids that will fit most mugs.

Vintage. A vintage coffee mug set comes with the charming aesthetic of eras past. However, vintage coffee mugs can also be made with dangerous materials, like lead paint, so you should be careful to distinguish between old mugs that are safe to use and old mugs that are display-only.

Microwave-safe. Not all coffee mugs are safe for reheating in the microwave. Metal mugs and melamine should never be put in a microwave, and other mugs can have non-microwavable paints. You should look for a sign that a mug is microwave-safe before trying to reheat your coffee.