Building a Dream: From Plans to Reality

Are you looking to update your home interior, maybe remodel your kitchen, bathroom or general living space? Whether making renovations or building your home, it is important to find a good general contractor that works for you. This task may seem daunting, but when armed with the correct information, any new homeowner or property manager can find the contractor that will be a perfect fit.

If you are a homeowner looking for a return on investment, then absolutely, yes, renovating your home will add to your property value. Ensure that you research the housing market in your area before you begin though because some projects may put your property value over what is normal for your area. If your home is already edging near the top in terms of value, that $40,000 project might put your house $20,000 over, meaning that’s $20,000 you’ll never see back, as explained by Forbes.

Planning and organization

Before you can find a contractor to build your project, you must first figure out what it is that you are wanting to change in your home and on what budget. Some hardware stores have catalogs that show some options and can even hook you up with a contractor that works through them. Regardless of how you go about picking your project, ensure that you have organized and planned your monetary expenses appropriately or you may have a half-finished project sitting in your home. For more inspiration on renovation ideas, check out these sliding dual barn doors which may add just the right doorway to your new master bathroom or bedroom.

After you have decided what you are building, there are a series of questions that you should ask potential contractors before you move them to the quoting and paperwork phase of your project. Think of it very much as a job interview; the contractor that you pick will be the individual building your dream, so you’ll want to be able to trust them to do it right. It is absolutely acceptable to not just pick anybody. Here are some of the questions that you’ll want to be asking during this step:

What is your experience relevant to this job?

You wouldn’t hire a plumber to run your electricity, and, likewise, you’ll want to ensure that the contractor that you hire will have relevant experience and appropriate training applicable to the job that you are hiring for. Completely rebuilding your kitchen? Ask your carpenter how much time doing this work he has had. You’ll want to hear answers along the lines of, “I have done this many times before,” and also that it has been done successfully. Also, take some personal initiative and look for customer reviews and documented work. The level of craftsmanship you see is often what you get.


Being licensed is completely separate from being insured as a contractor, and these things are both very important. A licensed contractor is a contractor that has proven to his or her state of residence that they are proficient in their trade as an independent contractor and are authorized to do that kind of work. Some cities will impose a fine on you or the contractor for having work done without the proper licensing, so ensure that he is current.


Generally, independent contractors are required to have minimal basic liability insurance that covers property damage in order to legally work. Some contractors, especially well established contracting companies, will have more expansive insurance to cover everything from top-down in a worksite. Contractors with insurance policies like this might price a little higher to reflect the cost incurred by maintaining full coverage insurance, but the coverage can be worth it on high dollar value jobs. People who contract under the table may run much cheaper, but it is often rare that they are licensed or even insured.

Ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to decide what price they’d be willing to pay for a contractor. The most important takeaway should be that you get what you pay for when it comes to contractors, and that often homeowners run a risk going to cheaper under the table contractor options. If you feel that you may be better off doing it yourself and don’t have any major home renovation plans, check out some DIY home tips that are budget-friendly and simple

How do “normal” people become addicted to prescription drugs?

Everyone says, “It won’t happen to me.” But the truth is that “normal” everyday people become addicted to prescription drugs every single day. In 2018, there were 4,359 deaths from prescription drugs in the UK alone. At one point, every one of those people was “normal” in the sense that they were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, and coworkers. They never said, “I want to be a drug addict when I grow up.” But it happened. 

Several prescription medications have addictive properties 

All medicines have the potential for dependence. The most dangerous prescription drugs can cause physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them. This is possible and happens often, especially with prescription pain medications. The withdrawal alone can cause a person to stay on the medication longer than necessary. These can include a return of the original symptoms (pain, anxiety, inattentiveness, and restless nights) and physical symptoms from not having the medication in your body. Withdrawal indications can include nausea, stomach pains, diarrhea, problems sleeping, excessive sweating, and flu-like feelings. Dependence can even happen and happens under a doctor’s care. 

Prescriptions that are commonly abused include, 

  • Benzodiazepines (for panic, anxiety, and OCD symptoms)
  • Ritalin and other ADD and ADHD medications (for focus)
  • Codeine (for pain)
  • Opioids (pain and post-surgical discomfort)
  • Gabapentinoids (nerve pain)
  • Zopiclone (Sleep disorders)

Most patients start taking these medications for positive reasons, such as ending the control that pain, anxiety, lack of focus, and sleep disorders have on their lives. Unfortunately, dependence on the drugs takes control, rather than the person. 

Chronic pain patients often need to increase their dosage 

You can go through several years on the same anxiety and panic medications without increasing the dose. However, benzodiazepines don’t work the same as other pain treatments. Patients with pain conditions, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, often need their dosage increased as the body becomes accustomed to the dose. This means that to get the same relief, they need to take more. 

With opioids, the higher the dose, the more your chances of developing dependence increase. Additionally, upping the dosage also puts patients at a higher risk of overdosing. Doctors prescribing high doses of opioids are often walking a thin line trying to control pain and prevent dependence and overdoses. 

Normalization of prescription drug “safety” 

Until the past few years, doctors and medical professionals regularly handed out prescription medications for anxiety, muscle pain, ADHD, and other common ailments. Patients with anxiety issues are more likely to ask their general practitioner for anxiety medication during troubling times and not seek counseling to get to the root of the cause. Additionally, patients with muscle pains prefer a quick fix in the form of a pill, when the best treatments for minor injuries involve resting, stretching, elevating, and icing. 

Self-medicating Pitfalls 

They tell you to always safely dispose of medications after you stop needing them or when they expire. But people keep these in their medicine cabinet for a few reasons,

  • Why throw away good medication?
  • What if I need that later?
  • If I leave it, I might be able to use it the next time I’m hurting physically or emotionally

Unfortunately, several problems can arise here. The first is self-medicating, which is a common occurrence. For example, you’ve pulled a muscle in your back at work, in the yard, or during your daily workout. Instead of taking the time to contact a physician and schedule an exam, it’s easier to pop a few of the painkillers your doctor prescribed after your hernia surgery last year. 

This does circle back to the normalization of prescription medications. It didn’t occur to you that it wasn’t okay to take the same dose for your back pain as you would for recovering from painful surgery. The next time this happens, you’re more likely to react the same. Another problem with this self-diagnosis technique is you could have serious injuries that a doctor needs to examine, and by self-medicating with pain drugs, you may be worsening the original injury. 

People tend to think of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, and meth when they think of drug addiction. However, addiction takes root through many drugs with addictive properties, which includes several legal medications prescribed by physicians. Yes, many addicts were aware of their actions, and that taking the drugs would lead to legal and health problems. But a large number of patients are dealing with addiction on top of other health concerns, including chronic pain, anxiety, and the inability to focus. 

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happiness is… Clothing Review

I love shirts with words and sayings on them!  I recently got a new sweatshirt from happiness is…

They offer cute sweatshirts and t-shirts for men, women, and kids that say things like, “happiness is…morning coffee, “happiness is…family,” and “happiness is…the beach.”  There is a great assortment of shirts, and a an especially good selection for those who love the outdoors! [Read more…]

Board Games You Can Use to Teach Children About Money

When you get right down to it, money has two basic uses. It can be employed to make more money, or it can be used solely to acquire goods and services. Here’s the thing, though: If you use money to make more money, you’ll always have cash for goods and services.

Helping children learn this lesson at an early age greatly improves the nature of their relationship with their finances. Moreover, educators agree learning is most effective when it’s combined with fun. These board games you can use to teach children about money will make doing so much easier to accomplish.

Yes, there are many online games and apps designed for this purpose as well, but they tend to be solitary in nature. The beauty of the classic board game is the entire family can play together, making it a social event as well as an educational opportunity cloaked in fun.


This classic has been around since the early days of the 20th century. Originally patented as The Landlord’s Game, Monopoly is primarily focused around real estate transactions, but it also involves budgeting, investing and using money strategically. Kids are introduced to idea of paying taxes, too. While the goal of the game is to bankrupt your competition and gain monopoly status, it also imparts the lesson that managing your money wisely is how you win the game.

The Game of Life

Another long-lived “pastime,” The Game of Life debuted in 1960. As its name implies, playing it touches upon circumstances children will experience as they progress in life. The game covers getting a secondary education, selecting a career path, choosing a life partner, becoming a parent and, of course, handling money. To win, a player must set aside a nest egg and retire — both of which can be accomplished more readily with a sound education and well-reasoned investments.

Pay Day

Dating back to the 1970s, Pay Day helps children understand how to use money wisely. Lessons imparted include the fundamentals of budgeting as well as engaging in entrepreneurial activities. Newer versions include windfall situations such as sweepstakes, lotteries, casino nights and jackpots, which can make winning easier. Meanwhile, early versions of the game have insurance and savings options that are missing from later versions. Not sure what this says about modern attitudes but do your kids a favor and scour eBay for older versions of the game.

Act Your Wage!

Noted debt guru Dave Ramsey came up with Act Your Wage to help children learn to see debt freedom as a desirable outcome. Players win by saving a $1,000 emergency fund, budgeting using the envelope system and paying off debt using the snowball effect.

About the only thing missing from the game’s debt eradication scenario is the option to contract a debt negotiation firm like Freedom Debt Relief to help make overwhelming debts more manageable.

Charge Large

Also designed to teach the benefits of living debt free, this game acknowledges the fact that certain uses of credit can be both beneficial and necessary. Simply put, Charge Large teaches children how to use debt wisely. Players begin with a cache of gold, an entry-level credit card and cash. They must upgrade that basic card to a black one, accumulate $2,500 in cash and achieve debt freedom.

Using board games like these to teach children about money is far better than letting them grow up to learn the hard way — with no guidance. Plus, these games present an opportunity for the entire family to spend fun time together, even as you impart valuable life lessons.

Tips to Renovate Your House Beautifully yet Economically

People renovate because they want their house to look more beautiful and feel even more comfortable. Take your home renovation plan as a business plan, or as a unique project, you are starting from scratch. You can choose to hire architecture to plan for you, but to save money, the first thing is to take charge of the project and do it to yourself.For those looking to find out ways to renovate their house beautifully but economically, then the information below will help.

Divide and Conquer

As earlier mentioned, effective planning is the key driver for effective renovation. If you choose to renovate yourself, then you should focus on both the bigger picture and the smaller parts. But when you hire an architect for renovation, he will carefully assess your requirements and then renovate accordingly.


Now that you intend to renovate your house economically, it is critically important for you to decide the total expenditure requirements that will lead to effortless, expertly created home renovations. It is also important to remember in your budge that you cannot overestimate it, always keep your budget underestimated and then move on to researching for things you need.


You will be surprised at the number of choices you have once you start your research. The most beautiful lamp that you love at a high-end store might be purchased at a lower price from elsewhere. This implies that during the renovation of your room on a budget, you must remember that: When you research to find the furniture you need, paint you like or the decorations you would require in your house. You are most likely to find most of the supplies at a relatively low price. Taking advantage of shopping online, thrift stores, and even second-hand furniture shops and see how far you can go.

Doors Create the First Impression

The entry is the first impression of any house. If you are not able to change your door completely and if the existing entry is in excellent condition, then you must repaint your door. Your doors will also affect the lighting of your room, and you can benefit from this fantastic technique interior design.

Paint Affects Lighting

As mentioned before, painting effects lighting; hence during renovation, you might opt for new paint. In such a situation, if you are already on a budget, purchasing a variety of colored pallets

might seem counterintuitive. If you are on a relatively tight budget, then go for a black and white palette, it will give your house a modern, appealing look and you will have the guarantee that you will never go wrong with white or black.

Light Comes through the Windows

When renovating your house, ensure you install large windows. Sometimes you may not have enough money to change your window, in such case play around with paint and paint your windows a lighter shade than the rest of the room to allow maximum light coming through the windows.

The goal of renovating your home on a budget is to find effortless, expertly created home renovations that will last longer.

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Loud Snoring – How To Block It Out At Night

Believe or not, snoring is something that afflicts millions of people around the world. In most cases, people won’t even notice that they suffer from snoring until someone else tells them. That’s because snoring it’s something that does not only affect the snorer, but the one sleeping next to him or her, with the latter being the most affected in most cases. It’s a rather complicated scenario, with many causes, consequences, and solutions.

There’s something you should know before we dive into details about fixing and blocking snoring sounds. Most people are simple snorers, whereas others may suffer from something called sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder known for causing snores but can’t be fixed with traditional methods, like the ones we will mention in this article.

The biggest difference between both is that sleep apnea can completely block the air as you sleep due to your throat relaxing and partially (or completely) blocking the air you inhale as you sleep. Another form of sleep apnea stops you from breathing unconsciously. This makes you wake up multiple times during the night, bringing a heavy amount of nasty side effects. Here’sa more detailed information on the subject.

On the other hand, snoring is just a vibration sound produced by your nose and throat as you sleep. Most people don’t wake up from snoring, and they don’t even notice it happening until someone else tells them. Of course, this condition can bring some simple problems, like sore-throat and lower quality of sleep, to more complicated problems like increased risks of heart disease, heart attacks, among many others.

Thing is: there are possible solutions when it comes to snores that can be applied by anyone, but treating sleep apnea is much more complicated and may require lifestyle changes as well as surgery to be treated successfully. It would be wise to visit a doctor if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, or having problems with sleeping because of sudden shortness of breath.

Here you can find other symptoms related to sleep apnea and snoring you should check to see the difference between both:

How To Fix Snores – Lifestyle Changes.

Before we talk about blocking sound from snores, let’s try to fix snoring first. Most solutions to snore include lifestyle changes that may be hard to achieve at first but will bring tons of healthy results that will make it worth it. For example, most people suffering from it are either overweighed or don’t exercise enough. If you decide to lose weight, you’ll achieve a healthier body, and potentially reduce (or fix) your snoring problems.

Doing exercises without aiming to lose weight can be quite effective, too, because it’ll help you tighten your muscles and improve your lungs, indirectly affecting your throat and nose, making it less likely to produce sound as you breathe.

Another effective method that may be considered a lifestyle change but doesn’t require that much effort is changing your sleep position. For instance, sleeping on your back usually narrows your airways, making it much more likely to become blocked and produce vibration sounds as you sleep. Sleeping on your side is the most recommended method to fix snoring, but for some people, this may prove to be difficult. If you are not used to sleeping on your side, you can just stack a bunch of pillows on your back, or put something uncomfortable, so you unconsciously avoid moving while you sleep.

Before going to the last recommendations, I’d like you to visit this guide with 10 natural remedies to fix snores. Just in case you want to try more remedies, there you’ll have the information you need.

With that said, let’s jump on to the last lifestyle changes. If you are a regular smoker or drinker, quitting these two things will not only help you reduce snores, but will also make you healthier in the long-term run.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, so we have one last recommendation: try to have healthy sleeping schedules. A lot of people suffer from exhaustion because they don’t sleep the right way, nor the right amount of time. Sleeping at night for at least 8 hours is a must, and believe it or not, a lot of people don’t do this!

If the Solution Doesn’t Work…

There are always other alternatives. I used to live with someone who, no matter what, didn’t put effort into fixing their snoring problems. That’s when I decided to try other methods to be at ease with the whole situation, and I found them. The main idea was to block any annoying sound from my surroundings.

My personal favorite is using headphones and earbuds to listen to music as I sleep. In the beginning, I wasn’t so fond of the idea, but as time went by, I started finding things that have been helping me with sleeping, like ASMR videos, environmental sound effects like rain or wind, and music tracks composed with pianos that are really relaxing. This is my favorite method, but there are others, like the ones mentioned in this article:

One option I like a lot is the white noise fan. I usually sleep with a fan by my side and the noise that comes out of it is really soothing, for some reason. As it helps to cloak the sound of snores, it’ll help you sleep in better conditions.

Earplugs are another good choice. They literally block the sound in the most direct way, by obstructing your ears while you sleep. They are also comfortable, and you shouldn’t worry about the many weird situations that may come to your mind when you think about wearing earplugs while you sleep. They are pretty safe and will do the trick in most cases.

There are many other options as well, like meditation or noise-canceling headphones. Of course, it depends heavily on what you are looking for. If you want more possible solutions, you can visit this website.

Of course, if you get to convince your special other to try some lifestyle changes to improve their situation, you’ll benefit both of you. And that is always a great thing.

How Busy Moms Can Advance Their Careers

Those moms who are trying to balance the work of raising their children and also the task of bettering their careers can lead busy lives. It can be difficult for a person to focus fully on their family and also on their job. There are some things that you can do as a busy mom to advance your career.

Look into Online Degree Programs:

When a person expands their education, they advance their career and open new doors for their self. Busy moms should consider online accounting graduate programs and similar opportunities online to further your education. Taking classes online might help you to move up the ladder at your current job or find a new position at another business.

Find Simple Ways of Adding to a Portfolio:

If you are a creative individual and you have a portfolio that you have put together that shows some of the work that you have completed, you should always be looking for simple ways of adding to that portfolio. If you create birthday invitations for your friend’s child, you should add a sample of those to your portfolio. If you design something special for one of your children, you can add that to your portfolio to help show off the work that you can do.

Take on Projects at Work When Time Allows:

When there are extra projects that someone needs to complete at your business and you feel like you have the free time needed at work to complete one of them, take that on. If you are able to fit in a little extra work while you are at the office and you can get something done without spending more time away from your children, jump on that opportunity to prove yourself and possibly advance your career.

Network and Make Connections:

Do what you can to connect with people who are working in fields related to the one that you are working in. Do what you can to meet new people on a regular basis and to share your contact information with them. Networking is something that is important for any person who is looking to advance their career, and it is something that even a busy mom can focus on and accomplish.

Make a List of Goals:

It is important for a person to know what their goals are in life if they hope to advance and improve. If you are looking to  go back to school and/or do better in your career, you need to know which ways you are hoping to improve and what you are going to do to make progress toward your goals. Figure out what you want for the future, and then advance your career by working toward – and accomplishing – your goals.

There are things that busy moms can do when they are looking to better their lives and advance their careers. A mom focuses on her family all of the time, and there are simple things that moms like you can do to turn some of your attention to your job and make advancements in the workplace.

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