All posts by Sandra Langel

Whether you are looking for a residential roofer to replace a few shingles or you need a whole new roof, you are probably already aware that there are quite a few out there. You will need to determine which one is the best for the job that needs to be done on your home. To do that, there are several qualities you should look for when you interview them and request a quote.

A residential roofing contractor’s reputation is important. Therefore, when you are looking for a roofer, one of the first things you should do is look at is the reviews that are available for each of the companies that you are considering working with. You should also look for the companies’ standings on the Better Business Bureau website. Keep in mind that no business or person is perfect. It is important to look to see how mistakes are fixed and not just for the company that does not have any issues.

It is also important that your roofer is licensed and insured. While there are many places where it is illegal to hire contractors and roofers that are not licensed and insured, they are still out there looking for your business and your money. Also, keep in mind that, no matter how good of a reputation a company has, if they are not properly licensed or if they do not have the right insurance, then you could end up with bigger problems than just a leaky roof. For example, should a worker get hurt on the job, if the roof repair company is not properly insured, you may have to pay. It is always best to check these things out before signing anything.

There are several other qualities to look for in a roofer, as well. These include timeliness, experience, and guarantees. They are all important when you are looking for a roofer. The company that you choose should be able to complete the job in a decent amount of time. They should also be able to account for any additional time that is needed beyond what you were initially quoted. Probably the best way to ensure that this happens is to hire someone with a good amount of experience. This is because he or she will know how long it will take and what may hold up the job. Before you sign a contract with anyone, be sure to check the warranty that is being offered. You want to know that your investment will last and that you have some recourse if it does not.

You are also advised to never pay the entire cost upfront. If you do so, you run the risk of not having the job completed or if it is done, it may not be done well. The best way to pay is with a credit card. This gives you an additional avenue of assistance if you have problems with the roofer, either before or after the job has been completed.

Radon is a colorless, tasteless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally. It is produced when uranium is broken down and most radon-related deaths are due to radon gas that accumulated in homes when it seeped through cracks in the foundation. Breathing in high levels of radon results in over 20,000 deaths each year and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Those that choose to have their homes tested and find dangerous levels can have a radon abatement system installed in order to remove the danger from the air.

Additionally, up to 1,800 deaths each year are attributed to radon found in the water. This is because high levels of radon can be found in the groundwater that flows through granite or granitic sand and gravel formations. This is true even if you have a private well. However, drinking contaminated water is not the issue. When you use water with high radon levels for showering, washing clothes, and dishes, the radon gas is released into the air and you end up breathing it in.

Only between one and two percent of radon in the air comes from drinking water. However, it attributes to the increased risk of lung cancer over the course of a lifetime. This is especially true if your home already has a dangerous amount of radon. Radon in the water is another reason why testing for the gas and having a radon mitigation system installed is so important.

Moreover, radon that stays in water increases the risk of the development of cancer of the internal organ, primarily stomach cancer. While the risk is less than that of developing lung cancer, if you think there is a problem and your drinking water comes from a private well, you should contact your state in order to ask for a list of laboratories that will perform tests on drinking water in your area. Bear in mind that radon is only a concern if your drinking water comes from underground. Moreover, not all water from underground sources contains radon.

The type of radon remediation system that is installed in your home is based on the type of foundation it has and there are two methods that are used to remove it from water, aeration, and GAC. Aeration treatment is done through the spraying of the water and having it mix with the air. The air is then vented from the water before it is used.

GAC, or granular activated carbon treatment, involves filtering the water so that the radon attaches to the carbon and leaves the water. However, the carbon may require special handling. This is especially true if it is used to combat a high radon level or if it is used for a long period of time.

Whichever one you choose, be sure that the water is treated where it enters your home. This makes it so that all of the water is treated.  It is also important that you maintain the treatment units because if you do not, you can end up with other water contamination issues. It is also important to have your well water tested at least once a year, in order to make sure the problem is under control.

If your windows are drafty or tend to ice over when it gets cold, it may be time to look for new ones, especially if they are over 15 years old. If you have not shopped for new ones in all that time, be aware that you may be a bit overwhelmed by your choices. There are almost 20 different types of replacement windows for you to choose from.

Single and double hung are the most popular and affordable types of replacement windows available. Single hung windows are generally 20% cheaper than their double hung cousins and only allow for the bottom of the window to be opened. Double hung windows allow you to open both the top and bottom and are therefore easier to maintain.

If you are looking for more floor space to go along with your window installation, then try a bay or bow window. Bay is good for more modern homes, while bows are good for older styled homes. Both come out and create a shelf. However, bay windows are much more affordable than bows.  If you are looking for a smaller bay window, then you may want to consider a garden window.

Casement windows are also a popular choice. Instead of sliding open, they open either in or out and therefore allow for a less obstructed view. In addition, they are also excellent when it comes to insulation and ventilation.

Another type of window that you can look into having installed is either a picture window or a transom window. A picture window is great if you have an awesome view and transoms are simply for decoration. Neither opens, so they do not allow for ventilation or escape if there is a fire or other emergency.

In this same category, there are also glass block windows. These allow light to come in, while still maintaining your privacy and are used most often in bathrooms. Again, they do not open, so you cannot get air in or climb out of them.

If you are looking to make a statement with your windows, you can opt for sliding or hoppers. Sliding windows are like mini-sliding glass doors and hoppers crank open from the top. Hoppers are great for smaller rooms and spaces, like a basement.

Sticking to the basement, if you need to replace the windows down there, you can opt for egress windows. They are designed with safety in mind and are installed to allow for an additional exit should one be needed in an emergency.

There are also round windows and arched windows and if that is still not enough selection for you, or you have a space where none of this can or will fit, you can opt to have custom windows made and truly make your home unique.

It is best to take into account the cost of the windows, as well as ease of use and maintenance when deciding the style and type that you would like installed in your home.

A traditional dentist specializes in oral healthcare and preventative care. This type of care includes teeth cleaning, filling cavities, root canals, oral cancer screening, and restorative services. If you are coming in for a checkup or to discuss tooth pain that you are having, you are receiving traditional dental services.

However, a cosmetic dentist is concerned with making you proud of your smile by improving the aesthetics and health of your teeth. This includes procedures such as teeth whitening, bonding, veneers, and straightening. They are not necessarily required for better oral health.

The two primary dental specialties that focus on cosmetic dentistry are prosthodontics and orthodontics. However, endodontics and also periodontics are also involved in aesthetic dentistry. The American Dental Association defines Prosthodontics as the dental specialty that pertains to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation, and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. It defines orthodontics as the specialty that primarily deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of poorly positioned teeth and the jaws.

Endodontics is the specialty that deals with the pulp or soft inner tissue of the teeth and endodontists are specialists in saving teeth which is why they can be considered under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry. Periodontics is the branch of dentistry concerned with the structures surrounding and supporting the teeth. Periodontists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants.

While cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty recognized by the ADA, those in this field are usually a part of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which is the world’s largest and most trusted organization for cosmetic dentistry. There are over 6,000 dental professionals, laboratory technicians, educators, and researchers from 70 countries worldwide that are a part of the AACD.

Those who choose to become members of the AACD receive education and training on the latest procedures, techniques, and products through their publications, lectures, and workshops. This allows members to stay one step ahead of their peers by keeping informed on trends in the market and learning how the latest products and technologies benefit the patient and also support the twin concepts of responsible esthetics and systemic oral health. In addition, when patients choose an AACD member dentist, they know their dental professional cares enough to stay in the forefront of the field of cosmetic dentistry. Therefore, their patients receive the most up-to-date and best care available.

In order to become a member of the AACD, candidates must complete a demanding clinical testing process which includes a written examination, documentation of five specific types of clinical cases, participation in continuing education classes, and passing an oral examination. Then, once a dentist or a laboratory technician has achieved AACD Accreditation, he or she is expected to stay on top of industry trends and technology, in order to bring his or her patients the best care available.

If you are in the market for a new entry door then, be aware, when you go to the store, it may seem as if the employees are speaking a different language. That is because there are many different terms that you need to be aware of when shopping for replacement doors.


When it comes to the makeup of your exterior doors, there are no less than 15 different terms that you need to know in order to ensure that your door installation is done correctly.  They are:

  • Frame— the outer structure that supports the door. It is usually made of wood.
  • Jamb — Vertical side and head trim. It enhances the aesthetics of the frame assembly.
  • Casing — interior trim molding around the door opening. It covers the gap between the frame or jamb and the wall.
  • Stiles— the continuous vertical supports in the door.
  • Rails— the continuous horizontal supports in the door. The one in the middle is known as the lock rail.
  • Panels— the sections of the door that are held in place by the stiles and rails. Can be replaced with glass inserts.
  • Sill— the bottom portion of the frame against which the bottom of the door rests when it is closed. Usually designed to help prevent loss of heat.
  • Bottom Sweep— the adjustable barrier attached to the bottom of the door in order to create an effective barrier against air leakage and drafts.
  • Weatherstripping— a flexible gasket that is designed to ensure a tight seal between the door and the frame when it is closed.
  • Brick Mould— attached to the frame on the outside in order to create a finished overlap on the brick or side that covers the outer portion of your home.
  • Foam core— the insulating agent that is injected into the core of doors made of either steel or fiberglass.
  • Side liteswindows or glass that can be placed on one or both sides of the door. They cannot be opened.
  • Transom – glass window that cannot be opened and is placed above the door.
  • Drip Cap – piece of horizontal molding that is placed above the door in order to divert water away from the door frame.
  • Hinge — metal plate mounted on the door frame. It anchors the door to the frame and allows the door to open and close.

In addition to these terms, you also need to decide what material to have your door made out of, wood, steel, or fiberglass, and which side you would like it to open on, the right or the left. In addition, you also need to decide what type of swing you would like to have included, in or out. Therefore, it is best to do your research beforehand and then enter the store knowledgeable, confident, and ready to buy the door your house deserves. After all, it is the focal point and the first thing people see when they come over.


Kickboxing classes combine elements from boxing, martial arts, and aerobics in order to provide overall physical conditioning and toning. It is designed to challenge both the beginner and the elite athlete. It also helps to build stamina, improve coordination and flexibility, as well as burn calories while you build lean muscle in a fun and challenging workout.

This fitness class incorporates a warm-up and cool down as well as both dynamic and static stretching. In addition, there may be a brief segment devoted to core exercises like crunches and planking. Typical kickboxing classes can run anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. It is a noncontact workout that can burn between 350 and 450 calories an hour.

Since kickboxing is a cardio class, it has a positive impact on your heart. However, since it is high-intensity, high-impact form it is best to start by taking a low-impact aerobics course or less physical form of exercise and work up to a higher level of endurance. Many classes call for intermediate levels of fitness and meet two to three times a week. When you do begin kickboxing, be sure to allow yourself to be a beginner and work at your own pace. Do not overexert yourself to the point of exhaustion.

In addition to asking to observe a class before signing up,  you should also try to avoid classes that move too fast, are too complicated, or do not provide a chance for any individual instruction. Remember that to get the most out of your workout, you should have controlled movement. Do not overextend yourself by kicking too high or locking your arms and legs during movements. This can cause pulled muscles and tendons as well as sprained knees or ankle joints. It is important to start with low kicks until you learn the proper technique, as beginners are more prone to developing injuries while attempting quick, complicated kickboxing moves.

Regardless of your exercise level, it is important to pay attention to how you feel. If the moves are bone crunching or the exact opposite of what the instructors have told you to do, you may want to skip or modify them. Kickboxing is considered a low- or high-impact, high-intensity workout. Also remember to take water breaks when you need them.

Also remember that as with any new activity, it is normal to become frustrated if you have trouble keeping up. However, even if you are unable to follow the instructor’s movements exactly, keep moving to enjoy the benefits of this physical activity. With practice and patience, you will improve. So, do not give up or quit.

Finally, kickboxing is an effective way to relieve stress and frustration because it helps you to release hormones that improve your mood and block feelings of pain. When you regularly attend kickboxing classes, your energy levels will increase and your heart and lungs will perform more efficiently. Regular exercise, including kickboxing, also improves your mood, helps you fall asleep faster, and helps you get better quality sleep.

A study done by the Small Business Association shows that companies with less than 49 employees continue to outpace larger businesses when it comes to job growth. Furthermore, both ADP and The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were able to back up that report. BLS reported that small businesses of this class made up 39 percent of net new jobs and ADP reported a more positive 44 percent when it came to this group of companies.


One of the biggest obstacles that these corporations have is finding suitable office space that is also affordable. Rent is usually expensive, especially in the better-located buildings, amenities are not included and leases are years long. It is no wonder so many entrepreneurs work out of their basements and garages.


However, there is an alternative. If your firm has outgrown the office space in your home or you are tired of working next to the washer while tripping over toys, then you need to look into finding the right executive office.


An executive office suite is a business space that you share with others. You get the office to yourself while everything else is communal. These spaces usually come fully furnished with a dedicated phone line and WIFI already set up. After signing the lease all you have to do is show up ready to work. However, before you go running for the closest one, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure that it is the right fit for you and your organization.


  • Location, location, location. While it might have a nice view or be close to your home, you need to also ensure that it is easily accessible to others. You do not want potential clients to get lost looking for you or not be able to get to you because it is not accessible to mass transportation. Also, if it is in the middle of the mall or a shopping center, you may want to pass. Try to find an office part or similar as the building is the first impression people will get of your company.
  • Find out what is included with your rent. Shared space varies from company to company and building to building. Be sure that the one you choose has what you are looking for before you sign the lease. You need to know if the office is furnished and how often you can use the meeting/conference room. You should also enquire about a shared kitchen and receptionist. This way you will know if you need to stop for coffee and if there will be someone to answer phones and sign for packages.
  • Growth potential. Leases on places like these can be as short as month-to-month and as long as 18 months. Regardless of which one you choose to sign, be sure to find out if you can move within the building should you need more space because you have more employees. This will save you from having to print new business cards because you have to move.


The right place will be more than happy to show you around and answer questions. Good luck.

You have decided to take the leap and make your own butane hash oil using a closed loop butane extractor. Congratulations. With the rise in the popularity of these products, you are not alone. Now, you just have to be sure that you have all of the right equipment and know how to use it. Be aware that there is a hefty upfront cost. This is just an overview. You should read any and all instructions and ask the person you purchased it from for assistance.

In order for your butane extractor to work properly, you need the following parts: Closed-Loop Extractor, Recovery Tank, Recovery Pump, Refrigerant Pump, Refrigerant Scale, CFM Pump, and a Vacuum Oven. You will also need to get certified 99% butane, ground cannabis flower or trim, parchment paper and scraping tools.


Once you have all of your supplies, load the material column and assemble the top cap. Next, you need to tighten any and all bolts. Turn the vacuum on and drop the gas so that you can begin to soak the cannabis in the solvent. Therefore, you will need to pull butane from your recovery tank so that it goes into the material column.


The next step is to determine how much butane the column should be able to hold. This may require some math, but once you figure it out you need to then place the recovery tank on a scale in order to determine its weight.


Before going any further, be sure that each and every valve is closed.


You can now open the liquid valve on the recovery tank and one on the extractor. Be sure to pay attention to the weight on the scale and close the valve on the recovery tank once capacity is reached. Let the cannabis soak for a few minutes.


Once you have finished soaking the weed you need to drop the butane into the collection vessel. In order to evaporate the gas, the vessel has to be in water that is around 80*F. This will help with the recovery.


You now need to open the next valve. Do it slowly and then go on to valve number three. You should also turn on the recovery pump at this time so that it can pull the evaporating solvent from the collection vessel and get it back into the recovery tank. It is important to make sure the tank is kept cold through the entire recovery process.


In order to get a higher yield, you will need to repeat the process. However, you should run the solvent through without soaking before doing it again and then once you have completed the second run.


As a reminder, accidents with a BHO extractor can not only be expensive, but they can be lethal. Therefore, you should keep extra gaskets around because they are known to wear out quickly. When they do, you can have leaks. You should also have equipment available that can measure the butane in the air around you in order to avoid build-up.

While retail packaging has been around for a few hundred years, it was not until the 1970s that it became a marketing tool.  Prior to that, packaging was primarily used to surround and protect products during transportation, distribution, and storage.


After World War II, people began to use more manufactured goods and processed foods.  Competition amongst these products led to businesses using product packaging as a way to entice people to purchase and use their items over similar ones sold by other companies.

One of the most popular types of product packaging is paper.  Paperboard boxes and other types of paper packaging are relied heavily upon because they are the most sustainable types that can be used.  It adds little weight to the item and there is not much to throw out when a person has completed using the product.


Paper packaging is also one of the oldest forms of packaging.  The Chinese have used it since the second century BCE.  Once paper making techniques were improved, it was brought to both Europe and America.  Paper bags were invented in England in 1844 and then an American by the name of Francis Wolle invented the bag-making machine in 1852.  The process was further improved in the 1870s and printed bags came about at the beginning of the 20th century.


While paperboard was invented centuries beforehand by the Chinese, the cardboard box was invented in England in 1817.  Corrugated paper appeared in the 1850s and was useful for shipping and storing.  By 1910, it had completely replaced wooden crates.


Another type of custom packaging product is glass.  While glass has been around since 7000 BCE, it was not industrialized until 1500 BCE and was used to make plates and bowls in 1200 BCE.  In the late 1800s, the first automatic rotary bottle-making machine was patented.  From there, the price of glass containers became economically attractive.  From the early 1900s until the late 1960s glass containers dominated the market for liquid products.  Today, due to their high weight, fragility and cost, they are used primarily for products that have a high-quality image and a desire for high flavor or aroma protection.


Initially, metals were deemed too valuable for common use.  Bohemia developed the process of tin plating in 1200, but kept it a secret.  The secret was stolen in the 1600s and slowly became popular throughout Europe.  During the 1900s, the tin can and tin foil became popular.  Aluminum then replaced tin and prices fell.  More products, mostly foods, took advantage of both the price decline as well as the invention of the can opener and the pop top and began using metal for product packaging.


While metal remains popular, it has been replaced in many markets by plastic.  Plastic was invented in the 19th century for military use.  It was not until the 20th century and several material transformations that it became a popular packaging material.  Today, many packages include both recyclable and recycled plastic material.

Bear in mind that even though you moved in for the amenities that the community offers, as well as the fact that it ensures that there will be no purple houses in the neighborhood, living in a home that is under the reign of an HOA, is not always fun or easy.   Not only do you have to abide by the rules and regulations, you also have to deal with the community association management and the board of directors.  This is true, no matter how much research you do before moving in.  Personalities do not always mesh and people do not always agree.  It is human nature. Homeowners associations are set up the builders.  They are turned over to a volunteer board of homeowners as soon as all the units are sold. Those volunteers are then made responsible for making sure facilities are maintained, dues are collected and rules are enforced.  If it becomes too overwhelming, they can contract some of the responsibilities out to an HOA management company.  It has been reported that more than two-thirds of HOAs hire property management companies.   Knowing that those in charge are your neighbors volunteering to help, there are a number of things that you can do in order to make living in an HOA more bearable.  First and foremost, if you have an issue with another resident take it up with that person and try to resolve it with him or her before getting the board of directors or the property manager involved.  Only if the two of you cannot reach an agreement should others be involved.   Another thing that you can do is be proactive.  Even if you do not want to be on the board, be willing to volunteer and do what is necessary to keep the neighborhood great.  This may include rallying your neighbors in order to get the board to at least look at, if not change a rule that you do not like or does not work for your community anymore.  Like the rest of the country, your HOA is a democracy, make it work that way.   Be willing to compromise.  The last thing you, the board, or the property manager wants is to end up in court.  Not only is it monetarily costly, it can also cost you friends and cause a rift in the neighborhood as people take sides.  Furthermore, it puts the entire community in a bad light.   Finally, in order to peacefully live in an HOA, the easiest thing you can do is to follow all rules and procedures.  If you are not sure how to do so, ask.  That is what the board and HOA management are there for, to answer your questions so that you are fully informed and can follow the rules and procedures.  While this may not always be easy, you will find that when you do need or want something, it will be easier to obtain.
It is a common problem.  Either you get tangled in the cords or the cords get tangled with themselves, similar to the way your earphones get tangled in your pocket.  If this is true of your blinds or shades, then you know how frustrating it can be.  If that is not enough, you also have to worry about your pets and children getting caught in the cords and for them, it can be deadly.  So many children have suffocated on blind cords that many of the big name companies have vowed to eliminate them by 2018.   While there are kits and other remedies that can be taken in the meantime, it is more beneficial to replace the blinds with motorized ones due to the additional benefits that they offer.  In addition, motorized window treatments are not much more expensive than that of traditional blinds and are often battery powered or easy to install.   If cost is an issue, be aware that installing motorized blinds or shades increases your property value.  Therefore, if you are thinking about selling your home anytime in the near future, this may be an investment worth making due to the return that you will make. Motorized blinds are especially convenient for those hard to reach windows as well as for homes that have walls of windows that face the sun.  With the click of a button, you can reduce both the amount of sun that comes into your home and therefore, your energy bill, even if you are not home.   Furthermore, many motorized window coverings can be programmed to go up and down at designated times during the day.  Additionally, there are versions that come with sun sensors which activate the blinds and have them come down when the sun is at its peak and then gradually go up as the light diminishes.  This allows you to use any room in your home without having to worry about glares or having your home furnishings fade.   There are many different types of motorized window coverings on the market today including honeycomb shades that increase insulation and protect you and your home from harmful UV rays.  You can also choose to install motorized blackout roller shades for maximum privacy in the bedrooms and bathrooms.  You can couple either choice with a light sheer for added beauty. Furthermore, there is a plethora of gorgeous fabric choices and styles you can choose from and the product installs and programs seamlessly.  Even the remotes are cute.   Many motorized blind choices come with an app and can be controlled with a smartphone.  This is not only handy, it also is an excellent security measure.  Being able to adjust your blinds from anywhere in the world will enable you to make it look like there is someone home when the house is empty.  Just be sure to program the blinds to open and close at random times if you are going to be away for an extended period.    
When it comes to motorcycle safety, knowledge is just as important as the helmet and gear that you wear when you ride.  There are a number of fallacies that continue to circle through the motorcycle community no matter how well and often they are dis proven.  Knowing what is true and what is not can ultimately save your life. Probably one of the most popular misconceptions out there is when bike riders are told that loud pipes can save their lives.  Actually, statistics prove that the exact opposite is true.  The more noise your bike projects, the more likely you are to end up in a crash.  It is unknown whether this is due to the cocky attitude of the driver of the Honda motorcycle, or is a result of car drivers becoming aggressive when they hear a loud bike.  What is known is that loud clothing that is brightly colored is more likely to keep you safe when you are out on the road. Another popular tale that involves motorcycles is when drivers say that it is best to lay the bike down if you are in a crash.  In fact, this is usually attributed to someone trying to save face.  It is better to try and slow down as much as possible before impact or to get thrown over the car and avoid impact than to end up wedged underneath it.  An interesting tidbit that other drivers may not want to believe, or like, is that weaving through traffic, also known as splitting lanes is safer than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. There are also several popular myths associated with the use of helmets.  None of them are true.  Helmets do not break necks, block your ability to see and hear, or leave you as a vegetable when you should have been dead.  In fact, statistics show that bikers that wore helmets suffered less neck injury due to the energy absorbing nature of the helmet. Furthermore, helmets cut down on noise making it so that the driver can see and hear better, which in turn, also reduces fatigue and reduces the likelihood of a crash.  Additionally, statistics clearly show that riders using DOT helmets survive crashes more successfully than those without them regardless of the severity of the impact.  Moreover, those that suffer from brain damage due to a crash likely were not wearing a helmet.  While a helmet does protect your head, it cannot and does not protect the rest of your body.  Injuries sustained there often lead to death and the fact that the rider did or did not sustain a head injury is inconsequential. Finally, while practice and skill are important, they are no substitute for common sense.  No matter how skilled you are, it is more important to ride and try to avoid situations that can turn ugly. In other words, slow down, scan the road ahead, and think strategically. In addition, dress for the crash with a helmet and leather covering your body and always ensure that all of the motorcycle parts are in working order.
You’ve been dating long enough to know that you want to spend the rest of your life with your significant other.  You know the best and the worst about her.  You have met her family and her friends and were stealth about finding out her ring size.  You went to your favorite jewelry store and picked out an engagement ring setting you think will be perfect.  Now, you only need to pick out the perfect loose diamonds as a centerpiece to finish it off.  Then, you will get down on one knee and propose.   Picking out loose diamonds may seem difficult, however, it is easier than picking out the most romantic place and then summing up the courage to ask the one you love if they share your feelings and want to be with you forever.  You just need a bit of an education on carats, color, cut, and clarity before you head back to the jeweler to complete the most important purchase of your life. First and foremost, you need to determine what budget you have to work with.  After selecting the setting, how much money do you have left over from the, at least, two months’ salary you saved up for this special purchase to buy loose diamonds to place in it?  This will help you determine how many carats the diamonds will be.  That is because the number of carats a diamond has usually helps to determine its price.  The more carats, the more money the loose diamonds will cost.   After you have selected the right sized loose diamonds for the setting, you need to ensure that it is the right shape and that the cut of the loose diamonds allow them to truly sparkle when they are hit by the light.  The more brilliance or reflected light that loose diamonds give off, the better the cut.  Therefore, you may be able to purchase lower carat loose diamonds with a better cut and therefore, save some money.   After carats and cuts, the next important factor is the color of the loose diamonds that you choose.  There are a number of colors to choose from and you have to decide which go best with the setting you picked out and which color she will like the most.  While colorless, or white is the most popular, you can get diamonds in just about every color imaginable.   Finally, when selecting loose diamonds for an engagement ring, there is clarity.  This is last on the list because the setting and the naked eye tend to hide minor imperfections that are found in most diamonds.  So, unless your soon to be fiancée is a gemologist, you do not have to worry too much about the clarity of the ring.  However, be sure not to purchase loose diamonds that appear to be cloudy or do not sparkle as brightly as you would like.   Regardless of which loose diamonds you select to go along with the setting, she is sure to love it and will look down on it with joy for many years to come.
If you thought that metal roofs were only for barns, then you have been smelling the hay for too long.  Today, metal roofing comes in a variety of styles and colors that can transform the look of your home, or fit in with the current look of your house, if that is what you choose.
  • Made of lightweight stone granule-coated steel, this clay tile looking roof gives you the Mediterranean-style home you desire without the weight that many homes cannot handle structurally.  In addition, it is much easier to walk on.  The scalloped roofing panels come in almost 20 colors.
  • Faux Asphalt. If you like or need the look of asphalt, then consider stone coated steel instead.
  • Slate looking metal roofing is made of an Alunar coating system that is embedded with a Teflon surface.  It is durable and both easier to install and much lighter than slate tiles.
  • Using copper roofing tiles allows you to use metal while still being “green.”  That is because it is 100% recyclable.  Over time, copper will patina and develop and aged finish.  There are a variety of styles to choose from when it comes to copper roofing including diamond and slate looks.  You can choose 12, 16, or 20-ounce tiles.
  • Steel roofs come in over 10 colors and you can get a steel roof that looks exactly like wood shakers but does not need the same upkeep.  Furthermore, steel roofs are made of 30% recycled material and can be completely recycled when replacement becomes necessary.
  • Diamond patterns. You can add a bit of sophistication to your home by installing a diamond patterned metal roof.  It comes in a variety of colors and textures.
  • Standing seam. This narrow, vertical seamed roof has an attachment flange that covers the adjacent panel.  This makes for a clean look and ensures protection from inclement weather.  Standing seam roofs offer a classic-style roof that is perfect for a range of home styles, including both traditional and modern.  They are designed for longevity against the weather.
  • Batten seam. Batten seam roofing adds texture and makes a home visually interesting.  This type of roof is available in over 30 colors and includes matching trim options.
  • Designed to resemble wood shingles, metal shingle-style roofing is available in nine colors. This product has a heavy grain texture as well as a durable coating.  Furthermore, each shingle has interlocking edges on all four sides.  Each shingle is nailed to the roof surface in order to provide superior protection.
  • Barrel vault. This stone coated metal roof is designed to look like concrete without the weight.  It provides better protection from the weather than clay and cement tile roofs.
  If you are in the market for a new roof because you current one is in need of extensive repairs or because you are building a new home, ask your roofing contractor what metal roofing options are available.
If you are looking to replace your current window treatments with new custom window treatments and are unsure as to where to begin, your best bet is to get blinds or shades for your windows.  There are many options when it comes to these two types of window coverings and if you want to spruce them up, then you can add a valance or curtains or drapes.   When it comes to custom window treatments, you cannot go wrong with blinds.  You can tilt the slats to let the light in or keep it out.  There are several different materials that blinds are made from including vinyl, aluminum, faux wood (or textured vinyl) and wood.  Vinyl blinds are the least expensive type.  Wood blinds are not recommended for kitchens or bathrooms since the moisture and temperatures can warp them.  Blinds can be easily wiped clean and usually need to be dusted weekly.   Another option when it comes to blinds is insulated blinds.  While more expensive, they help to conserve energy and can also filter or block light.  Regardless of the type of material you choose, you also have to decide whether you want vertical or horizontal slats.  Vertical blinds are generally for sliding glass doors, picture windows and windows that are short and wide.  Horizontal blinds help to create the illusion of bigger windows and more space in apartments and small rooms. If you have small children, you may want to enquire with your salesperson about cordless blinds.  The cords of some blinds have become choking hazards.  If cordless is not an option, there are kits available to ensure your children do not get entwined.   There are six major types of blinds.  Each type is stylish and versatile and allows you to create different looks and moods.  They are warmer and softer than blinds, but are a bit more difficult to clean.  Vinyl shades can be taken down and hand washed, while shades made out of fabrics will need to be professionally cleaned.  
  • Woven wood or bamboo shades are best for sunny areas. They filter out the sun and give the room a natural look.
  • Tight weaves like twill and micro suede are best for bedrooms because they are opaque and offer optimal privacy.
  • Roman shades are them dressiest and best for living and dining rooms. They billow out like a balloon.  The soft, wide pleats fold flat when you raise the cord.
  • Honeycomb or cellular shades are the most energy efficient. They have horizontal rows of air pockets that keep the warm air out in the summer and in during the winter months.
  • Blackout shades are best for bedrooms and family rooms. They keep out 100% of the light that tries to get in.  They are more expensive than regular shades.
  • Solar shades let light in, but keep UV rays out.
  Regardless of what type of custom window treatments you decide upon for your home, be sure to have the windows professionally measured so that they fit correctly.
If you have been told by your dentist or orthodontist that you need braces to fix a malocclusion such as an over or underbite or because your teeth are crooked or crowded, do not despair.  Even if you are an adult, you are not alone.  Many people before you have worn braces and made it through.  In fact, after the process, they were able to smile bigger and prettier than ever before. Aside from the fact that adults over the age of 18 are the biggest growing group going to the orthodontist and getting braces, there are a large number of celebrities who have rocked a metal mouth during their time in the spotlight.  
  • Tom Cruise. He got braces in 2002 at the age of 40.  His antics and movies since then have made it so few people remember this period of his life.
  • Gwen Stefani. She got braces in 1999 at the age of 30.  If you did not notice them when she was the lead singer of the band No Doubt, it may have been because she also had pink hair at the time.
  • Faith Hill. She was 45 when she had to have braces for a second time because she did not wear her retainer and her teeth shifted.  Like Tom Cruise, she opted for ceramic braces.  Ceramic braces are the same color as your teeth, so they are less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
  • Katherine Heigl sported clear aligners for a time, as did Justin Bieber. While they usually go by the name Invisalign, they are not recommended for everyone.  These clear trays that are custom made for your mouth come out when you eat, brush and floss.  In addition, they are also changed every two weeks or so.  However, they are usually only used to fix minor shifting, therefore, you need to ask your orthodontist if you qualify to use them.
  • Miley Cyrus and Kate Middleton also had braces for some time. However, you may not have noticed because they had lingual braces.  That is where the brackets are placed on the back or tongue side of the teeth so that they are less noticeable.  While more people qualify for this than Invisalign, it is often more expensive.  Therefore, not only do you have to ask if you qualify for it, you need to find out if your insurance company will cover it or if you can pay the additional cost yourself.
  Regardless of the type of braces you get, treatment usually takes up to two years and a retainer needs to be worn for the rest of your life to ensure that your teeth do not shift again.  In addition, you cannot chew gum, eat gummy, hard or seedy foods while under an orthodontist’s care as this could result in the brackets being dislodged.  Furthermore, it is recommended that you brush your teeth after each meal and floss once a day.  Whitening products are not recommended while wearing braces as it may result in you having two-tone teeth when the brackets are removed.