Finding the right family car.

Sponsored post.

I come from a large family. Dad, four younger siblings, one sister-in-law, and a nephew. Oh, plus one more niece or nephew coming along. I also come from a family who loves to travel together. Road trip is what we prefer more than anything else.

That’s the foremost reason why we are now in search of the right family car. We want a big one, preferably an SUV. It would be easy to pick a van but Dad would also want to be able to buy a car which he can use when he’s traveling alone. But, of course, we couldn’t pick just any SUV out there. We need to know if it will suit our needs and our budget.

2016 Chevrolet Suburban
2016 Chevrolet Suburban

To avoid making mistakes, we decided that we need to list down what we need/want in a family car and find the right one before we make a final choice. Cars.com comes in to the rescue! The site has every information needed on new and used cars, trucks for sale and auto reviews. What I like about the site the most is every car make or body style can be found there together with specs and reviews as well as service centers and dealers. Exactly what we need to know before making a final choice on what SUV to buy.

We are down to a 2017 Ford Everest and a 2016 Chevrolet Suburban. Now, we only need to list down the specs and read the extensive reviews, do the comparisons. And decide!

The Ultimate Small Business Guide To Routers

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If you own any sort of small business it is likely that you will be using a wired or wireless router to connect all of your employees to the web. These devices have been in use for some time and connect your business network to a wide area network (WAN) which then provides the Internet service. There are so many types of routers available that it can be overwhelming.

It is important that you select a router that meets your needs and it is wise to get some help with this from Netstar. You will get fully managed proactive and reactive IT support. You will not be left struggling to find your own technology solutions to improve your business processes. The fully managed IT service will help you to achieve your business goals. There is nothing more frustrating than struggling with a poor WiFi connection so here are some of the things that you need to think about.

Your need for speed

This starts with your Internet service provider (ISP). The more users you have and the bigger the sets of data that you need to upload and download, the faster you need your service to be. If your business uses video or audio streaming you need more speed but if you are simply sending emails and browsing the web your requirements will be less.

There are cost implications. A service with a higher speed will cost more per month. Also, routers that can handle higher bandwidth cost more. Have a frank discussion with your ISP about what speed of service you need. Then you need to invest in a router that will handle at least that speed.

There is no point in paying a high monthly fee to your ISP for a fast service if your routers cannot handle it. How many users can your router support and what sort of data can it handle?

Choose your WAN port

Your ISP should also tell you what type of WAN port you will need. This is the way in which you make the connection to their system. How critical is online access for your business? If it would be an utter disaster if you lost your internet connection even for an hour or so, you should ask for a second ISP for backup service. When you do this, you will need a router with two or more WAN ports.

LAN ports on your router

The number of LAN Ethernet ports and their speed are other things that you need to consider. These ports are vital because they are network’s connection to the Internet. It is the gateway to your business. You will probably find that most routers have up to four LAN ports. However, you do have more options. You could connect an LAN port to a network switch to expand the number of connections that you have available for PCs or printers.

Speed is also an issue here. Whilst the most common LAN ports on routers run at 10/100 megabits per second (Mbps), it is possible to get 1000 Mbps Ethernet network speeds. Think about what your business will need in the future. You may not need these faster speeds now, but if you are likely to need them in the next year or so it makes sense to invest in them early on.

Setting Up a VPN in your business

Are you likely to need to access your network from outside your main business premises? If you think that this is a possibility, you may need a virtual private network capability in your router. It is vital that you ensure that the router you choose will support the protocol you want to use for your VPN. There are several options for you to choose from including IPsec, PPTP and L2TP.

Security of your router

Cyber security is the big issue in IT right now and is likely to be for the next decade. You have a duty to protect your systems from cyber-attacks. Sadly, you will be the target of an attack at some stage so you must take steps to protect yourself.

The router is your network’s first line of defence against such attacks. You must make sure that a hardware firewall is built into the model that you choose. If you can afford it, you should invest in a model with full unified threat management (UTM). This is vital if your business has compliance requirements relating to cyber security.

USB ports

USB ports are needed to connect your router with other devices. The more sophisticated routers may have print spoolers so that you can better manage print jobs. USB ports are also used to connect to hard disks and flash drives and are used to share files. However, some business-grade routers will not have USB ports. If you need this facility you will need to get a NAS device for network storage.

Managed or unmanaged?

This is up to you. Most small business networks don’t use managed routers but that does not mean that your particular small business does not need one. If the quality of service needs to be managed in a way that prioritizes certain types of traffic then you will probably be better off having a managed router. Unmanaged routers are already preconfigured to handle common traffic and will handle most things that you throw at it.

Wired routers vs wireless routers

There is no doubt that wireless routers are much more popular than wired-only routers. However, there are certainly some business circumstances where a wired version would be preferable.

If your business location has a total area of less than about 2,000 square feet, then you will probably find that a single wireless router will successfully deliver Wi-Fi to all of your employees. You will need to take interference conditions (walls and obstacles) and the number of users into consideration.

On the other hand, if your business premises has multiple floors, router placement complications or is extremely large, a wireless may not be able to cope and a wired option would be preferable.

Looking like a sensational diva!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

You don’t need to look tired and worn out when going out with friends on a Friday night after office hours. You can still look fresh and sensational by just adding up something to your everyday office look. Let me enumerate a few ways to change your look when going out on a date or with friends for drinks after work.

Sexy Top

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I must admit that this is the easiest way to up the ante to your work day look. I often bring an extra top with me on Fridays to make sure that I am ready to party the night away with friends after work. I just have to change my top into something sexy and voila! Ready to party the night away.

Gorgeous Locks

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This is something new that I learned a couple of months ago. Instead of taking so much time styling your hair differently for a night out, I found that using a wig is so much easier and less time-consuming. In the beginning, I thought that wearing a wig, putting it, would be difficult but I found one that is easy to use and easy on the pocket. My find: a Sensational Instant Weave Glam Series half wig – Lena from Divatress, a company that offers not only wigs but also hair care products. It is 100% premium fiber wig which you can style in 60 seconds. What I like about using a wig is that it not only adds to the beauty level of a woman but it also adds some mystery to a woman’s persona.

Bouncy, wavy, gorgeous locks of hair at night… it is an instant wow factor for a woman out at night!

Night-time Make Up

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Smoky or glittery eye shadow. A darker shade of lipstick. And heavier make-up. That’s an idea for a night-time look for a woman about to have some after-work fun.

There are so many other ways to change your look when you are about to go out and have fun. The three I mentioned are just the basic ones. What else have you thought of?

Who To Hire When Buying A New Home?

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Buying a new home needn’t be a complicated process. In fact, there are plenty of professionals who can be hired to guide you along. Here are just a few people you may wish to looking into.

Estate agents

Whilst there are plenty of listing sites and independent sellers on the internet, estate agents can come in handy for helping to take away a lot of the stress. When selling your old home, estate agents can help to market it in the best light. They can also arrange visits whilst you’re at work or out of the house. They will take some commission from the sale but this can often be worth it for those struggling to sell their home (you can also often negotiate rates). Generally estate agents won’t charge buyers, although there are some shifty realtors that do – something worth asking about first.

Surveyors

Surveyors can be used to check that a property is in good condition. This can be useful for checking that there aren’t any expensive repairs around the corner. Whilst mortgage lenders will generally do a valuation of the home you’re moving into, this is not the same as a survey – they will only be checking that the price matches the property and not looking out for any potential damage that may need repairing.

Solicitors

Home-buying solicitors (or conveyancers as they’re commonly known) are needed to transfer the legal ownership of the property. Whilst you can do this yourself, there’s so much legal paperwork required and so many implications if it is incorrect that it’s almost always worth handling a professional. You may be able to hire a conveyancer from a local law firm or from a specialist conveyancer company. Don’t be afraid to negotiate rates.

Moving companies

It’s possible to move all your belongings yourself by hiring a van, but if you’ve got lots of possessions, you’ll be taking lots of trips back and forth. Moving companies can shift your stuff quickly and efficiently. There are long distance moving companies for those that are travelling across the country. There are even specialist overseas companies. Some removals companies will be able to provide a packing kits including cardboard boxes and bubble wrap and other useful materials.

Mortgage brokers

If you haven’t decided on a mortgage yet, it could be worth hiring a mortgage broker to help you try and find the best deal. These brokers can do research for you and advise on the best mortgage company for you. It’s possible that through relationships with multiple lenders that they may be able to get you a special deal that you wouldn’t find on the high street. They may also be able to accommodate for low credit ratings or specialist properties. Estate agents can help to recommend local brokers and may be able to get you a deal.

Crazy For Computers? Make It Into Your Livelihood

It’s easy to tell whether or not you’re a computer person or not. If you get excited when your machine has problems, instead of feeling dread, this field is probably a good fit for you. Or, if you like to tinker with your computer in your spare time, you might love a job in IT. Securing a role in this sector isn’t as easy as you might think, though. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the steps you’ll have to take on your journey to the perfect job in computing.

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To start this adventure, it can be best to look for a job related to the field. This first job doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. It can be an entry-level job which doesn’t pay too much. This will help you to start building valuable experience for when you start to look for jobs which are a little more in-line with your dreams. A lot of people don’t realise how important experience is. Employers will expect at least a year or so of working in the world of computing before they will take you on for better jobs.

Once you’ve found a job to satisfy your immediate needs, you can start to look for ways to do some studying alongside it. You will have to dedicate yourself to your work and studies if you plan to do this. It could be hard to use so much of your spare time for studies. But, they will make it much easier to get into a good job. In fact, getting a qualification like an online Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems degree may only take a year or two. But, it could knock over a decade from the time you’d spend working your way up without it.

After you’ve been working for a couple of years on your job and your studies, you’ll be ready to start looking for something a little better. There is a vast variety of jobs you can get in this field, but the roles you look at will mostly depend on the qualification you got. You could find yourself working as a network engineer, solving problems for businesses and individuals on a daily basis. Or, you could look into something like game design, if you are more creative. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.

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Of course, you could take a riskier route. Working for yourself in IT can mean skipping all of the hard work you’d have to do in a normal job. You will still have to work extremely hard, though. If you make the right moves in business, it’s possible to be very successful in just a matter of years. This will give you a lot more freedom than working for someone else. To pay for this, you’ll have to take on some added risk.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start following your passion for computing. Not a lot of people realise how easy it is to change your path in life. If your job isn’t satisfying your needs, it’s best to try and find something else. It’s never too late.

Looking After Your Liver

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Our liver helps to flush out toxins from our body. When it stops functioning properly, these toxins build up inside of us and slowly damage the rest of our body. Incidents of liver disease are on the rise and so are liver disease related death. Here’s how you can look after your liver and live longer.

Drink less alcohol

It should be no surprise that booze is the biggest culprit when it comes to liver damage. Every time our liver has to process alcohol, a few cells die. In the case of large amounts of alcohol, more cells get killed off. Our liver is one of the few organs that can fully regenerate, but it needs abstinence to do that – or at least a lower intake.

Generally, the odd drink won’t do any lasting damage. Irregular binging is likely to do more damage than regular consumption in small amounts. One drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men is the recommended safe amount.

For those that feel that they may have an alcohol dependency, there are plenty of services out there such as AA groups and therapy sessions that can help you curb the bad habit. For going full cold turkey, you may even be able to book yourself into an addiction treatment centre. Admitting to oneself that there’s a problem is never easy – friends and family are usually the best judges.

Drink more water

Drinking lots of water helps our bodies to flush out toxins more easily. This is because our blood is thicker when we don’t have enough water (toxins are sent to our liver through our blood and so will reach our liver more slowly if the blood is thicker and flowing more slowly). Men are recommended 3 litres of fluid a day, which equates to 13 cups, whilst women are recommended 2.2 litres (9 cups).

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Eat less fat

Eating too much fat is thought to be a major cause of liver damage – if not more so than alcohol abuse. In fact, up to a third of the population is thought to suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – largely associated with being overweight.

Regularly going over your daily calorie limit will cause this fatty build up, although you can counteract this with regular exercise. In fact, staying active not only burns off calories but increases blood pressure, causing blood circulate more quickly to the liver where it can be cleaned out of toxins.

Saturated fats as found in French fries and burgers are among some of the worst offenders for fatty liver disease. More natural fats will be easier for your body to process and have less of a negative impact on your liver.

Eat more nuts

Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for cell regrowth. This can help to combat liver damage. Almonds are one of the best sources of the vitamin. Peanuts can also be a great way of getting this nutrient, but you should watch out for those sold in bars as the salt can often counteract any positive health qualities.

Other foods that are rich in vitamin E include spinach, pumpkin, asparagus, red peppers, mango and avocado. For those that have a vitamin E deficiency, there are supplements out there that might be able to help you get your daily dose. This vitamin is important not only for liver repair, but healing and your immune system in general, so a deficiency shouldn’t be ignored.

Fizzle out fizzy drinks from your diet

Too much sugar can eventually take its toll on the liver. This risk is increased through fizzy sugary drink consumption with one fizzy drink a day linked to fatty liver disease (as you can imagine, soda and spirits is therefore the worst thing you can do to your liver).

By drinking less fizzy drinks and more water you can stop the occasional lemonade or coke from having any negative effect. Sugar-free soda alternatives may be healthier in some respects, although research has shown that artificial sugars can stay trapped in the liver and gut for longer as your body doesn’t know how to efficiently flush them out. A glass of non-fizzy fresh fruit juice might be a better alternative is you’re craving a sugar kick.

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Stub out your smoking habit

There isn’t a single part of your body that smoking isn’t bad for and this remains true for the liver. Nicotine raises fat levels in the blood, which makes the liver have to work much harder to get rid of toxins. Quitting could decrease the fat content in your blood, making your liver function at its full potential and lowering the risk of fatty liver disease.

Other things that can damage your liver

There are other things that should be used in moderation to keep your liver happy. If you often reach for paracetemol whenever you have a headache, this could be taking its toll on your liver. Whilst the exact effects are unknown, it’s thought to be the chemicals that the liver has a hard time processing (overdosing on paracetemol will cause immediate liver failure).

Various herbal foods and medicines can also be worth taking in moderation. Everything from kava kava (used to treat menopause symptoms) to green tea has been found to damage the liver when overindulged in.

Largely you should be careful of ingesting too much vitamin A. This is generally found in brightly coloured vegetables, but it’s more likely you’ll suffer an overdose from taking vitamin A supplements.

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