Cleaning Up Your Backyard in Time for Summer

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Over the winter, your backyard can become somewhat neglected. You probably aren’t using it as much, so you don’t pay as much attention. On top of that, the colder weather is likely to leave your landscaping looking a little raggedy and it can take a while to recover. When spring starts to arrive and you begin to think about using your backyard more, it’s a good time to think about getting it ready in time for summer. You won’t necessarily be able to make it look beautiful right away, but you can definitely start to clean up and prepare the space for the summer months.

Do the following things to get your backyard ready in time for summer and you’ll be able to enjoy everything that it has to offer.

Start By Tidying Up

Your backyard might look a bit of a mess after the winter months. It can end up covered in various debris or maybe you even have various furniture, tools, and other things that have been left lying around. If you’ve experienced storms over the winter, it might have caused a mess in your backyard, too. So the first thing that you can do is tidy up and start putting things in their rightful place. There might be some things that you choose to get rid of if you no longer want or need them in your backyard.

Pick Up Old Leaves and Branches

One of the reasons your backyard might look pretty messy is that there could be old leaves, branches, and other vegetation lying around. This might be left over from the fall and winter if you haven’t had time to clean it up. Collecting it all and throwing it out can immediately refresh your yard and make it look a lot better. You can often use this stuff to make compost or mulch, which you can then use to help grow a beautiful new lawn or garden. But if not, you can use a natural refuse service to take it away.

Clean Paving and Decking

If you have any paving or decking, it can get very grubby during the winter. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to start cleaning up and make it look like new again. Take a look at this pavers cleaning guide to help you get started with how to clean your paving. Pressure washing is often the fastest and most effective way of getting everything as clean as you want it to be. You just blast off the dirt, moss, weeds, and other things that might be making your paving or decking look untidy. You can reveal the true color underneath and immediately have a better-looking backyard.

Take Care of Your Lawn

If your backyard has a lawn, you should start to assess its health in spring so you can get it ready for summer. There are lots of things you can do to improve the health of your lawn and help it look good as it starts to get warmer. By the time summer arrives, you can have a beautiful green lawn for your kids to play on, for your dog, or just for you to enjoy looking at.

Some of the things you should be doing include aerating the soil, seeding to fill in any bare patches, and fertilizing to help with growth.

Weed and Prune

When you’re dealing with weeds in your backyard, you need to find ways to remove them without harming other plants. You could choose to pull up some weeds by hand or you might use a weed treatment to kill them off. You can also prevent weeds from occurring in different places by, for example, treating your paving or using mulch around your plants. Pruning is a good task for your backyard spring cleaning too. It will allow you to cut back on anything overgrown and can also encourage growth in the plants you want to flourish in the summer.

Fill Out Your Landscaping

Your backyard can look kind of bare after the winter. Hopefully, it starts to regrow when spring arrives, but you might have to give it a helping hand. Spring is the right time to start thinking about planting new things and adding to your landscaping so your backyard will be in full bloom when summer arrives. You might want to replant any plants that didn’t last the winter or anything new that has caught your eye.

Get started on cleaning your backyard and you can be prepared for summer, with a relaxing space that you can use however you want.

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3 Reasons to Develop a More Physically Active Lifestyle (Other Than Heath)

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If you took a random poll of people in the street, probably very nearly everyone would tell you that regular exercise is good for health. It’s just something that we all tend to understand.

But not all of the benefits of exercise are health benefits. There are many ways in which living a more physically active lifestyle can help individuals to thrive, and there are many ways in which living a more sedentary life can be detrimental.

Here are some reasons to develop a more physically active lifestyle, other than health.

You’ll almost certainly feel more upbeat as a result

Being physically active on a regular basis, and moving around a lot, can work wonders with regards to helping to elevate your mood.

According to the psychologist Kelly McGonigal, physical activity actually causes certain molecules to be released from the muscles that are known colloquially as “hope molecules”, due to their ability to promote feelings of hope, optimism and well-being.

These “hope molecules” are different to the endorphins that are already well known to promote feelings of wellbeing.

There’s also evidence to suggest that the number of steps you get each day can impact your sense of wellbeing quite significantly, with more steps — up to a certain point — contributing to greater overall feelings of positivity.

In your own life, there’s a good chance that you can think of a number of examples of times when you were stuck indoors not moving around very much — and it’s likely that you didn’t feel too great during these periods of time.

By contrast, many people have experienced the feeling of an elevated mood after going for a stroll.

Your sense of potential and personal agency can increase

Physically active pastimes and activities can help to promote a heightened sense of personal agency and potential, instead of leaving you feeling as though life is just something that “happens to you” without your input.

By getting onto a consistent and committed weightlifting routine, for example, and supporting your workouts with good food and potentially supplements from a company like steelsupplements.com, you can begin noticing changes in how you look and feel relatively quickly.

This, then, can help to support your sense of being able to achieve things and to move towards valued goals of yours.

Depending on the activities you’re doing, you may become more capable in other areas of life

Certain forms of physical activity can have the great effect of helping you to become more capable in other areas of your life, such as by making it easier for you to move around in a dynamic way, or even to carry the groceries.

With many people experiencing chronic stiffness in certain muscle groups, and bad posture as well, practices such as yoga and Pilates can have the potential to make a real difference to everyday mobility.

By developing your flexibility and core strength through these kinds of practices, you may find that you’re able to do a lot more — a lot more comfortably — on an everyday basis.

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How To Change Your Life

Are you living in a way that allows you to chase the dream? Whatever that dream may be, you have to strive, work, and plan to make sure that your ambitions and goals become a reality. There is nothing wrong with this. Daydreaming could be a sport, and while there are lots of conventional methods to change your life, it might be your time to do something a little different.

You want changes that you make to your life to be meaningful, but you don’t have to do them all at once. For example, one of the main changes you might like to make in your life is to upgrade your car from the rickety one you currently drive to a lush sports car. You might use resources like Edmunds to help you to decide whether your dream car really is a dream, or whether your budget really can afford it. Either way, consider your end goal like a tree.

There is no road with rocks in the way to stop you getting where you need to go. There is just you at the base of the tree, and your goal at the top. To get to your goal you first have to plan (climbing the trunk) and then you have to find the right combination of branches to swing across to where your goal and end game will be. A branch may break but there are always more branches to grab onto. Here are some of the best ways you could upgrade your life now.

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  • Read more. You may not think that reading more is a way to change your life, but knowledge is power. Consuming different types of media, diving into books in the library, discovering what you truly are passionate about and going for it, can all be determined by the things that you read. When you read, you learn, you change.
  • Learn and overcome your mistakes. We do a lot of stupid stuff when we’re growing up. The things that you may have done 10 years ago don’t always reflect the person that you are right now. Own the mistakes you made growing up, learn to be at peace with them, learn to meditate and focus on those mistakes so you can let them go and move on. That’s a pretty powerful way to upgrade your thinking.
  • Take back your time. Instead of indulging in this hustle culture we all seem to be attracted to, learn to say no. If you want to be able to put in more effort with your time and be more productive, go for it. But if you recognise mentally and physically that your body needs to rest, just say no and learn to rest. This is a powerful way to upgrade your life, because you’re taking ownership of who you are and you are letting the world know that you are finally standing up for yourself.
  • Chase your dream job. Right now you might be in a low-level position (or even a high-level position) but it may not be your dream job. This could be the job that you’re doing to help you to pay for all the things that will help you to capture your dream. Never say to yourself that you cannot do something, because if not now, when?
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Surviving my credit card debts

I took up Accountancy in college. After graduation, I reviewed for the board examinations and, fortunately, passed the board to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I managed to land a job at a prestigious accounting firm. But prestigious doesn’t translate to a high-paying job. My salary was minimum wage that time.

I made a promise to my parents that I would help send my siblings to school. So when I began working for the accounting firm, I would give most of my salary for my siblings tuition fees. Maybe, you would ask yourselves how I managed to help when I was barely making enough for myself. Well, credit card companies began calling one after another, offering pre-approved credit cards with close to three times my take-home pay. I accepted three credit cards, and managed to drown myself with debts in the process!

I juggled payments. It still boggles my mind how I managed to do that during the early years of my credit card debts. I managed to dodge collection letters and calls by paying the minimum amount due of the three cards. But as you all probably know by now, paying the minimum is like trying to stay afloat in a quicksand. It will slowly eat you alive.

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For those of you in the same predicament I was in, let me help you through these three steps I did in order to survive and, eventually, get out of my credit card debts.

Compromise. Talk to the collection department of the credit card companies, tell them that you are willing to discuss the ballooning amount of your credit card debt, and ask for consideration. They are willing to talk to you on settlement terms. You can compromise with them, you just need to reach out and show the sincerity of your intention to pay off your debt. Believe me, they are willing to compromise. If you want to consolidate your debts, do so. Learn more on how you can utilize debt consolidation.

What happened to me: I called up the credit card company if the card I had the biggest debt with. They told me to pay a small percentage of my total debt, and after complying, they allowed me to pay off in installments. The penalties and surcharges were waived and I was asked to pay off a reduced amount of credit card debt. After paying it all off, they issued a certification to me saying that I no longer have any liability to the said credit card company.

Budget. You need to use whatever tool at your disposal (a planner, a spreadsheet, a budget tracker app, etc.) and make sure to include the credit card debt amortization to your monthly budget. Control your impulses. Do not be swayed by sales promotions online. Do not spend what is allocated for your credit card payment. You need to religiously meet their due dates in order to maintain your good credit standing.

Check your monthly spending. If you can cut down on weekend getaways for a while until you manage to pay off at least fifty percent of your total debts, do so.

What I did: I created an Excel spreadsheet. Every start of the month, I would put the bills and amortizations I needed to pay. When salary came in, I would pay off bills and amortizations first before setting aside a portion for my siblings’ tuition fees. I brought home-cooked meals to work and I stopped buying pricey cups of coffees. It worked for me.

Reduce and Stop. Temptations are everywhere! And most of the time, it is in the form of a pre-approved credit card arriving through the mail. Do not activate it! Immediately call the credit card company to advise them that you are not interested and that you will be cutting the card in two. Stop applying for new credit cards because it will only sink you deeper in debts.

Keep one credit card for emergency use. Choose one which will give you rebates and good credit card rewards.

It was hard. Believe me, it was really hard! But surviving my credit card debts is one of my achievements in my adult life. Those collection calls… I think I had trauma from it. Phone calls make me nervous. I am just grateful I managed to survive and came off it a better manager of finances.

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Passion for the profession.

I managed to get a seat at the back of a group of college students at a wake my sister and I went to more than a week ago. It was a serious group composed of three girls and one boy, the latter being in the center of the group. I did not mean to eavesdrop but they were discussing their courses. I kept hearing Fluorescence Microscope from the company Microscope International and how the boy was so fascinated with it. And so many other terms like Fluorescence Meiji MT6200CL Binocular Epi-Fluorescence Microscope and Euromex bScope Epi-Fluorescence Microscope. I guessed they are taking Science courses and they were discussing their laboratory subjects.

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What fascinated me about their discussion was the passion that I could hear in their voices. It came across as a deep love for what they are currently studying and translated as future scientists who would be truly passionate about their work.

Pre-college, I really wanted to become a journalist. I loved researches, writing humanitarian stories, and just being in the thick of things. But I was not meant to be one. My Mom was really bent on making me an accountant. She wanted to be one but she got pregnant with me so it was set aside. She took up Economics and proceeded to become a housewife. In short, she didn’t get to see her dream fulfilled so she wanted me to fulfill it for her. I resented it in the beginning because I may be good with numbers but it was not my passion. Unfortunately for me and my dream, I am an obedient daughter. My Mom’s happiness was my happiness so I took Accountancy, became a certified public accountant, and went into accounting and audit.

I learned to love my profession after a couple of years of practicing it. When realizations came in that because I have a good-paying job, I managed to help my parents send my siblings to school. If not for my profession, I would have been one of the many workers displaced during this pandemic. Realizations keep coming and I am now very grateful for my profession.

I hope those kids will become passionate scientists in the future. And will be grateful for the profession they will choose.

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3 American Cities for Those Who Love the Nightlife

Maybe you’ve taken a remote job and now want to move to the city of your dreams. Maybe you’re retired and want to do the same.

Whatever your reason for moving, you’re likely doing it for reasons that will make you happy.

We know for a fact that some Americans like to live in areas where there’s always something to do. The nightlife in any city can sometimes be just what people need to get out of the doldrums, feel less bored, and take their minds off whatever’s troubling them.

If you’re like these people and have been wanting to relocate to an area where there’s never going to be a shortage of things to do after dark, check out this helpful guide to the top three American cities for those who love the nightlife.

We hope you agree with our choices and then think of some of your own, as well!

New Orleans, LA

First up is New Orleans, Louisiana, which, if you’re not aware, is not a place you move to if you’re looking to settle down into a quiet life.

The city is a major international tourist destination in its own right, but then there are all the residents who hang around the city and particularly the party areas.

There are music clubs along Frenchmen Street, lounges, bars, pubs, and so much more in the French Quarter, and, of course, Mardi Gras celebrations in the late winter.

If you just love to party and indulge in life’s pleasures, then go scoop up one of the New Orleans houses for sale!

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Las Vegas, NV

Do we even need to mention Las Vegas? If you’re thinking that nightlife is for you, then look no further than Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is one of those great American cities that never sleeps, and all the hotels, casinos, and shows would be happy to indulge you whether it’s 6AM, 12AM, or 3AM.

You don’t even need to leave the Strip to enjoy all there is on offer. Head into the Bellagio for food and gambling, or into the Mirage or Caesars for the same thing. Looking for something more old-school? Check out the Flamingo over on the other side.

Or venture off the Strip for still plenty of restaurants, bars, and other kinds of mischief.

This is one city that loves its nightlife!

Los Angeles, CA

Finally, we have Los Angeles, California, that shining jewel of the American West.

It’s a sprawling metropolis with so many neighborhoods and other little sections that you’ll never be bored of things to do.

Head to West Hollywood to check out some of the rooftop bars that people love to enjoy in the mild SoCal weather.

Or head out for dinner and drinks in style in Santa Monica and a galivant along the famous Santa Monica Pier.

Or, if you’re feeling particularly daring, check out downtown L.A., or Venice, or Hermosa Beach, for even more bars, restaurants, and dance clubs, where you can surely stay until the wee hours of the morning.

Writing about all this nightlife really makes us want to head out on the town ourselves, so we’ll be seeing you later!

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Next-door renovations.

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It has been more than two months since the noise next-door began. Home renovation. When the clock hits eight in the morning, the noise starts. It will last until around eleven in the morning, and will resume around one in the afternoon. It will all come to a halt at five in the afternoon. Eight to five all week long except on Sundays.

In the beginning, we would get annoyed with the noise. We are all nocturnal in the family so we are still up past midnight, most nights. We would get up a bit after nine-ish in the morning. So, you can just imagine how annoying it gets to be awakened by the noise of hammering and drilling almost every single day since then. But the neighbor’s house contractor was considerate and respectable enough to ask for our understanding in a letter before they began the renovations. And it was a big deal for me that they talked to us in person as well to ask for our patience and understanding because the house next-door is being eaten by termites already so they need to salvage it as best they can.

After about two weeks, we started getting used to the noise. It became tolerable. Also, to better understand what’s happening next-door, my brother and I took interest. We began talking to the contractor and the workers during their break time. We thought it best to see what’s being done and when we saw what they did to the laundry area, it gave us an insight as to what we want done to ours, too. The contractor told us that we need to get the house checked, or the particular part of the house for that matter. Then, a plan will be drawn, with the budget alongside it. It is important to use high quality and affordable building supplies for home renovation projects. The contractor said it is better to always have a contingency fund ready because some issues in the house can come up while renovating it.

They are still going at it. But we talked to the contractor already, my brother and I. We are seriously considering getting the laundry area done once they are done next-door. We will come up with a plan and budget. And then we will set a timeline so it won’t take them too long to do it.

Hopefully, the noise will not be as annoying as when the next-door renovations started. And the neighbors will be as understanding as us.

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