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This post was authored by a guest contributor.

Make Your Property Pop With Specialty Lighting

If you’ve ever driven down a street at night and noticed that certain buildings stand out, it’s likely because they had dazzling lights and light features. While it can sometimes be tough to set your property apart from others on a crowded street, lights are one surefire way to create an attention-grabbing look. Learn some tips here.

Customized Designs

If you are interested in having a unique and one-of-a-kind light system designed, this is guaranteed to turn heads. You can use backlighting and colored lights to create the perfect ambiance and style. It may be overwhelming to do this on your own, but there are many experts available to assist you. Just open up your computer and search online for commercial electrical services Houston to find the best professional to help turn your lighting dreams into reality.

Landscape Light Designs

A huge wow factor in lighting comes from landscape design that incorporates lighting. Whether you like the look of simple path lights, the whimsical effect of rope lights, or the more dramatic illumination of tree-mounted lights and uplighting, there are options for every aesthetic. If your property has any water features, you can really add a lot of personality to them with floating lights or fiber optic lights. Landscape lighting can even be set to timers or use motion sensors to save power.

Holiday Lights

A favorite activity for many people is to simply drive around and enjoy holiday lights. You can join the light show and make an impression with a variety of tactics. Try using projection tools to create special effects for large flat spaces, or bring fairy tales to life with animatronic light displays. You can spread cheer with light-up message boards. Holidays are the perfect time to really get creative and experiment with lights you may not use on a regular basis. Holiday revelers are sure to appreciate your efforts and twinkling creations.

No matter what type of look you want to create for your building, there are plenty of ways to achieve it. Using lights to enhance the beauty of your property is just one benefit. Specialty lights also generate additional safety on your property. Keeping paths and stairs lit in the dark help people avoid mishaps, which is important for any terrain and property. There are many great reasons to add lights of many types to your land and buildings, so don’t be afraid to start planning.

The Truth Behind Private Label Supplements

If you are like many people around the world, you took a vitamin pill or herbal supplement today. You have a lot of company. The global dietary supplement market hit the $115 billion mark last year and is poised for considerable growth in the future, according to one research firm. Supplements are enjoying growing popularity among people of all ages who want to improve their overall health and wellness, athletes interested in enhancing sports performance, and those looking for weight management support. As the market grows and the selection of supplements follows suit, you may have a few questions.

Where Do the Supplements Come From?

It may surprise you to know that the name on the bottle, jar or tube may not identify the actual source of the contents. The pills, creams or serums may have come from a supplement manufacturing lab that specializes in private label contracts. This practice allows top-quality specialty products to reach clinics, veterinary offices and gyms. Labs will typically offer a line of products that can be packaged and branded as is, but some go further and create custom blends according to specifications provided. This means, for example, that your dermatologist can formulate a lotion with the exact active ingredients your skin needs, have that lotion prepared and tested under proper lab conditions, and have it shipped right to your door.

How Can You Ensure Quality Products?

Invest your time in a little research and insist on acquiring products that come from a lab with decades of experience. The manufacturer should have a dedicated research and development arm so they stay on the cutting edge of technology and abreast of the latest scientific findings. It is best if the facility boasts multiple testing labs, state of the art manufacturing equipment, knowledgeable staff, and a strict quality control process. A lab that offers supplement fulfillment services will ensure that products reach consumers at their peak effectiveness and highest quality. Custom packaging and climate-controlled warehouses are hallmarks of a reputable manufacturer.

What Will Each Supplement Do?

Answering this question requires more research but be careful when using online sources. You know you cannot diagnose your symptoms after a few clicks on WebMD. Likewise, you should not trust a manufacturer’s website alone for facts about a substance; the information on that site is intended to sell the product. A complete picture of a substance must include such aspects as uses, dosage, contraindications and side effects—and the pieces of the puzzle may be scattered among several sites. A good place to start is this list of objective resources. Keep in mind that some of the best health advice comes from people who know you well. The health professionals you see in person like your doctor or dietician can offer sound advice based on your specific situation. Friends and family may have valuable anecdotal advice—just use common sense, follow up with your own research and take each suggestion with a large grain of salt.

What Does All This Mean For You?

If your research has uncovered effective solutions to your problems you will probably want to share your findings with other people plagued with similar issues. All this information gathering can lead to an exceptional business opportunity for you: your own private label supplement business. With the right lab as your partner, you can start a side business or develop a full-time business opportunity. This is most easily done as an Amazon store or another web-based store, but you can also act as a wholesale supplier to various brick and mortar storefronts. Pain management products may be welcome in chiropractors’ offices, whereas cleansers and anti-aging formulations will interest salons. Use a little creativity, invest a little effort, and you can DIY to greater physical and financial health.

Image credit: Unsplash/Gesina Kunkel

How to Communicate Your Needs With Your Influencers

Social media influencers are people with lots of followers or subscribers on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They often help businesses promote their brands by recommending them to their followers. For example, beauty influencers often mention products while giving tips about contouring, choosing the right foundation, or other topics. According to TapInfluence [PDF] and Nielsen, 7 in 10 people trust recommendations posted by peers and influencers on social media. Influencer marketing can help your company improve sales. It’s much more cost-effective than traditional ads like pop-ups or commercials, so even small businesses can take advantage of it.

However, you’ll need to communicate well to encourage better content from influencers. Here are some tips for communicating with your influencers.

Let Them Be Creative

Influencers value their authenticity, and they need to stay honest and have a sense of humor to attract followers who trust them. If an influencer says that they don’t agree with a statement you want them to make, let them say something else.

Overly restrictive content guidelines can make content feel like it’s an ad from your company, not great advice from an expert. They can also keep influencers from wanting to work with you in the future. Also, creative content from an influencer is a lot more interesting than a standard ad. You’ll get more new customers from a video of someone using a product, enjoying it, and having fun than you would from a similar video with an actor or actress just talking about the benefits.

Build Long-Term Relationships

You can get excellent returns from one-time social media posts or campaigns, but you’ll be missing out on even more customers and sales if you don’t maintain those relationships. You should communicate often with influencers before, during, and after social media campaigns. Ask questions and make reaching you when they have concerns easy. Answer their questions honestly and keep them updated about new developments in your business.

To maintain great relationships, you can ask the most successful influencers to become regular contributors to your website. You can also give them exclusive news about new products and early access. Share their content on your social media pages and invite them to speak at events or be part of a podcast or webinar series. If possible, build a personal relationship and become friends.

Stay Organized

Influencers can’t do their jobs well if communications from companies are inconsistent or disorganized. Give clear instructions and consistent deadlines, and make sure that each influencer works with a particular person, not just a department in your business. They should know exactly what you’re looking for. Avoid last-minute requests or changes and make payments or give other rewards promptly. Influencers won’t want to work with you if you change policies or requirements often or take a long time to compensate them.

Communication is essential for all relationships. You can increase the effectiveness of your social media influencers by building relationships and making sure that these people have all the information they need to promote your business successfully.

How to Help Your Child Keep Up in School

Students fall behind in school for a number of reasons. Even the most intelligent students can struggle at times, but what do you do to help your child during this time? First and foremost you want to make sure there is not an underlying cause. If there is something going on at home or outside the classroom, you’ll want to take care of your child emotionally first. However, as school gets more challenging, many students just need a little extra help understanding certain concepts. Here are some ways you can help keep your child from falling behind.

Hire a Tutor

Hiring a tutor is a great way to keep your child on track. You can either hire someone to work one on one with your student, or you can try out small group tutoring. These usually take place at a learning center where students are grouped according to grade level. It is a good idea to check with your child’s teacher first to find out what they need the most help on. Reading programs often focus on reading comprehension, while math programs go over everything from addition to order of operations. This way you can find somewhere that can follow along with the school’s curriculum and focus on the concepts your child needs the most help on.

Give Extra Practice

It is never a bad idea to give your child a little extra practice at home. You want to make sure they have time to play and go to different activities, but try to set aside some time for school work as well. This is especially beneficial during the summer when children tend to forget what they learned throughout the school year. You can visit your local learning or book store to find workbooks for your little one to do. You can also print off worksheets online.

Use Online Programs

If you look online you will find plenty of websites that provide additional help for your student. You can also download apps for your child’s tablet. These are often fun and interactive, so you may even end up having a hard time pulling your kid away from them. You’ll just want to make sure that these sites and apps are safe and secure for your little one. Read reviews and do some research beforehand. You can even ask your child’s school or teacher for the ones they recommend the most. School’s often have a list of apps and sites that they approve, so you know these will be safe.

If you see your student struggling, it is best to intervene as early as possible. Concepts, especially in math, build on themselves, so if your child doesn’t understand one thing, they may have a very hard time getting anything after that. It is never a bad idea to give a little extra practice at home even if your child isn’t behind. Students often forget a lot of what they learned over the year during the summer break, so this is a great time to provide your student with some extra work at home to get them ready for the next school year.

Should You Rent or Should You Buy?

Making the decision to rent a house or to buy one can keep you up at night, but taking the time to examine your situation can make the decision easier. Will you need to move within the next few years? Are you earning enough to take on a home loan? Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a home? Answering these few questions can help you see the way forward.

Settling Down

If you know that you will need to move in the near future, renting is probably the better option for you. If you will need to relocate for a job or school, renting gives you flexibility,  but if you are ready to settle down, buying may be a possibility. Real estate professionals recommend staying in a property for a minimum of five years in order to recoup your investment–of course, this depends upon market fluctuations–but even while you are renting, you can take steps to make buying a home in the future much easier. Be sure to always pay your rent and bills on time. This will help you establish good credit and this will be important when you are in a more stable situation and ready to buy.

Examining Your Finances

The money you pay in rent is essentially gone, but house payments build equity and are an investment. Take a look at your monthly income and expenses, or debt-to-income ratio (DTI), an important consideration when applying for a home loan. To calculate your DTI, add up all of your recurring, regular monthly payments for things that are considered debt, like car loans, student loans, credit card payments or mortgage payments. Then divide this figure by your total monthly income calculated before taxes–also known as monthly gross income. A DTI under 50 percent is acceptable, but a DTI of 20 percent or less will give you more financing options. A Sun West Mortgage representative can help you find financing that works with your situation.

Taking on the Responsibility

When you rent, the landlord takes care of maintenance and repairs on your home, or you hope that is the case. When you own a house, that responsibility falls to you. But you also have the flexibility to choose how your home will look: you can decorate it how you like, decide on your landscaping or paint it whatever color you choose. You can make your home a true reflection of your style, which is not always possible with a rental property.

Once you have examined your living situation, finances and desired level of responsibility, you can make an informed decision about renting or buying a home. No more sleepless nights!

Building a House Cleaning Kit

Most people don’t enjoy household chores like cleaning toilets, dusting furniture, mopping floors or washing windows. Unfortunately, these are necessities of having your own home to live in. Since you have to do the job, why not make sure you have the tools to do it right? As you embark on building the perfect cleaning kit for your home, here are some essential tools you’ll need for each job.

Cleaning Floors

Clean floors make a huge impact on the perception of your home’s overall cleanliness. If there are stains in the carpet, crumbs on the floor or dirty footprints on your tile, your whole house will seem dirty. Fortunately, cleaning the floors is the easiest on your list of chores. If you have carpet, start with a good vacuum cleaner. Make sure you buy a more powerful vacuum if you have furry pets. The vacuum can also serve double-duty for your hard floors. A good mop is also important. Just note that the type of mop you need will differ depending on the flooring you have in your home. Reach out to a company that sells cleaning products in Canada to help you pick the right tools.

Cleaning Bathrooms

Having to clean bathrooms is the bane of most homeowner’s existence but since it is so prone to germs, it’s essential that they are cleaned well. Your vacuum and mop from above will see use in the bathroom to clean up the floors. A high-quality cleaning solution will make sure you kill germs. Use something with antibacterial disinfectants or bleach to make sure nothing harmful remains. A good toilet scrubber will help get the bowl clean. Then use a soft cloth and your cleaning solution for surfaces and fixtures.

Cleaning Furniture

With the right vacuum, some of your furniture cleaning can be made easier. An upholstery attachment will allow you to vacuum your couches, chairs, mattresses, and sofas to remove dust and crumbs. The right attachments for your vacuum can also help with blinds, vents and baseboards. A nice feather duster can help remove light surface dust on shelves and cabinets.

Cleaning Windows

Windows and mirrors with streaks, smears or water spots leave the impression of a dirty house. Fortunately, cleaning these surfaces isn’t too difficult. Find a cleaning product specific to windows, spray it on and scrub it off. Sometimes, especially outside your house, you can utilize a brush and squeegee to clean large areas at a time.

While cleaning the house can be a chore, having the right tools will make it easier. Go through this list and make sure the next time you have to clean, you have exactly what you need to get the job done.

The Types of Repair Work That Can Be Done by a Handyman

The term handyman is often thrown around and has become synonymous with the phrase jack of all trades, and that is for a good reason. Handymen are capable professionals that perform several small and odd jobs. They are perfect contractors for that small bathroom remodel or the porch repair you just haven’t had time to get to. However, there are several other jobs professional handymen are recommended for.

Painting and Drywall

Many people look for handyman services Columbus to help with drywall repairs and painting. For example, as any family with children know, wall damage can be a common occurrence. Whether caused by roughhousing or creative expeditions, a handyman will be able to take care of these small repairs quickly, often in a day or two.

Installing Light Fixtures

Sometimes homeowners require assistance in replacing old light fixtures or ceiling fans. While some may call an electrician, it may be expensive to hire such a specialized professional for this type of work. A handyman is capable of performing this type of replacement and can likely perform the task for a fraction of the cost of an electrician.

Gutter Cleaning and Repair

Additionally, some homeowners are no longer capable of maintaining the exterior of their property, which can lead to gutters overflowing. If gutters are not regularly cleaned, then water can begin to back up, getting under shingles and infiltrating the structure of the home, which can result in rot and even mold. A handyman can take care of this issue and also schedule multiple visits to maintain the gutter system.

Exterior Repairs

Other exterior repairs include siding and window repair as well as deck and porch repair. Windstorms or age can lead to failing shingles and siding. Also, neglect can cause the wood of porches and decks to rot. When these issues occur, a handyman is more than capable of replacing the shingles, siding and rotted boards. Also, a professional laborer can restain and finish your deck and porch to make sure that it lasts for years to come.

Minor Plumbing and Electrical Work

While not every handyman is a certified electrician or plumber, they can perform small tasks. For instance, they can perform small bathroom renovations. They can replace appliances and fixtures. Also, many handymen are likely certified as such which means they are capable of working on minor plumbing and electrical issues.

While many people often overlook the skills of a professional handyman, they are capable, and they can save you a lot of money. Not every task requires the expense and labor of highly specialized professionals. Therefore, why not hire a jack of all trades and save a few bucks.

Unique Places to Tie the Knot

Your big day is coming quick and you want the perfect place to share the moment with your family and friends. With the right help, you can find a location that is just as unique as you and your fiancé. Take a step away from the traditional and find the place that is right for you. Here are a few unusual venues that will make your day memorable.

Take It Outside

If you are planning your wedding in the warmer months, there are plenty of options in the great outdoors. You and your future spouse can choose golf course wedding venues if you enjoy quality time together on the links. Couples who are children at heart and are inviting only an intimate number of guests can get married in a treehouse, a recently popular choice in location. The same types of brides and grooms may consider something more playful like a zoo or an amusement park to exchange their vows then celebrate with their guests. You can choose a park or garden surrounded by greenery and flowers to hold your ceremony or enjoy the landscape of a beach. Some couples have even gotten away from the land to tie the knot in a boat The only risk that you run if you decide on having an outdoor wedding is if Mother Nature is going to be a cordial guest with sunshine or a party crasher with rain.

Keep It On the Inside

If you are getting married in colder months or do not want to gamble with foul weather, there are several great locales that are inside. A popular choice is to hold your ceremony in a museum and if you are looking for natural greenery you can choose a botanical garden. In most rural areas farmers will now rent their barns to brides who prefer a rustic touch for their wedding and reception. Other couples are finding beauty in older, abandoned buildings where they can put their personal touches on decorations throughout the place. If the guest list is a long one, the bride and groom can choose a place like a theater or a library. If there are not many witnesses invited, they can choose a smaller venue such as a restaurant or a historic building willing to host them. The locations to hold your wedding are endless and half the fun is finding the one that is perfect for you and your special someone.

An Important Guide to Lash Extensions

Most women want stunning eyelashes. Unfortunately, most also don’t have the time or the patience to apply lashes every day or even curl their lashes daily. Due to the lack of time and patience, extensions for eyelashes are becoming increasingly more popular. If you’re considering starting your own service or buying supplies for lash extensions, here is what you need to know.

Application Time

The application should only take about two hours for a full set. You can keep the lashes for a year without only touch ups once or twice a month. Some women choose to only have half of a set of lashes applied. This serves as a filler to your natural lashes. If you do this, then the application time will be shorter and you will still have a dramatic effect. Of course, the final look will always depend on the quality of your lash extension supplies.

Common Lash Extensions

People are making the change to lash extensions. In fact, more people are beginning to look to lash extensions instead of mascara. As they become more common, so do the products. You’ll find three different lash extensions the most often. These three are silk, synthetic and mink. The sizes range from 6mm to 17mm. Once you select your lashes, you can have them applied with a semi-permanent glue. This glue will not damage your eyes or hurt the natural lashes. Make sure to keep sensitive skin and allergies in mind, however, when choosing your lashes and the glue. If you have an allergic reaction, act immediately.

Warning Signs

You should not experience any discomfort when you cry. If you find that your eyes burn or are uncomfortable when you cry, then you need to go back to your technician. In addition, if your eyes burn during the process, do not continue forward with it. When you receive extensions, it should be a painless process. Some women do have a reaction to different types of glue, so you may need to find one that works best for you. Do not work through the pain.

If you’re considering lash extensions, this can be a great option when you want fuller, more beautiful eyelashes without the constant upkeep. Your eyelashes need maintenance three to four times a week and you can forget about having to curl them every morning or applying fake lashes. Instead, invest in stunning lashes that you can wear year round.

Tips For Installing a New Sod Lawn

The advent of spring with its warmer temperatures gives rise to the traditional start of home improvement season. It is the perfect time to assess what projects you would like to accomplish by the summer months.

If installing a new turf grass lawn is on your project list, late spring or early summer is the optimal season for laying sod. Depending on where you live, St Augustine sod for sale in Jacksonville FL is a very popular turf option.

St. Augustine grass is one of the more widely used lawn grasses in the South, especially in the warm coastal areas of Florida and the Gulf states. Its popularity is based largely on its ability to tolerate the heat and humidity found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States. St. Augustine sod is characterized by a high density that takes root quickly and easily while crowding out most other grasses and weeds and a toleration for salt which makes it a great choice for ocean-facing yards.

No matter which turf grass you choose, here are some tips for installing a new sod lawn.

Calculate the Lawn Area

The first step is to measure the area that needs turf. The measurements can then be used to calculate the square footage of new sod you will need. Special care should be taken when doing the area calculation if your lawn is an odd shape that is neither a true square nor a rectangle.

Prepare the Underlying Soil

You can use a rototiller or a spade to turn the soil over down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Once tilled, you should remove any obvious impediments (rocks, roots, etc.) and also bust up any large clods of dirt.

Grade and Water the Surface

The tilled area should then be graded and leveled out with a rake, thereby making the soil as smooth as possible before receiving the new sod. The goal is to create an even, firm surface.  You should liberally water the area the night before the new sod is installed.

Sod Installation

You should install the new sod immediately upon delivery. Do not overlap or leave gaps when rolling out the turf. Stagger the seams as the turf is unrolled so that they do not all line up. You can use a cutting tool to trim around bushes, trees, sidewalks, and other objects.

Roll the New Lawn

Once installed, you should use a roller on the newly laid sod to ensure good contact with the pre-existing soil. Then water the entire lawn again.

Following these tips should help make installing your new sod a snap.