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3 Classic Roof Styles for Your Home

One of the best ways to make your home unique is to choose a roof that fits your aesthetics. Here are three classic roof styles for your home.

1. Gables

Gable roofs are a traditional and very popular roof style. It’s an efficient and cost-effective style, with two sloping sides facing the front and back of a house, creating a triangular silhouette. You’ll usually see gables on Georgian, Colonial, and Cape Cod-style homes. Since gable roofs are very simple in shape and construction, a company like IKO Roofing can usually make any kind of shingle work well with them. The most common shingles used are slate, asphalt, or wood.

2. Saltbox

Saltbox roofs are quite common in the northeastern US. This type of roof creates a dramatic asymmetric angle to give your home an interesting silhouette. It is typically seen on Colonial Revival and Cape Cod-style homes. This roof style is ideal for areas with heavy snowfall, as its construction is more durable than other styles. It allows for additional storage or living space, though the rooms directly under the roof will likely have sloped ceilings. You can use any roofing material to construct and shingle this roof style.

3. Gambrel

Gambrel roofs are quite similar to gable roofs, so it’s easy to work with a company like the IKO Roofing team to customize the design and choose the shingles you like best. The gambrel roof resembles the roof of a barn and usually tops homes built with Dutch Colonial or farmhouse styles in mind. If you want to include extra attic space or a loft in your home, a gambrel roof is perfect.

There are many different roofing styles to choose from, ranging from the sleek, modern butterfly roof to the asymmetric skillion style, and many ways to customize whichever style you choose, such as adding dormers or a dome.

Stargirl: Theories on Why the Cosmic Staff Chose Courtney Whitmore

Late last spring The CW released the latest DC superhero offering when it unleashed Stargirl. Stargirl follows the adventures of high schooler Courtney Whitmore and her fellow classmates, who by day are ordinary teenagers, but by night are crusaders saving their town and the world from evildoers’ destruction.

Finding the Cosmic Staff

The title character is the creation of executive producer Geoff Johns. Stargirl is born the day Courtney Whitmore uncovers the cosmic staff in her stepdad’s still-packed moving boxes. What originally looks like a stage prop from some mythological story, like Lord of the Rings, comes to life before the young girl’s eyes. Lying dormant since the death of its first owner, Starman, nearly a decade before, it has been waiting for the right person to wield its awesome power once again.

In combination with her mad gymnast skills, Courtney is able to achieve great things with the cosmic staff. However, a question that haunts her throughout season one is why the cosmic staff chose her.

Is Starman Courtney Whitmore’s Father?

Courtney Whitmore doesn’t remember her biological father. She knows he didn’t come home one night when she was still very young. She has a small, faded photo she keeps of him in a locket. When she discovers Starman died the night her father disappeared, she comes to the conclusion that Starman is her long-lost father, now tragically deceased.

It makes sense that Starman would be Courtney Whitmore’s father. The story pieces together nicely, and other superheroes and villains in Stargirl’s circle inherited their parent’s talents.

Her stepdad, Pat Dugan, who knew and fought along Starman as Stripesy, doesn’t buy her theory and tells her it isn’t true. Courtney refuses to believe Pat and continues believing Starman is her father until one day father does return home, and he isn’t Starman. In fact, he isn’t much of anything. He’s simply returned to recover a gift he had given her that he later discovered had value.

Disappointed, Courtney Whitmore again finds herself asking why the cosmic staff chose her. Disappointed, she decides she can’t be special and tries to put the staff away for good. Thankfully, the staff wasn’t having any of that.

Is the Staff Equal Opportunity?

Why the staff chooses Courtney to be its Stargirl is a mystery that isn’t answered in season one. Whether it’s answered in season two, only the writers know. However, there could be many reasons the staff chose Courtney. It could be that Pat Dugan has been the only person the staff has seen in a decade and it didn’t want to choose another man. Courtney Whitmore comes along and the staff determines it’s only fair to this time choose a girl.

That theory doesn’t seem likely. After all, the cosmic staff isn’t that simple. Another question that isn’t answered in season one is where the cosmic staff even originates.

Did Courtney Find the Staff, or Did the Staff Find Courtney? 

It could be there’s more to know about the staff. After all, Courtney’s stepdad marrying her mom is a big coincidence in this whole puzzle. Or is it? Perhaps the cosmic staff actually found Courtney Whitmore and brought her stepdad and mom together for the sole purpose of creating the next superhero.

This would mean there is something special about Courtney Whitmore. It’s already been revealed that Starman isn’t her father, but could he be another relation? Obviously, Courtney has something in common with Staman, and the final episode of season one leaves viewers with a big clue.

The fact is, there is a reason the staff chose Courtney Whitmore to be the next greatest superhero. Fans will just have to wait and put together the small clues as they’re dropped in season two. If you haven’t yet watched Stargirl, the entire season one is available for your binging pleasure at The CW.

Renovation Tips to Lower Bills

If you are planning a home renovation, or in the middle of one, then it’s a great time to make some money-saving improvements. Adding a room to your home, or renovating a space, can be expensive and stressful. But, you should take advantage of this time to make real updates to the efficiency of your home. Over time, these improvements will pay for themselves. They may even pay for those renovations.

Add Insulation

Old insulation breaks down and can shift out of place. This leads to drafty areas that require more energy to heat or cool. If you are taking down drywall or moving walls, it is the optimal time to refresh that old insulation. Some types, like spray foam insulation Maryland, can even be added to existing walls without completely opening them. Remember to insulate the attic as well as the basement; these areas make a big difference.

Create Zones

This is done with a zoned HVAC system. Zoned systems use one HVAC unit to regulate multiple zones of your home. This is more efficient because you can heat or cool only the section of the house that you are in at that time. If one zone is by the bedrooms, that zone would function more at night than during the day. Whereas the zone controlling common areas would operate during the day and much less at night. If installing a new HVAC system is not in the scope of your current renovation, then consider adding programmable thermostats. These allow you to set the temperature of your home at different levels throughout the day. At night, or when the house is not being used, energy can be saved.

Reduce Air Leakage

Air from outside is going to leak in and out of your home. In the winter, this leads to cold drafts. In the summer, leaks let the cool air escape from your home. Although all homes will have some leaks, you can reduce a lot of them with some time and a little cash. Install weather stripping around windows or add storm panels. Flexible weather stripping can be added to the bottom of your doors to keep out the drafts. There are also many types of foam gaskets available to place behind wall switches and outlets. Anyplace that you feel a draft, try to stop the air leak.

There are a lot of things to think about when renovating your home. Home efficiency should be high on that list. These types of upgrades are easier and sometimes cheaper to do when other renovations are taking place. Do not miss the opportunity to reduce your energy bill and make your renovations pay off.

Why Testing Pool Water Is Important

With all the fun of having a pool, it can be easy to forget about the maintenance, but testing your water is more important than you may realize. Here are some reasons why you should check your pool often.

Longevity

No one installs a swimming pool hoping that it will crack and corrode. Pools are investments in your home that should last for a long time, which is why proper care is so important. If certain elements get off balance, they can damage the plaster walls. For example, a deficiency in calcium may cause the water to extract calcium from the plaster, creating cracks and holes. Metal components, such as ladders, may also be subject to corrosion if pH levels get too high. Water testing Pittsburgh kits can be used to monitor chemical levels and avoid such damage.

Appearance

The right balance of chemicals is what keeps your water clear. Improper ratios can cause cloudiness and discoloration. Pools that look dirty are off-putting to swimmers and can be an eyesore in your yard. Regular maintenance can keep the water crystal clear, making it look like the relaxing oasis it is.

Cleanliness

Chlorine and other compounds keep bacteria and algae out of your water. Allowing these harmful pathogens to breed puts swimmers at risk of infection or illness. Contaminants such as sweat and urine are inevitable in pools, but the right amount of chlorine can work as a disinfectant, keeping the water clean and safe. The peace of mind from knowing your friends and family are safe is well worth the extra effort.

Comfort

Swimming in water with poor chemical levels can irritate skin, burn eyes and even create fumes that are dangerous to inhale. The right chemical ratios make lounging in the pool comfortable and relaxing, as it should be.

Odor

An overabundance of bacteria can create a musty and unpleasant smell. Conversely, too much cleaner can produce a strong, bleach-like odor. When the correct balance is achieved, all you should only be able to detect is a faint chlorine smell.

Monitoring the chemical makeup of your pool is easy to do with the help of home testing kits that can be purchased at nearly all pool stores. Water should be tested at home two to three times per week and professionally tested at least once a month. Regularly cleaning filters and skimming also help keep things nice and tidy so the chemicals can do their job.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy an Investment Property?

There is never a bad time to invest in real estate if you do your due diligence and find investments that make sense. However, periods of economic uncertainty can add additional risk to buying an investment property that many are not equipped to handle. Steven Taylor Taylor Equities is a landlord and real estate professional with years of experience in the Southern California housing market. Here is some advice for landlords who are wondering whether or not now is a smart time to buy.

There is never an inherently bad time to buy an investment property, but you should always be careful, especially in a recession. There is no telling if or when the local market will rebound and how long it will take for your investment to become profitable. Especially when it comes to a recession as volatile as the current circumstance the US is facing concerning COVID-19.

The demand for homes across the US declined dramatically in the spring of 2020 in the wake of the shutdowns across the country and yet bounced back to near normal levels in the summer. There is no telling whether a second wave of the virus will impact the housing market and how long that impact will last. Therefore, if you are planning on buying an investment property, it’s wise to plan for uncertainty. This means having cash reserves or liquid assets ready to neutralize any losses in the short-term cause by news related to the virus.

But, despite the uncertainty, US housing markets have not taken the major hit many economists we’re predicting. Housing prices are still appreciating, albeit at a slower pace than in the years prior. This means that the future is far from bleak for real estate in the US, however, investors should still expect some turbulence.

There are likely many motivated sellers out there who are ready to sell their homes and retire or move from a dense urban area to the suburbs. This presents a variety of opportunities for investors to snag properties at a discounted price in the hopes that they appreciate rapidly once the virus is more substantially contained.

Novice investors may be wise to wait until the dust settles to start investing unless you don’t mind the risk. But seasoned investors may find this to be the perfect time to scoop up an under-market property. It all depends on how comfortable you are with risk and whether the right deal comes your way.

Steven Taylor Taylor Equities is a seasoned real estate professional who has been in this business for a long time. While real estate is always a solid investment no matter what the market conditions, those looking to buy an investment property at the current moment proceed with caution and consider the potential downside.

Does Your Loved One Need a Memory Care Home? Factors to Consider

Dementia is one of the diseases that might be difficult to manage once the symptoms have progressed. Assisted living seems like a good option for dementia victims, but they are no longer fit for such homes when the symptoms progress. If the patients exhibit extreme symptoms, they are better off in a memory care facility.

Here are some factors that you should look for to determine when to take your loved one to a memory care home.

Challenges during transportation

Your loved one might find it difficult to drive around or go to familiar places. As dementia progresses, the chances of memory lapse increase, making it challenging for a person to remember familiar places. The person might also claim to feel overwhelmed by the presence of many people. This means they will have challenges moving around on their own. They may also experience a cognitive decline, a condition that reduces mobility. In the extreme cases of dementia, your loved one might lose their sight and experience confusion, hence making it difficult for them to respond to stimulus. The condition gets worse when the person starts wandering around since they can get lost. An occurrence of any of these signs is a red alert that you should take them to memory care.

Can no longer manage money

Dementia places its victims at the risk of financial fraud. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor the spending patterns of your loved ones to note any changes that might be alarming. Among such changes is a case where the person begins to overspend. Also, when they start forgetting to pay their bills, it is an alert that they need specialized care. As the symptoms of dementia progress, they leave the individual vulnerable to memory lapse, a condition that can highly affect individual spending behavior. Be on the lookout for any erratic behavior regarding the person’s financial activities. Whenever you notice major changes, it is time to take your loved one to a memory care facility.

Increase in the rate of forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is one of the main characteristics of dementia. Forgetting minor things might not be a problem for an individual. However, as the disease progresses, people tend to forget important things that can greatly impact their lives. When such forgetfulness kicks in, it is time for the individual to be taken to a memory home. Among the signs to look out for is the person forgetting the directions to their home or forgetting their name. The symptoms become alarming when the individual forgets their location, yet they have been wandering. In such a case, the person might go missing, which is more traumatizing to their loved ones.

Rare problems

A dementia patient is expected o express the behavior of forgetfulness. However, if you live with them, you ought to be keen to notice any rare problems that they might exhibit. For instance, the person might lock themselves in the house and not see a big deal about it. If the room cannot be unlocked from outside, the patient might be in danger. It becomes worse if they are already showing severe memory loss. Another rare behavior to look out for is the frequency at which they take their medication. If they are unable to follow the doctor’s prescription, they risk overdosing or underdosing.

If you notice that your loved one is experiencing any of these signs, it is necessary to take them to a memory care home where they will be adequately cared for. Some people prefer independent living arrangements for their loved ones. However, this is not a good option if the person is showing signs of severe dementia.

Types of Life Insurance For Seniors

Most people often assume that Assurance Vie or life insurance for seniors is impossible to get. However, this is further from the truth as seniors aged 60 years and above can get life insurance as easily as everybody else. Obviously, this group of citizens requires more coverage as they are most at risk of adverse health issues. Life insurance in this case would give them some form of comfort knowing that they are covered in case of any eventuality.

Importance Of Life Insurance For Seniors

Although most seniors may have enough savings and resources to meet their needs during their senior life, there are situations where seniors lack the financial ability to take care of themselves. This may be worse for seniors with debts and dependents to take care of. For this reason, life insurance is important as it enables seniors to live a quality life and leave something behind for family and loved ones.

Types Of Insurance For Seniors

While seniors are not categorized into individual classes, some life insurance coverages have age limits. For instance, your local pharmacy may offer you a senior discount once you hit 55 years old. However, some institutions such as the Canadian Pension Plan may not offer some services to seniors unless they’re in their 60s. Luckily, most insurance providers determine eligibility based on specific ages rather than age groups. With this consideration, most agencies don’t provide term life coverage for seniors above 75 years. Such applicants will have to find providers with no age limit. Alternatively, they can purchase permanent coverage. Depending on individual health, seniors are also able to choose between insurance with a medical examination and non-medical insurance products.

The Best Policy For Seniors

There’s no specific life insurance policy that’s best for all seniors because each person has individual needs. Healthy seniors in their 60s can benefit from a fully underwritten term life insurance that they can convert to cover expenses during their old age. In some cases, the insurance funds may be used to take care of the family including children and grandchildren after the beneficiary passes on. in such cases, permanent insurance, such as whole life insurance is the best. However, whole life insurance can be very expensive since you’re covered for your entire lifetime and you may have access to its cash value component in which you can either withdraw funds or borrow against it. Comparatively, if you’re a senior in your 70s, with an underlying condition, you can best benefit from non-medical life insurance coverage as it can cover medical and funeral expenses after you pass on.

Finding the best life insurance for you can be a challenging task especially during your old age. However, reaching out to the right insurance agency is the first step towards ensuring you’re fully covered even in your old age. In addition, proper coverage as a senior will guarantee financial security to your family even after your death.

Ciao! Italian Furniture 101

Would you like to have classic works of art in your home? Pieces that are not only beautiful and timeless, but functional as well?

Italy’s art history inspires the craftsmanship of Italian furniture. From Baroque to Modern, Italian furniture still reflects the style of those eras to the present day. From intricately carved woods, beautifully crafted fabrics, and the use of metals and stone, make classic Italian furniture works of art.

A Brief History

The Italians discovered Greek designs found in Pompeii and Herculaneum’s ruins, which thereby inspired their earliest furniture pieces. The Romans developed a type of folding stool that commoners and government officials alike used. Round tables, designed with curved legs in the shape of animals, had widespread popularity across the realm.

After the fall of the Roman empire, furniture became utilitarian. Basic paneled doors on storage cabinets accompanied plain-featured tables and stools used in the kitchen, evidence in which paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts proved.

Medieval furniture was dark, heavy, and rough. However, the 14th century brought improvements to the manufacturing of furniture. Newly discovered joinery methods enabled more delicate woodworking and the creation of lighter weight pieces.

The Renaissance(rebirth) period brought about a significant transformation of Italian furniture, guided by architectural principles. The wealthy and powerful social class of the time created a demand for housing, thus requiring furniture. Pieces adorned with gilding (gold leaf) were popular, making the piece’s decoration more important than its intended use. Cabinets and paneling displayed colonnades. The fronts of cupboards resembled miniature churches or palaces. But the most significant expression of the Renaissance period manifested in the carving of furniture pieces. Cabinet makers from all over Europe came to Italy to learn from their fellow craftsmen. Because of this, European furniture styles became heavily influenced by Italian furniture designers of the day.

Present Day

Italy has become known for its fine furniture. It provides durability and stability and can fit into any home or lifestyle. Whether you prefer modern or traditional, there will always be a piece to suit your style and taste. Despite its chic, posh appearance, incomparable design, and quality build, Italian furniture is affordable.

If you want your home to reflect its beauty and good taste, consider the purchase of Italian furniture. It is a decision you will be glad you made.

Finding Italian Furniture

If you’re looking for authentic and high-quality Italian furniture, it’s important to first do some research on local retailers. Look for an Italian furniture Montreal retailer that offers a wide range of beautiful Italian furniture options.

Celebrity Failures Highlight the Importance of Proper Estate Planning

The act of creating a will forces you to think about your own mortality, which isn’t generally a pleasant topic. When you are young or even middle-aged, you can fall into the trap of feeling you have plenty of time left to put a will in place. An unfortunate reality of life is that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, and passing away without a will can leave your loved ones with difficult emotions, prolonged court battles and little money. High-profile celebrity estate battles illustrate the importance of properly structured and regularly updated wills.

Celebrity Failures

Many celebrities have failed to put wills in place, which left their families and other loved ones with the typical challenges associated with someone dying intestate as well as challenges associated with any ongoing business. Celebrities, as John Branca points out, are businesses as well as people, and when a celebrity passes away, that business goes on. Failure to properly estate plan puts entities in charge of that business who may know nothing of how to run it. This can further complicate already complex inheritance matters. The estate of Prince, for instance, took years to sort out.

Properly Structured Wills

Putting a will in place isn’t enough. If the will is overly simplistic, you could accidentally cause your estate to pass to unintended parties. This happened with Jim Morrison’s estate. He had created a will that left his estate to his girlfriend if she was alive at the time of his death and equally to his brother and sister if she was not. As she was alive at the time of his death, his estate passed to his girlfriend. His girlfriend passed away a few years after Morrison, and applicable law left Morrison’s estate passing through to her family instead of back to his brother and sister. Morrison could have dealt with that possibility by putting a trust in place with instructions regarding what happened to his estate once his girlfriend passed away.

Regular Updates

Even a properly structured will can become defunct if it is not updated after major life events, such as divorces or marriages or the birth of children. Heath Ledger, who passed away at 28, had a will in place that left his entire estate to his parents and three sisters. He had developed his will, however, before the birth of his daughter, Matilda, so she was effectively disinherited. Luckily, in the case of Ledger’s will, his parents ensured Matilda received an inheritance, but if they had not done that, Ledger’s young daughter would have received nothing.

Thinking about death, especially your own death is not pleasant. A definite way to show your loved ones you care is to spend the time to put a proper will in place and ensure you update it after major life events. No one likes to think about their loved ones having to go on without them, but proper estate planning can make sure if that happens, your loved ones will be able to spend time grieving and celebrating your life instead of battling in courts.

Study of Evolutionary Biology Could Be Key to Human Survival

You’re interested in studying biology and possibly going to medical school. You’ve researched what you need to do in order to become a doctor, and you are starting to think about interesting specialties. Evolution never crossed your mind. Isn’t that something that archeologists study? You may be surprised to find that evolutionary biology is not the arena of archeologists but is exceptionally relevant and a key to humans’ survival as a species.

Basic Science

Evolutionary biology is the study of the evolution of organisms, both origin and changes to the organisms over time. This definition does make it sound as if focusing on this field will put you squarely in the past every day. All kinds of current and relevant work, however, is being done in the field, such as that by Rachel Tobin Yale. Advancements in the understanding of gene expression have led to a deeper understanding of how organisms survive and thrive over time. Some experts are even making the case that evolutionary biology should be declared a basic science for medicine.

Disease Cures

If you are still not convinced that the study of evolutionary biology won’t have you living in the past, you’ll want to look into specific DNA sequences called enhancers. Though these enhancers are instrumental in driving the evolution of species, mutations in the enhancers can be associated with an extremely high percentage of human diseases. This association between mutations in enhancers and human disease makes them the key to the understanding and cure of diseases that still plague the human race today. Further, researchers have developed a method to create mutations in genomic enhancers so they can observe evolution in real-time.

Species Survival

Beyond its applicability to the treatment and cure of human diseases, evolutionary biology also has relevance to humans’ adaptation and survival as the climate changes at an unprecedented and increasing rate. Though genetic adaptation isn’t a shield against the ravages of a harsher climate, there is a possibility of it being a buffer. Understanding this buffer effect could be key to mitigation of some of the more devastating impacts of a climate that is becoming increasingly hostile to human life.

Whether you are interested in treating and curing human diseases or helping better understand how humans can best adapt to a rapidly changing climate, the study of evolutionary biology brings excitement and relevance. You may have imagined yourself figuring out why dodo birds went extinct, but you could instead be figuring out how to keep humans from following in the dodo’s footsteps.