How to Fuel Yourself for a HIIT Workout

Leading a fast-paced urban life has inspired many people to turn to time-saving, explosive workouts that ensure health and fitness without spending hours at the gym. One category of those workouts is aptly named HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, which encompasses a wide range of exercises, it’s extremely flexible, and allows individuals to work out regularly, at home, and outside. 

Then the lockdown came, and even more fitness enthusiasts turned to HIIT as the perfect way to boost energy levels, grow strength, and stay healthy during these trying times. Now, if you’re new to this training method, it’s time to adapt your menu to have enough energy to perform these workouts safely, and stay energized afterward for all your daily chores. Here are a few ideas to implement!

Keep your water bottle close

You already know that your body largely consists of water, so it’s natural that medical professionals keep insisting that we should improve our hydration habits for the sake of our health. For HIIT specifically, water is vital to make sure that your muscles can withstand the effort you’re about to exert, and to recuperate properly afterward. 

The simplest way to hydrate more is to get a reusable water bottle and keep it nearby all day long. This doesn’t refer only to how much water you drink while you train. It’s key to keep hydrating properly during the day, so that you help your body recover and make the most of all the great nutrients you get through food. 

Refine your pre workout routine

If professional athletes trust supplements to improve their performance, why shouldn’t the rest of us, mere mortals, take advantage? With a little bit of research, you can find the most optimal pre workout supplements drink to add to your training routine, and thus boost your energy levels with all the right ingredients. 

You’ll notice that not only will you have ample energy for every rep in each session, but that you have better focus throughout the entire training, and that you can gradually improve your performance. Additionally, these drinks are designed to help your body recover more easily afterward, so pre workout additions can actually improve your post workout, too.

Don’t be stingy with those carbs

Now that we’re on the subject on post workout foods, many people who are looking to shed a few pounds with this powerful training system will steer clear of carbs. While this is a healthy approach when managed properly, there are also clear benefits to consuming healthy carbs in moderate amounts.

They help replenish your muscles’ glycogen stores, they help your body produce sustained energy for hours after your training, and they are found in fiber-rich foods, which is ideal for digestion. So, it’s good to turn to carbs but opt for healthy carbs such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. 

Make sure you eat plenty of protein

Depending on your lifestyle, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or you eat dairy and meat, you can diversify your menu in such a way to introduce ample protein. This is a pivotal step in enhancing your HIIT workouts because protein keeps you feeling satiated for longer, it builds muscle, and it’s an essential macronutrient vital for all of your bodily functions, including your immune system.

You can tailor your menu by determining when you train. If you exercise first thing in the morning, the sheer intensity of your HIIT workout will make you feel nauseated if you eat heavy meals. Instead, save those proteins for after training to rebuild your muscles and to give you a sustained source of healthy energy for hours on end. 

Steer clear of sugar

Sometimes, it’s not about what you do consume, but more about what you leave out. While sugar cravings are very common, and you might find that a candy bar is a perfect way to get an immediate energy boost, it’s an unhealthy mechanism that doesn’t really solve the problem.

Instead, aim to reduce your processed sugar intake by kicking sodas, candy bars, and other store-bought treats. You can replace them with fiber-packed fresh fruit, which is also loaded with vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Plus, when you make sure that you eat enough protein, you’ll reduce the cravings and feel full for longer. 

There you have it! Hopefully, these guidelines will help you revamp your nutrition and hydration in such a way that your workouts will be all the more effective. Plus, keeping an eye on what you eat and how much you eat will allow you to build a lean, strong physique, and to make the most of each HIIT session in your routine. 

As Young as You Feel: Botox and 7 Other Alternatives Used for Treating Wrinkles

Women are obsessed with looking younger, especially as they age. Unfortunately, you cannot reverse the signs of aging, but you can treat them. Many women frequently visit medical spas and plastic surgeons to learn about the different options they have when it comes to wrinkles and other facial signs associated with aging. Below is a closer look at botox and seven other treatment plans that will help eliminate or reduce the look of wrinkles.

 

Botox

Botox is one of the most popular treatment plans when it comes to getting rid of or reducing wrinkles and fine lines on your face. Learn more at carolinafacialplasticsurgery.com regarding the treatment plan and others they perform there. Botox is a non-invasive procedure that is done in as little as ten minutes. The effects are not permanent, but they usually last up to three months before it needs to be repeated.

A small needle is used to inject various signs on the face. The botox chemical paralyzes the muscles so that they do not move. Popular injection sites include the forehead, around the eyes, and the mouth area.

 

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a procedure that sands the skin, exposing a fresh and new layer of skin. This treatment plan does not require any downtime and is done in less than an hour. Side effects include scarring and changes in skin color.

 

Laser Therapy

Laser resurfacing is used to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Collagen is essential for the skin’s ability to look plump and healthy. There are a variety of lasers doctors use, and it is best to have a consultation with a plastic surgeon to determine which laser treatment is beneficial for you, as well as how many treatments you require.

 

Plastic Surgery

Many women opt for a more permanent solution and choose plastic surgery. Face lifts, brow lifts, and other cosmetic procedures are more invasive and do require a downtime where you do not return to work and must relax and take prescription medication. Talk to your doctor about possible cosmetic procedures you would be interested in to see if you are a good candidate.

 

Fillers

As we age, a loss of fullness in the face occurs, especially around the mouth, eyes, cheeks, and jawline. Injecting dermal fillers can remedy the problem areas for a couple of years before they have to be treated again. Fillers can be plump up thin lips, soften facial creases, improve shallow contours, and reduce the look of wrinkles and scars.

 

Microneedling

Microneedling is a collagen therapy used to improve the skin’s texture, reduce acne scarring, and improve the look of sun damage. Tiny needles are put in different depths of the top layer of skin. This is to allow skincare products to treat the skin.

 

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel exfoliates the outer layer of the skin. It treats fine lines around the mouth, under the eyes, wrinkles, age spots, and the texture and tone of the skin. There are different degrees of chemical peels. Consult your doctor to learn which one is best for you.

 

Skin Tightening

Ultrasound technology is non-invasive and requires no downtime. It is used to treat a sagging face and neck. The procedure uses heat to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Once these are rejuvenated, they act to tighten the skin naturally.

When considering cosmetic procedures, consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon. He or she can advise you on various procedures to determine which ones are best to achieve your desired outcome.

Can You Vape CBD?

The benefits of CBD have been widely accepted, with both anecdotal evidence and many emerging studies pointing to its benefit for things like chronic pain, nausea, headaches, and stress. The FDA has not yet issued solid guidance as to dosage levels or guidance on the different formats, so the question remains, what is the best way to take CBD, and how much do you take? 

CBD is available in many different formats, from flavored gummies and candy, CBD oils, tinctures and salves, and even in things like CBD-infused beverages (including beer!). Each format has a different absorption rate, however, and the best way to get CBD into your system quickly and to get the full benefit of it is through either taking drops under the tongue or vaping. 

CBD vape oils and vape juices have gained popularity, not just because you can feel the therapeutic effects of CBD more quickly, but also simply because of the popularity of vaping. Besides the rapid effect, another major benefit of vaping CBD is that many CBD vape oils are available in a variety of flavors, which masks the taste of CBD, which some may find disagreeable or overly strong. 

There have been some concerns over vaping due to news reports of EVALI, a lung disease that was initially attributed to vaping. Researchers have since discovered that incidence of this lung disease was not caused by commercially available vaping products, but rather, from vaping bootleg THC liquids which used vitamin E acetate as a carrier oil. Commercial products do not use vitamin E, and CBD oils are safe to vape.

There is a difference however, between CBD oil and CBD vape juice, and consumers should be sure to get the right one. Vaping CBD oil, which is normally taken under the tongue, usually doesn’t work very well. Some CBD oils, which are meant to be taken orally, do use a food-grade oil such as canola oil or olive oil, and these are perfectly safe to ingest. It’s the same as the oils used in an Italian salad dressing. CBD vape juice, which is formulated specifically for vaping, on the other hand, does not use these food-grade oils because it would be too thick. Instead, CBD vape juice will often use vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol (NOT vitamin E oil, which is dangerous to vape). Propylene glycol is a safe ingredient that is commonly used as a food additive.  

CBD vape juice is also available in flavors, and have not been affected by the FDA’s flavor ban. CBD vape pens and cartridges are also available, although if you’re looking for a flavored experience, the vape juices will be the better option. The cartridges do offer convenience and are disposable, in the form of an enclosed tank filled with a predetermined dosage of CBD e-juice and connected to a standard battery. Cartridges (pods) are also available and area compatible with most popular cartridge devices. 

As with all CBD products, look for reputable retailers and manufacturers which offer CBD products that offer an independent lab test to verify CBD content and purity and the presence of other ingredients. 

Best Ways to Quit Smoking and Change Your Bad Habits

Were you one of those people who said they’ll try out cigarettes just to experience the feeling of smoking without fearing you’ll get addicted? You probably said you could quit whenever and you won’t even start smoking actively, but before you knew it, what used to be casual smoke or two, had soon become smoking 2 packs a day. The benefit you got from smoking, where it made you feel less stressed or anxious, isn’t doing you good after all. You’ve found one of the worst ways to cope with challenging situations, so it’s high time you chose the other way. Even though bad habits offer certain types of pleasure, it’s essential that you start breaking the habit and turn to the healthy side of life. It will be very challenging to eliminate the habit in the beginning, but with the following steps, it won’t be too much of a hassle.

Start by cutting back

Whether you’re trying to give up junk food, smoking or any other bad habit, you must start gradually. No habit was developed overnight which means you can’t expect to quit that quickly either. For start, try smoking 2/3 of what you ordinarily smoke every day. So, if you need a pack a day to keep you satisfied, let that one pack last for at least a day and a half. Keep it up for a day or two and then try to slowly smoke less and less. Eventually, you’ll notice that your need for cigarettes is declining. 

Avoid the triggers

Dodging triggers that make you want to smoke is crucial when you decide to quit. If you think about it, you get the urge to smoke only on specific occasions, such as after a meal, when you’re taking a break from work and need to chat with colleagues, or when you’re stressed out. When you commit to quitting, do your best to avoid the situations in which you want to smoke. According to reports, smoking kills more people in New Zealand each year than road crashes, so be sure to stick to your plan. Instead of chatting with co-workers in a room full of smoke, go for a walk. When you need to blow off steam and destress, work out instead of lighting the cigarette.

Switch to e-cigarettes

One of the good alternatives to smoking tobacco is to switch to electronic cigarettes. They can help you smoke less frequently and won’t have as bad an influence on people around you, as regular cigarettes will. You can find numerous vape shops in NZ and pick out the best e-cigarette for you. E-cigarettes are not as addictive as cigarettes and are likely to eventually help you quit for good. 

Set yourself a specific date to quit

Another good strategy to help you quit smoking would be for you to set yourself a goal, and decide on what day you need to stop smoking for good. Whether it’s a three-month period or half a year, it doesn’t matter. All it matters is that you need to have a goal in front of you and strive towards achieving it. This will be especially beneficial if you’re competitive and you love to always win. What’s more, you should think about teaming up with a friend or family member who’s also on the road to breaking a bad habit and make a fun little competition out of it. Tell everyone that you’re going to quit smoking, throw away all the ashtrays and stashed cigarette packs from home, to get the feeling that you’re serious about your decision.

Replace smoking with new, better habits

One of the best ways to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. If you’ve spent hours smoking every day outside the house so you don’t pollute your home, you can spend that time with your family now.  Play with your children, bake with them or simply talk about the day you’ve had. When you feel the need to smoke, go for a run or a swim instead. Keep yourself busy and start a new hobby that will have your hands wrapped up in any kind of activity so you don’t reach out for cigarettes.

Try alternative therapy

Behavioral therapy is one of the great ways to quit smoking because nicotine addiction has been shown to be related to the typical behaviors involved in smoking. Behavioral therapy will help you learn the causes of your smoking, showing you the right coping skills and leading you in the right direction of quitting smoking. Hypnosis has also been shown to have positive effects on smokers, making them break the bad habit quickly.

Learn craving management

Cravings will be your worst obstacles on the way to cigarette-free life, but luckily, you can control them with several strategies. One of them is among the most effective tricks and it involves you finding an oral substitute for cigarettes. When cravings hit, pop a mint, nibble on a carrot or celery sticks, or have a chewing gum nearby. If your mind is wandering, it’ll easily find its way to a pack of cigarettes, so make sure you keep it going all the time. Have a book within arm’s reach, flip through the magazine, or start doing a crossword puzzle. Becoming more physically active will banish the need for cigarettes too. Start walking more, create your workout plan to fill in the time you used to spend smoking, and think about having your 5-minute breaks to do a series of lunges, squats, push-ups, or pull-ups. Every time you feel a craving coming along do a series of exercises. 

Final thoughts

Breaking a bad habit such as smoking will be anything but easy. However, if you’re determined to start leading a healthier life, you’ll have no other choice but to succeed in your mission. Start slowly and work your way towards the ultimate goal. Look for support in family and friends and you’ll soon find yourself free of the nasty vice.

7 Fascinating Facts About Cannabis One Needs To Know

Classified as schedule I drug, the free use of marijuana is not allowed in many parts of the world. Yet it is the most used illicit drug at the global level. Cannabis never fails to amuse users with the varied effect it has on individual perception, including the sense of sound and color. Notably, scientists and medical researchers also cannot get enough of this drug. They are consistently discovering something new and astonishing about cannabis. There is always a lot to know and learn about this miraculous herb. However, over the years, we can discover and document some interesting facts about it.

 

1. Its Ancient use Dates back to Thousands of years.

Many of us believe marijuana to be the discovery of the later 90s, but it is mesmerizing to know that the cultivation of the plant in ancient China dates back to 10,000 B.C. Although it wasn’t for smoking, Chinese cultivated cannabis to use its seed as a food source and make rope out the hemp. Later, in 4000 B.C hemp became an integral part of the textile industry all over the world. People were making abundant use of the plant, up until the 90 where cannabis had to face restriction and stringent laws, ultimately leading to prosecution in some parts of the world.

 

2. Its various Derivatives show Different Properties.

Cannabis nearly contains 120 cannabinoids, each showing different properties. The human body’s natural tendency to attach to external cannabinoids from cannabis seeds makes it a catalyst enough to change our mood, hunger, stress, pain, etc.  The isolation of its compound CBD component in the 1940s brought people to the amusement as one could make use of cannabis’s theocratic properties without feeling high. Ever since then, CBD products has become a popular choice as an alternate medicine.

 

cannabis img

 

3. People may get Varied Experiences from the Same Strain.

We all know that different types of strain bring different effects; some of the strains are more relaxing while others can give you a high feeling. But, how an individual reacts to the strain has to do a lot with their state of mind. Studies reveal that males and females also respond differently to cannabis use, revealing females to develop better cannabis tolerance than males. After a few days of a couple of smoking together, there are a fair number of chances that the female will outpace her partner.

 

4. It led to the Discovery of Anandamide Molecules.

It is not late when the discovery of THC receptors in the human brain was discovered in 1988. Such researches are carried out to find out the brain’s affinity towards the THC compound. One of these researches led to the discovery of an anandamide molecule, which was later isolated in 1992. Anandamide molecule has its name driven from a Sanskrit word ‘Ananda‘ which means a feeling of calm and peacefulness. It is the brain lipid that binds to cannabinoid to restore a sense of happiness, which is primarily responsible for your good mood after a smoke.

 

5. It is nearly impossible to get High from eating Raw Cannabis.

You may eat a considerable amount of raw cannabis seeds and much to the amusement you may not feel even a bit high. Though it can be a trouble to your stomach, fresh raw cannabis requires decarboxylation to impart any psychoactive effect. So basically for weed to activate you require to heat it in one form or the other.

 

6. Some Renowned Artwork has a lot to do with Marijuana Use.

The traces of marijuana found in the smoking pipe in the Shakespeare house led people to believe that the legend himself smoked cannabis while producing some of the best literary work in history. There is no substantial link to prove that cannabis enhances creativity and yet there many artists and painters who are marijuana enthusiasts. Whether or not cannabis enhances creativity, many creatives claim that they owe their good work to weed, all thanks to its mind-alerting properties.

 

7. Medicinal use of Marijuana Might be the Next Big thing.

You must be aware that cannabis oil Canada can help treat the symptoms of chemotherapy in cancer patients. It helps deal with the feeling of nausea and pain related to the treatment. The scientists are also interested in finding out its potential in the treatment of cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties in Marijuana are helpful in treating many auto-immune diseases that attack the organs of the body. The legalization of medical marijuana objectively says enough about its healing properties.

 

The bottom line.

Cannabis has been around for thousands of years, freely grown and cultivated until recent years, where it faced suppression. Gladly its legalization and decriminalization in some of the world are opening new doors. Some of the cannabis facts are tickling, while others proclaim its utility in dealing with grim diseases. Cannabis is an intriguing herb; the more we dig about it, the less we seem to know.

10 Stunning Wedding Venue Decoration Ideas to Steal

When it comes to decorating your wedding venue, you have certain limitations to follow, and some of these limitations are highly strict if you choose a historical monument, museum, church, hotel, or even a marriage hall for your wedding venue. The restrictions are for the safety of the same. There is no limitation when you choose an open space for your marriage ceremony. In simple words, you have to face challenges for the decoration of your wedding venue.

Sometimes the challenge is due to the uniqueness of your wedding style or theme. Your budget constraint is also a cause of wedding venue decoration. However, some ideas are out there that you want to steal for the decoration at your own wedding. Here are some of them for your assistance:

1. Point the way with signs

The use of signs at a wedding venue is not a new idea, but placing a wedding welcome sign with direction to different areas of the venue is the one that you love stealing. Placed at the entrance of your wedding venue, wedding signs and directions for seating and allied other things make your guests feel greeted and helpful to find the one they need during your marriage ceremony.

2. Go with wooden picnic table benches

Wooden benches placed along with tables are more comfortable in comparison with chairs. Apart from bringing a homey feel, they encourage guests to sit closer to each other, leading them to have familiarity with one another at the venue. This close sitting is not possible with chairs, as you have to leave space between them.

3. Place blossom trees

You are blessed with lots of space, high ceilings, and grand interiors when you select a country house as your wedding venue. To have a fairytale finishing touch or draw the eyes of your guests up, you can place tall blossom trees at your chosen venue for your marriage.

4. Use white lights in a large number

Even being simple, white lights make your wedding venue more elegant and beautiful. The use of a lot of white lights works as an addition to the décor of your wedding venue. Hanging them from the ceiling, on the sidewalks, around tables, on trees, and on the potted plants gives a unique and elegant view to decoration. The usage of white lights in a large number makes your wedding venue more enchanting and spacious.

5. Opt for ceiling draping

The use of fabric brings significant change into the look of the entire venue and improves the overall decoration. Many color options, like red, yellow, blue, and pink, are available to choose from. For an elegant and formal look of your wedding venue, you can go with the use of white fabric. Opt for bright colors, such as yellow and red if you want to add some fun vibe.

6. Go with starlit ceiling

Starlit ceiling is one of the wedding venue decoration ideas that you won’t miss to use in the décor of the venue for your marriage ceremony. Starlit ceilings make you have a fairytale wedding feeling and encourage all your guests to dance and enjoy your marriage celebration in the twinkling lights. Apart from making the venue magical, such a decoration is ideal for excellent wedding photography.

7. Place silver candelabra

For making your wedding venue décor stunning, you can install glistering glass chandeliers at tables for an addition to the existing style. Finished with softening gypsophila, elegant roses, and garlands of crystal beads, chandeliers enhance the glistering effect, making a wedding venue stylish, chic, and super luxurious.

8. Prefer greenery garlands

Greenery garlands at centerpieces are the ones you must opt for in the decoration of your wedding venue. In this, you have an opportunity to take the benefit of the existing features. You can dress the cart wheel lights with foliage and sprawling flowers to create fanciful balanced centerpieces.

9. Place over-sized letters at the entrance

Placing over-sized letters showing the names of both of you work wonders whether you are getting married in a country house, rustic venues, or city center. You can select worn metal with bulbs for an industrial style or wooden finishes for a country look in your wedding. Place the same at the place for invited guests, entrance, or dancing floor for decoration.

10. Decorate walls with flowers

Show your love for flowers by decorating the walls of your wedding venue with the same. You can use the flowers of your choice with petals and leaves and stems to give a garden view to the venue of your marriage ceremony. With this, you can create a picturesque backdrop in your decoration.

Conclusion

You come across numerous decorations in your locality or on the internet that you want to steal and use in your wedding venue décor. While stealing or going with a particular idea, you need to keep the venue of your marriage ceremony in mind. Proper usage of an idea can make you achieve what you want in decorating the venue for your wedding. 

Tips for Planning an Amazing Road Trip Adventure

One of the most exciting adventures you can have is going on a road trip. Still, in order to make the most of it, you simply have to have a good plan. This includes choosing the route, destination, making the itinerary, packing all the necessary gear, etc. This is especially true if you’ve never been on a road trip before.

A road trip can be taken pretty much at any time of the year, which means you have all the freedom to choose whenever suits you best. After all, freedom from having to stick to a plan somebody else made is the foundation of an experience that is a road trip. So, how should you prepare?

Packing list

Just like you make a list of the things you need to take on a regular holiday, you need to do the same when preparing for a road trip. However, this list is a bit longer. You should not forget to bring enough food that doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge, sufficient quantities of water, as well as gadgets, such as a camera, GPS, and appropriate chargers.

Also, you need a first-aid kit, toilet paper and other essentials that you wouldn’t pack if you were going to stay in a hotel. Make sure you have the right kind of clothes for the weather and don’t forget that you might need to sleep outdoors, so a sleeping bag is actually a good idea. And, bear in mind that your car also needs a few road trip accessories that can make a lot of difference and keep you out of uncomfortable situations.

Decide on your route

It’s crucial you make a solid, realistic plan when it comes to your itinerary and the distances you plan to cover. Make sure you have enough time to stop for rest and to enjoy the scenery or a town along the way. Another important thing to consider is definitely the weather. You may live in a warm area, but just a few hours’ drives from your home you might face totally different conditions, so make sure you and your vehicle are ready for such challenges.

Road safety first

Probably the most important thing when it comes to your road trip is to have a reliable and safe vehicle. It goes without saying that you need to have your car regularly serviced and have an extra service done before your trip. Another recommendation coming from the experts is to get your car insurance. It pays off to ask for car insurance quotes and choose the one that will suit your needs best. Knowing your options and all the details can save you a lot of worry and money. That way you`ll be covered and safe if something unforeseen happens.

Allow time for changes

Ideally, you should give yourself some extra time when planning a trip, in case you decide to take a detour or have a change of heart at the last moment. Remember that you are only responsible for yourself and your company, so if you wish to change the original plan, feel free to do so. Obsessing over a route and simply rushing just to make sure you stick to it will make you focus more on the plan than the experience and you just won’t be able to enjoy your trip.

Embrace nature on your trip

Taking a road trip with your family gives you an excellent opportunity to see new places and enjoy the great outdoors. You can also use that dull time while traveling from one place to another to seek ways to connect to nature. Utilize that time to explore interesting regions, soak up the sun and fresh air, play games with your kids, and learn about plants and wildlife. 

Who to travel with?

Your traveling companions can make the difference between a road trip from hell and the most memorable journey ever. Everyone onboard needs to expect to spend quite a lot of time in the car, sometimes hours on end, and if they aren’t ready for that challenge, they shouldn’t come along. 

A road trip can really be a great experience for everyone involved, but it can easily turn into a nightmare if you don’t plan it well. On the other hand, if you are ready, chances are you’ll have one of the best holidays in your life and you’ll start planning your next road trip as soon as this one ends!

How Can I Find a House I Can Afford?

The process of looking for a home is an exciting one; however, it is also important for people to know how much house they can afford. There are numerous factors that people need to consider when it comes to looking for a home. 

 

Household Income and Stability

Some of the most important factors that people need to keep in mind include their household income, their monthly debts (such as a student loan or a car loan), and the amount of money available to put down. The trick when it comes to looking for a house is stability. This is what the bank will want to see because they are trying to minimize the amount of risk they will take on. The income for a household is probably relatively stable and most of the debts are locked in (in the form of a repayment plan). On the other hand, a large unexpected expense (such as a medical bill or a car repair) can really eat into a family’s savings. This impacts the down payment. One of the best guidelines that people should follow is that they should have three months of payments (for house payments and loan payments) in reserve. This ensures that families can cover the mortgage in the event that something unexpected happens.

 

Debt to Income Ratio

Now, one of the biggest factors that will play a role in how much house someone can afford is something called the debt to income ratio. This is one of the most important metrics that the bank will look at when it comes to approving someone for a loan. The credit score is going to impact the ratio for which someone will qualify. If someone has a higher credit score, the bank is more likely to allow someone to take on more debt in reference to their income than someone with a lower credit score. As a good rule of thumb, the added housing expense should not exceed 28 percent of someone’s monthly income. For example, if someone has a monthly income of $4,500 before taking out taxes, 28 percent of this number is $1,260 per month. That should be the target mortgage payment. At the same time, those who already have a lot of debt (or who have a lower credit score) might not be approved for this same percentage. The bank might only give out 25 percent instead of 28 percent.

In addition, people also need to consider the other expenses that come with owning a home. The two other expenses that someone will have to assume are home insurance and real estate taxes. Often, the lender will take payments for real estate taxes, holding it in escrow. This is usually tacked onto the mortgage. The lender may also provide an offer for home insurance, but homeowners should still take the time to look around and make sure they are happy with the offer. Both of these expenses still need to be factored into the monthly expenses that go with the home.

 

Mortgage Structure and Interest Rates

Finally, the structure of the mortgage itself is also going to play a major role in the final cost of the home. The biggest factor that people need to consider when looking at a mortgage is the interest rate. The lower the interest rate, the better the loan. Even a single percentage point can save someone thousands of dollars. Often, banks negotiate in terms of ¼ percentage points. This simply goes to show just how important these percentage points are. It is important to work with trained professionals to make sure that everyone understands how their mortgage is structured.

These are a few of the most important points that people need to keep in mind when they are looking for a home. While this process is supposed to be fun, people need to make sure they can afford the home they end up purchasing.

9 Small Changes to Live a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

It is crucial now more than ever for people to be more conscious of how their lifestyle affects the environment.

There are a lot of conveniences in our lives that make living a lot easier. Still, the consequence of that is that our environment deteriorates. In relation to this, many people want to have an eco-friendly lifestyle but are afraid of letting go of such conveniences.

What people don’t know is that it’s much easier to shift towards a sustainable lifestyle than they initially think.

There are a lot of small, environment-friendly changes that you can apply in your daily life. So, if you’re interested in making the shift, then here are nine small changes that you should consider applying to your life:

Refrain from using plastic

One of the things that you should stop using in your life would be plastic. Plastic takes a thousand years to decompose. However, its lasting adverse impact in the environment is not worth the wait.

You can find plastic covering ocean surfaces all over the world. Not to mention that plenty of animals fall victim to plastic. Either they mistakenly consume plastic as food or get tangled in it and end up dying because of it.

Reducing your plastic usage is going to help you reduce the number of plastic material left in trash dumps. You can reduce plastic usage in simple ways. One example would be to stop drinking water from plastic bottles. Bringing a reusable water bottle is a lot better.

Go paperless

We live in an increasingly digital age, so it makes sense for you to let go of paper and start going paperless. By reducing your paper usage, you help reduce the number of trees chopped down every year.

Going paperless won’t only benefit the tree; it will also benefit you in the long run. If your office or home office has a lot of paper inside then it can be a fire hazard. That’s because the paper is a combustible material. Plus, paper all over the office makes it less than attractive to look at anyway.

Converting your documents to digital form makes them a lot more convenient to access them anywhere and anytime.

Cut back on your meat consumption

Cutting back on meat consumption is usually the last thing people are willing to do for the welfare of the environment.

However, reducing meat consumption doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to completely cut it out of your life. All you need to do is be more conscious and deliberate when you consume meat.

Taking care of livestock requires a lot of lands and a variety of natural resources. Livestock requires tons of water to all sorts of chemicals that end up damaging the environment.

Reducing your meat consumption by once a week will be a massive impact in itself.

Switch to green cleaning products

The cleaning products that you use in your home are probably quite potent. You probably don’t think about how the harsh chemicals you use to clean your home could end in the environment when you wash it away.

If your cleaning products aren’t safe for you to be around in for a long time, what do you think happens when you wash it away?

Luckily, there are a lot of green cleaning products readily available commercially. You can find the green cleaning solutions in the same place you’re buying your current cleaning products.

Therefore, switching to green cleaning products is a minimal change that won’t change your way of life by a lot.

Cut down on energy usage

Cutting down on the amount of energy that you use in your home is another sustainable but straightforward change that you can adopt in your lifestyle.

There are a lot of simple changes that you can apply that allow you to cut down on energy usage. You can start by unplugging all the appliances that you aren’t using.

It would be best if you considered washing your clothes using colder water because washing machines use 85% of its energy to heat the water alone. While you’re at it, you might want to reduce your drier usage and off for drying your outfits on clotheslines instead.

Replace your lightbulbs

Replacing your old compact fluorescent light bulbs is going to help you be more energy efficient.

It’s better to use LED for any of your light fixtures because they use less energy and are brighter than your older light bulbs. They will also last longer than your older light bulbs, which will save you money in the long run.

Cloth over paper

Reduce your reliance on paper towels to wipe away the mess and spills in your home and use microfiber towels instead. You can even recycle an old shirt and cut it up to use as rags around the house.

Since you’re using a cloth to wipe these spills, you can wash the fabric instead of throwing them away and then use them again.

Reduce your travel carbon footprint

Instead of relying on cars to take you anywhere, you should use public transport. Using public transportation is a lot cheaper than using your vehicle. Aside from that, it doesn’t generate a lot of carbon footprint.

There are also alternatives, aside from public transport, to take you anywhere. Biking is a popular choice for many people because not only does it take you from point to point faster, but it’s also keeping you fit.

Caring for the environment starts with the smallest things – you don’t have to ditch your automobile and live in a hut running solar power. Instead, making small changes in every area of one’s life adds up to big changes for the environment as a whole.

Start recycling

Having a recycling bin inside your house makes it a lot easier for you to start recycling. You can also locate the nearest waste management facility to identify the places that could pick up your recyclables.

Recycling ensures that your garbage doesn’t end up in landfills. Instead, they end up finding a new life.

Having a more eco-friendly lifestyle can be intimidating if you’re only starting. However, as this article would show you, it’s simpler than you would initially believe. The smallest of changes can have the most significant impact. Hence, if you’re intimidated by completely renewing your lifestyle, you can start by applying these small changes instead.

About the Author

Jacky Xu is the Chief Operating Officer for Maid Sailors Cleaning Service Chicago. Maid Sailors take pride in providing unparalleled cleaning services at affordable prices. Maid Sailors help transform your house into a home.

Improving Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Modern homes are sealed to keep out drafts. Unfortunately, that means that they keep indoor  toxins in. That is, the air in your home may be more polluted than the air outside. Since we spend more time indoors than our ancestors did, it can endanger our health. Fortunately, keeping healthy indoor air requires only a few simple steps.

 

Maintain your furnace

Do you have a forced warm air furnace? Then you have at least one air filter to maintain. You should at least get filters that block lint, household dust, mold spores, pollen, and smoke. Speaking of smoke, if you smoke, stop. Tobacco smoke dirties indoor air the way it dirties you lungs. Also, be careful about fireplaces, candles, and incense.

Some filters also block bacteria and viruses. Be careful with those, however. The pores are so tiny that they can keep adequate air from returning to the furnace. Put in a new filter at least every three months, the virus-blocking ones even more often. And keep an eye on it. Change it when it’s dirty, not according to the calendar.

 

Use a humidifier

In the winter, the air in our homes can be dryer than a desert. Overly dry air dries out our bodies. We can get chapped lips, itchy skin, and a dry sore throat.

Static electricity more easily builds up. We get a shock when we get close to something metal. Static cling makes our clothes stick to already uncomfortable skin. Unfortunately, dry air feels cooler. But if we turn up the thermostat, we only dry the air even more. Not only that, but air that’s too dry can harm our furniture and the structure of the house.

In the summer time, your air conditioner acts as a dehumidifier to keep your home from getting too moist. But in the winter, you need a humidifier to add moisture. You can get one to attach to your furnace or smaller room humidifiers of three different basic designs.

 

Open windows and doors

Indoor air becomes stale if it isn’t exchanged for outside air. Even modern sealed homes allow some outside air to enter and drive out the stale air. But perhaps not enough.

Even in the coldest parts of winter or the hottest parts of summer, opening doors and windows from time to time helps indoor air quality. Of course, you needn’t keep them open for very long. In extreme temperatures, normal coming and going might exchange enough air.

In moderate temperatures, when you don’t need to run either the furnace or the air conditioner, leave windows open longer.

 

Use houseplants

Most people probably choose houseplants for their beauty. Most people know that plants breath in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So houseplants keep indoor air from becoming stale.

Less well known, at least some houseplants can remove common air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzine.

 

Control dust

Now here’s where improving indoor air quality requires some extra effort. Your air filter traps dust, but it’s better to keep it out of the air in the first place. Regular vacuuming and dusting surfaces like end tables keeps the air cleaner.

 

Eliminate volatile organic compounds

Modern sealed buildings lead to so-called sick building syndrome. People who live and work in sick buildings suffer a variety of allergy symptoms. These come not from the sealing of the building, but from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Certain solids and liquids––thousands of products in all––emit these possibly toxic gases.

Some VOCs come from new carpeting or furniture. Most of them come from products for cleaning, disinfecting, or, ironically, air fresheners. Cosmetics, dry-cleaned clothes, bug-killers, paint, and various hobby products also emit VOCs.

If a product––bleach, for example––stinks, you’re smelling a VOC. The stench indicates a toxic chemical.

Unfortunately, in our sealed buildings, VOCs linger in the air long after we’ve finished using the products that emit them. Concentrations of VOCs are higher indoors than out, regardless of whether the building is in an urban area with bad air or out in the countryside. Indoor air may have twice or even ten times the concentration as outdoor air.

Houseplants and air filters remove some of these pollutants, but it’s better not to turn them loose in the house in the first place.

If you paint, look for a low VOC paint. Alternatively, keep the window open. Put a box fan in the window to blow outside.
Whenever possible, buy new furniture or carpets when you can keep windows open and use an exhaust fan.
Don’t use bleach or other toxic products indoors.
Prefer cleaning supplies that do not contain VOCs.
Don’t use air fresheners.

 

Check for radon

Radon is a radioactive gas, which can cause cancer. It occurs naturally in soil. The interior of your house probably has lower air pressure than the soil. So it can act like a vacuum cleaner, sucking air from the soil.

Well water, too, can have high levels of radon. Running the water releases radon into the air.

Your house probably has some radon in it. If any part of your home is below ground, it has more than it would otherwise. Since you can’t see or smell radon, you can’t know if you have a dangerous level of it without testing. You can either buy a radon detection kit or have a contractor perform the test.

Consumer Reports counsels not to believe manufacturers’ claims that air purifiers take radon from the air. If a test shows a problem, have a contractor install a radon-reducing system for your  house.

 

About the author: David Guion is founder and editor of the respected blog Sustaining Our World. A retired librarian, he served for three years on a university sustainability committee.