Is Cord Wood Construction a Great Green Construction Option?

Modern construction methods are extremely efficient and safe. Many homeowners and renters enjoy the protection from the weather and the hazards that run through nearly every home, with near complete immunity. The most frequent criticism of modern construction that many people have is that the materials and substances that go into creating the modern home are harmful to the environment, and sometimes the occupants.

There are many ways to limit the risk and harm that people can be exposed to with modern construction methods and one is to use ecologically friendly construction means, as called “green construction”. Green construction is essentially the endeavor to use material that will not emit chemicals or substances that are harmful to the environment or life. One of these green construction methods is called “cord wood” construction or stack wall construction.

Cord wood construction is basically using firewood that is cut to a specified dimension as fill for a mortar supported wall. Think of it like this, instead of using bricks, you use wood. Cord wood walls vary in thickness from 8 to about 16 inches depending on the weather conditions prevalent in the area. In colder areas, a thicker wall helps insulate from the cold, but where the cold is not as big a concern your resources can be used in a more frugal manner by making 8 inch walls.

The biggest benefit of building a home out of cord wood construction is the price. Typically a 2000 square foot home can be built out of about 5 cords of firewood, which may cost less than $1000 depending on your location. When placed inside of a frame of post and beam structure the cord wood wall is one of the most beautiful and rustic looking forms of construction in the world.

The second biggest benefit of cord wood construction is that it is something anyone can do with a little effort. It takes time to build a cord wood wall straight and true, but it is not that hard so any novice builder can have a decent home erected safely. Since the mortar takes time to set up and harden you can only go at a certain pace of construction which allows you to rest and plan before getting too far ahead of yourself.

The most important benefit of cord wood construction is that you are creating a home which does not release toxic chemicals into the home environment. Once the mortar is dried the home is done releasing any gases or chemicals, so you do not have to worry about your kids inhaling formaldehyde for 2 years afterward like you do in new construction. Keep in mind that is does take a deliberate effort on your part not to put in any chemicals as well. This can be avoided by choosing to decorate your home with something other than paint and glue down your rugs with a substance that does not emit formaldehyde.

With a little conscious planning and thought you can use green construction techniques to completely prevent a dangerous environment for your loved ones, and yourself.

Industrial Vs Non Industrial Plasma Cutting Machines

Industrial vs Non-industrial Plasma machines

Plasma cutting technology is a widely used process that has gained widespread popularity for its ability to cut most forms of metal and is quite favored for its simplicity in use. It’s versatility with its range of capabilities and applications have made it a universally accepted metal cutting process.

Non-industrial Plasma

Non industrial plasmas are best suited for garage users of steel fabrication who require plasma cutting perhaps 2-3 hours per day 3-4 days per week. A plasma in this class is best suited to small operations that work on mostly customised jobs. Non industrial plasma units are much cheaper to purchase than industrial plasmas but cannot tolerate the ongoing high volume that an industrial Plasma is designed for. Air plasmas and lower end conventional mechanised plasmas generally fall into the category of non-industrial plasmas.

Industrial Plasma

Industrial plasmas refer to plasma units geared towards high volume large production facilities that have enough work to elicit a machine to operate a full eight hour shift five days per week. Plasmas in this class usually can operate up to three eight hour shifts per day, seven days per week if necessary. If your operation fits into this category then an industrial plasma is not only preferable, but an absolute necessity.

Higher end Conventional plasma and High Definition Plasmas fall into the category of industrial plasmas. With modern day advances however High definition is generally the plasma of choice due to the higher levels of automation they provide as well as the higher level of cutting proficiency they are capable of achieving.

Advantages of Industrial Plasma (high definition plasma)

• Lower operating Costs

• Oxygen and multi-gas capability for improved

• Faster Cut speeds

• Improved weldability

• Significantly longer consumable life

• Thicker cutting capability

• Quick disconnect torch

• 100% duty cycle

• Hi-Definition technology

• Best cut quality including squarer edges and rounder holes

• Mark, cut and bevel with the same consumables

• More process options for optimizing cut quality

• Remote (CNC) gas switching capability

• Patent TruHole technology for best plasma cut holes – unique to Hypertherm high definition plasmas

• Hdi thin stainless technology

• Optimal gas mixing for mid-range stainless steel

• Higher pierce capability

• Much higher automation

• Higher resale value

• Much longer life on machine

• Significantly higher production capability

• Significantly higher computer aided design capability

Essential components of an Industrial plasma cutting machine

What is most essential to a plasma machines ability to provide continuous quality cutting are the ‘Controllers’ of a plasma unit. A well-engineered, well-constructed control unit is essential to providing consistent high level cutting precision and quality, carried out at high speeds over long hours. A poor to average control unit is incapable of achieving consistent precision especially over long production intervals where it is likely to overheat or break down.

Controllers consist of five main components: Power source, controller, a lifter, drives and servo motors.

Power Source

It is very important to get a renown plasma source for your machine to achieve a high performance and reliability to deliver consistent cut quality, high productivity, lowest operating costs whilst lasting you a long time for your business.

Lifter

The lifter is an essential component providing precise height control of the plasma torch. Utilizing a quality THC height sensor will reduce the cut to cut cycle time (up to 60%), provides better cut quality due to proper assembly of torch height, savings on power and longer consumable life.

In addition the quality torch height controllers automatically adjusts voltage for proper torch height to optimize cut quality and consumable life. Traditional torch height controls require an operator to periodically adjust arc voltage to ensure proper cut height.

Control

The controller needs to have all the process expertise built in resulting in flexibility and ease of use for the end user. A quality controller has a digital I/O sercos system that will deliver reliable motion system quality and will improve the cut quality and productivity.

The software should allow flexibility and ease of use for the end user, so a person with little or no experience on the controller can cut like a seasoned professional in as little as a day.

High End Servo Drives and motors

High end drives like Bosch help ensure high stiffness essential for accuracy, minimal backlash and easy adjustment. The servo drives receive command signals that amplify and transmit electric current to the servo motor in order to produce motion proportional to command signals.

Their main advantage over DC and AC motors used in non-industrial plasmas is the addition of motor feedback which can be used to detect unwanted motion or to ensure the accuracy of a command motion. Servos in constant speed changing use typically have a better lifecycle than DC/AC motors and can also act as a brake by shutting off generated electricity from the motor itself.

Bosch Servo motors

Bosch servo motors allow for precise control of angular position, velocity and acceleration. It consists of a sophisticated motor coupled to a sensor for position feedback.

Stepper motors typically used in low end CNC machines provide no feedback encoder as drive signal specifies the number of steps of movement to rotate. This lack of feedback limits performance as the stepper motor can only drive a load that is well within its capacity otherwise missed steps under load may lead to positioning errors.

Low rails

Industrial plasma’s usually feature low rails secured to the ground to ensure the highest level of stability driven by helical drives to provide optimal accuracy during the rapid fast moving of the plasma beam during long production intervals.

Table design rails usually seen on non-industrial plasmas won’t have the same level of rigidity and are thus less suited to high volume rapid pace production. In addition with rails built onto the cutting table and so close to the plasma, with constant long duration cutting the rails are at risk of distorting in shape (over time) due to the constant exposure to heat.

CAD / CAM software

To greatly improve the efficiency of production in a high volume settings you require a more advanced software to provide a much wider range of functions which greatly enhance the productivity of that operation. Using a more advanced software unit can provide some of the following advantages just a to name a few:

• Import CAD and CNC files

• Separate multiple parts from a single CNC file

• Group Parts into clusters for nesting

• Automatic and manual nest sequencing

• Control cut directions and cut sequencing on part by part basis

The addition of a quality software allows a much higher level of automation, significantly reducing key punching and is user friendly enough to allow even the most novice operator to cut parts like a seasoned professional.

Cutting table

For the purposes of industrial fabrication it is essential that a cutting table is well constructed, heavy and durable to meet the demands of an industrial operation. In most non-industrial plasma units, cutting tables are constructed from thin sheet metal and alluminium castings to reduce the cost of the overall unit. The problem with this is that due to the thin, light construction, the table can shake or wobble, adversely affecting the accuracy of a cut part. Furthermore over long production periods, due to the ongoing exposure of heat generated from the plasma these tables are likely to distort over time.

The durable robust construction of an industrial plasma table is essential to give the table stability for the highest level of accuracy and to prevent heat distortion.

Industrial plasma units usually offer the choice of a water or dry table with a dust collection unit. Water tables are cheaper to purchase but require much more ongoing maintenance and cleaning which over time becomes more expensive than using a dry table with a fume extraction unit. In an industrial environment both are acceptable.

Non-industrial plasmas usually come with water tables once again to reduce overall the cost of the unit though some are offered with a dry table and fan which is only sufficient in removal of dust and fumes in a light fabrication setting.

Having a Support team

The purchase of a Plasma machine whilst being an expensive investment can provide enormous returns to any business where there is a demand for work, the correct facilities are utilized and they are maintained with the right level of care.

It is essential therefore that a full support team is available to service your machine for ongoing maintenance, in the incident of a breakdown or where any other form of technical support is required.

In any high volume industrial environment any down time can translate into large losses in profit so it is important to have a local service team, but more to the point a team who knows the full operation of the machine from bolt to bolt, to shorten the time required to fix the machine, though also to provide phone support for quick fixes that do not cost any call out fees.

Why Non-Industrial Plasmas are so much cheaper to purchase than Industrial Plasmas

Many first time buyers of Plasma machines may look into purchasing a non-industrial plasma as a form of entry level use not fully understanding the full capabilities or limitations they have especially when compared to industrial level plasmas.

A cheaper price tag is often the motivator to go with a non-industrial plasma but in the long run once users have been able to thoroughly compare the two in performance, reliability and productivity it becomes very clear why non-industrial plasmas are so much cheaper.

In most situations fabricators who start out using non-industrial plasmas find with ongoing use that their functional capacity is very limited and with further research and exposure to industrial plasmas that they eventually upgrade to one as they provide much greater productivity, more flexibility in use and better quality cut parts with consistent precision. In addition industrial plasmas have a much greater lifespan, are a lot more durable and are built to handle a much higher degree of volume equating to far better value.

Many manufacturers of non-industrial plasma machines try to capitalize on the lower end cheap market by providing only the bare essentials of plasma cutting. Many of the reasons they can offer a plasma machine at a cheaper price is due to reasons including:

– Often software is not included in the package and in many cases users need to integrate a separate laptop/PC to operate the CNC cutting function. Even when software is provided usually they only provide very basic functions.

-Table and beam are constructed of thin light constructed sheet metal, not suited to heavy duty fabrication and are highly likely to distort in shape over time, due to ongoing heat exposure generated from the plasma. Rails are also built onto the table rather than being bolted into the ground.

This type of design does not provide the stability required to support quality precision during fast rapid movement due to the lack of rigidity and lightness of the table construction.

-Use of DC/AC motors and stepper motors as alternatives to drives and servo motors translate to limited performance, slower cutting, inconsistent poorer precision and positioning, slower acceleration and velocity.

-Fume extraction units are not included and another way to reduce the price on non-industrial units. A water table or dry table with fan are usually what are provided, though with light fabrication this is usually sufficient.

-Cheaper components are normally incorporated that don’t have any real brand reputation for performance or reliability.

-Aside from the above non-industrial plasmas can generally operate perhaps 2-3 hours per day 4-5 days per week and have an average lifespan of about 3-5 years.

Conclusion

For those considering the purchase of a plasma unit it is very important to be clear on the capability of the unit and whether or not that unit can meet all their requirements not just that of a single part.

Plasma machines have been designed to provide varying levels of functionality with a price range to match. Industrial plasma machines are logically more expensive but when the components are thoroughly broken down, one can clearly see that the cost is commensurate with the performance and capability, and in retrospect this is also true of non-industrial plasma machines. When matched in the suitable environment, business owners often see a return on investment within 2-3 years and as smaller businesses grow, industrial plasmas become a very natural progression.

Grecian Fashion Style – Channel Your Inner Goddess With This Style Report

Grecian style dressing has been around for centuries (quite literally), and with Alexander McQueen featuring heavily influenced Grecian style clothing in his Spring/Summer 2012 ready to wear collection, it looks like the trend is here to stay!

The flowing, fluid lines of the dresses combined with the edgier, more barbarous elements of the trend such as the gladiator sandals make this look modern, wearable and captivating. Through out the years Grecian style dresses have sauntered their way onto the red carpets on the shoulders of many A-listers including Mischa Barton, Kate Winslet and most recently the Duchess of Cambridge.

So how to wear these Grecian dresses I hear you ask. Do not fear! The draping often associated with these dresses makes them extremely flattering on all shapes and sizes, whether you’re looking for something loose and flowing, structured and figure hugging, short or long there will be something to suit everyone. If you decide to go for something loose and billowing you always have the option of adding a fierce metallic belt to add style and power.

The colors that accompany this trend are often neutral shades including cream, white, pale pink and beige, however modern influences have seen Grecian dresses take form in hues of blue, purple and orange. So if the thought of wearing pale pink puts you off, opt for a richer shade! In relation to your feet, Grecian style dresses look great with heels or flats, if you’re off on holiday then opt for some edgy gladiator sandals, if you’re off on a night out then some chunky wedges or heels would look amazing!

If you decide you don’t want to go ‘all out’ then there are loads of other ways to incorporate this trend into your beauty and fashion routine including; jewellery, hair pieces and hair styles and shoes. Braiding your hair is seriously on trend right now and this pays homage to the Grecian ideal. Another option would be to wear a jeweled head band, this adds a touch of glam to any outfit and would be perfect for a festival to keep the hair out of your face!

When looking for Grecian inspired jewellery, opt for gold pieces with a worn look or jewellery that includes stones. Gold and bronze jewellery that include leaf decoration also tie in nicely with this look. If you want a more edgy feel to your outfit add a large chunky cuff or bangle!

Enhance Your Fashion Style With Wonderful Fashion Accessories

Though it may be overstated that one could lose the glamour without wearing fashion accessories, it is true that they can indeed add a touch of sparkling attraction to one’s personality and personal style. Only with the proper fashion pieces can one’s outfit be completed perfectly. Thus, it is extremely important to wear the right accessories in an appropriate way.

Usually, fashion accessories consist of various beautiful pieces, such as shoes, handbags, belts, rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants and many others. Women will never stop their craze about these gorgeous accessories, especially jewelry, shoes, and handbags. Faced with so many fantastic options, one should always keep in mind that a wise fashion enthusiast will only buy the most suitable items rather than bring all the trendy shoes, handbags, jewelries at home which turn out to be inappropriate at all.

In order to choose the most ideal accessories, one should know well about how they can work well with different types of clothes and accentuate the outfit. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to buy all kinds of accessories to match each of your dresses. On the contrary, the real fantastic pieces are rather versatile and can be paired with almost all kinds of apparel.

Different people have different preference and tastes, hence, fashion designers will constantly release numerous new collections of fashion accessories every season. Women who are not quite sure about their own style can pay attention to the fashion reports on the newest trends and what the celebrities and fashion icons wear, from which they can find inspirations.

Basic Wardrobe Planning is Easier If You Know Your Fashion Style – 3 Benefits & 8 Fashion Archetypes

Basic wardrobe planning may be more cohesive if you figure out your fashion style type. Some types of fashion, offered with the over-50 woman in mind, are:

  • arty or bohemian
  • sophisticated
  • sporty
  • suburban
  • professional
  • simply elegant (or elegant simplicity)
  • trendy or trend-setter.
  • romantic or sexy.

I call these fashion styles fashion archetypes, because they embody deeper needs and behaviors of our personalities. Expressing one of the types of fashion is a way of becoming the star of our own lives.

As we age, we may have to reassess our fashion style: The suburban mom takes a job and needs a professional wardrobe; the lawyer retires from her professional career and takes up her dream of landscape painting. The suits have to go.

Here are three advantages of basic wardrobe planning around a type of fashion that suits your personality and lifestyle:

  • Efficiency shopping and pulling an outfit together, even on the fly.

 

    If you decide your fashion style is sporty, you’re less likely to splurge on that emerald green, ruffled jabot blouse that you will only wear once a year. After all, it hardly goes with the khaki and charcoal cotton slacks that are the core of your comfortable daily uniform.

  • Spending limited wardrobe budgets on what will give us the most use. Basic wardrobe planning involves figuring out what types of fashion we most need. It makes sense to add a black skirt to our professional wardrobe when we understand we’ve got 18 tops and three jackets to team with it. Shopping for an item we might have spurned as too ordinary becomes a fashion triumph.
  • Feeling well-dressed and comfortable on every occasion. The best fashion advice for women is to decide what feels good and looks good on you. Your personal fashion style emerges from that. What looks and feels good changes over time. Periodic reassessment is essential.

Here’s a summary of eight fashion archetypes.

ARTY/BOHEMIAN

The arty look is colorful, quirky, sometimes ethnic, and always fearless. Natural fabrics are preferred. A snowy white poet’s shirt, an embroidered jacket that goes from work to art gallery reception, and a luxurious handbag are suggestions for the bohemian wardrobe.

SOPHISTICATED

The corporate executive wife and the charity fund-raiser are some typical lifestyle choices of women who express their inner creativity with sophisticated fashions. Wardrobe suggestions are a Chanel suit, a silk dress, gold cloche earrings and a diamond pendant necklace.

SPORTY

This fashion style is tailored. A blazer jacket is a must. It can be worn with a variety of durable, washable cotton pants, such as khaki, a good choice for the active, outdoorsy woman. Sweaters and sweater sets work well. A silk T-shirt adds sophistication. Avoid fussy prints and ruffles.

SUBURBAN

Suburban fashion goes from town to country with ease. She visits a corporate office in tailored slacks, a fuchsia shirt, an elegantly tailored long jacket, and pumps appropriate for lunch at a chic restaurant. Then she’s off to a soccer game. The pumps are replaced by rubber-soled loafers, the jacket with a sweater. Pick garments for their versatility.

PROFESSIONAL

The professional fashion archetype loves suits – pantsuits for every day, skirt suits for court, a tuxedo suit for formal occasions, and a tailored dress when a skirt is a must. Choose suits and tops so you can mix-and-match for maximum versatility. Add an embroidered vest for pizzazz.

SIMPLY ELEGANT

If you’ve asked yourself What Would Jackie [Kennedy Onassis] Do?(book by Shelley Branch and Sue Callaway) Or What Would Audrey [Hepburn] Do? (by Pamela Keough), this is your fashion archetype. Stock your closet with solid colors and garments with simple lines such as the A-line, princess, and cheongsam dresses. Shop at designer consignment shops to achieve this look on a budget.

TRENDY/TREND-SETTER

The older woman who adopts the latest fashion trends may end up looking as if she is desperately clinging to her passing youth. For best effect, add fashion trends to classic costumes. For example, an outrageous jacket, with lots of bling and some feather accents, might be worn with simple black or white beneath. Experiment. Every fashion mistake can be changed tomorrow.

ROMANTIC

Flirty grows up after 50 or risks appearing as if life has passed her by. Ruffles, but not frills; clinging fabrics that hug curves without being skintight; and decollete that knows when to quit are hallmarks of the romantic fashion archetype. Strive for glamor and sensuality using texture and a bit of bling.

In summary, knowing and expressing your fashion archetype starts with identifying the fashion styles that fit your lifestyle and personality. Buy clothes that look and feel just right. Basic wardrobe planning is a snap when we build our clothes collection with our personal type of fashion in mind.

Is There a Travel Consultant on Your Team?

OK, I have to admit… I book my own travel. I’ve been vacillating back and forth for months and months on whether to add a travel agent (aka travel consultant) to my team of experts that help make my life easier and I just haven’t done it yet. Now don’t get too impressed that I have a ‘team of experts’ – the list is short. It includes the lawn guy who’s also now the pest control guy, the maid, my hair stylist, my all-important driver to and from the airport, and that’s about it. But they’re all people who can save me time, save me money and can make recommendations based on their experience with me and my preferences. Hmmm… sounds like a travel consultant also.

So to help me make my decision, I thought I’d pretend that you’re asking me questions and I’m giving you the answers. It makes the writing so more interesting than just talking to myself.

Q: So why in these days on online booking of everything should I use the services of a travel consultant?

A: Online booking of travel may be the best way to go if you have a simple flight to book, have no long list of special needs, and know what you’re doing. I like to go to Travelocity or Expedia and search out my options and prices, but then I book my ticket on the airline’s direct site. I just trust that if I have any issue with my ticket that their airline will be more helpful to me.

I’ve only ever booked a ticket on one of these online sites when I needed a flight that had one airline on the outbound and another airline on the return.

Because I routinely fly to the same city, I just jump on that airline’s site and can have a ticket booked within seconds. But when my husband and I are both flying and we’re originating in different, then a travel consultant makes much more sense. I spend an excessive amount of time searching multiple airline sites trying to get us to arrive and depart at somewhat the same time.

If you have special needs (allergic to peanuts, pets, people, etc.), then a travel consultant can help ensure that your seats and/or flights are suitable for you. If you’re traveling internationally and are concerned with connecting flights, tight connections, passport or health requirements, go to the expert on your team.

Q: What can a travel consultant really do that I can’t do myself?

A: Besides what I just mentioned above, they can also:

Scout out lower prices than you may be able to find.

Help you with recommendations and prices on cruise bookings and most other forms of travel packages (guided tours, all-inclusive resorts, safaris, etc.) based on YOUR needs and desires.

Keep you in the know about luggage fees, luggage limits, TSA, travel rules in other countries, best times to travel based on weather and more.

Help resolve travel issues (cancelled flights, oversold hotels) and complex travel itineraries.

All with personal service and expert knowledge.

Q: What does a travel consultant charge to use their services?

A: The fee depends on the consultant. While some of the more luxury agencies have higher fees, the average fee is quite marginal. Some travel consultants will even drop the fee or offer a discount once you have finalized your trip with them. Plus, you can always ask an consultant upfront what their fees are and decide for yourself if it’s worth it. Your time is valuable also… so consider the value of the hours that you’re searching for your own travel and the fee for the travel consultant then looks very reasonable.

Q: So what are the requirements for a travel consultant to become part of your ‘team of experts’?

A: Just a few minor requirements to fulfill:

  • They recognize who I am when I call and say “Hi, it’s Carol.” I do not want an agency where I speak to someone different each time I call.
  • They know my preferences and my type of travel. When I say “Bruce and I both want to get to New York City around 6pm on a Thursday,” they’ll know to put me on Continental, him on Delta, and get us both aisle seats (exit row for me, any row with a power outlet for him).
  • They know our 1,000 places to see before we die, know where we’ve already been, and call us when they see a great deal to a place we’ve yet to go.
  • They book our cruises and our hotels and airfare. No more cruise-only people that leave the rest up to us.
  • They provide recommendations for places to see, things to do, restaurants, etc. because they’ve already been there!
  • If they’re not an expert in a certain area, such as finding us a house to rent in Santorini, they’ll find someone who is.
  • They offer reasonable fees and throw in a freebie now and then because we use them so much (is that too much to ask??).

Q: So are you still going to book all of your own travel?

A: Heck no! I’ll take resumes starting today from any travel consultant who can meet my requirements! — I’m interviewing!

Good Home Furniture Means Quality Plus Appearances

Nowadays, they are mainly four types of home furniture namely living room furniture, bedroom furniture, dining room furniture and entertainment units.

Living room furniture consists of a sofa, a coffee table, lamps and sometimes side tables. Bedroom furniture consists of a bed, lamps and side tables. Kitchen/dinning room furniture consists of a large table, chairs, and sometimes stools. Entertainment units are TV, DVD players and speakers.

It is not easy to buy home furniture as different member of a household usually have different requirements and tastes. Therefore it is important that every member in the family must first agree on the style and usage of the furniture before purchase.

Many actually make mistakes by judging the furniture from their outer appearances alone without even thinking of its practical functions and long term usage. So then it is vital that each piece of furniture must be thoroughly thought of before it is purchased. This process is called “preparation”.

A few things that need to be considered before buying are function, color, practicality, and durability.

All the furniture must also be tested a few times and the color of fabric must exactly match the potential owner’s wish. One practical thing to do is to bring a sample piece of fabric back to the potential buyer’s home to see if it matches the interior of the house and other existing furniture. Remember that the color of fabric may look different in daylight and at night. Therefore, the potential buyer must be patience and observe the type and color of the fabric for at least 24 hours before deciding to order the furniture. Ignoring this process may result in dissatisfaction of both the buyer and seller as furniture is not normally to be returned or exchange.

Scale of the furniture is also extremely important. Potential buyers must accurately measure the space available for their new piece of furniture, at their homes before going to any furniture shop. It is advisable that the potential buyers carry along with them a tape measure to the furniture shops and correctly measure the furniture that they are interested before agreeing to buy it.

All these processes are also applied in choosing home entertainment units. All the equipment must be tested and thought through before being purchased. In the 21st century, technology grows at an incredible pace and the potential owners must really be sure that the models of the TV or DVD players in question will certainly be a good investment and won’t be outdated in a few years time. For that reason it must be reiterated that furniture should not be bought in a hurry so there will not be any dissatisfaction occurring after the purchase.

What To Consider When Looking At Kitchen Furniture

Are you designing a new kitchen for your home, or remodeling an existing one? If so, then you’ll need to buy furniture pieces for it. There are several different sizes, styles, and colors to choose from. Here are some helpful tips for choosing items such as replacement kitchen doors and small kitchen tables:~ Shopping is supposed to be a fun experience. However, when you are shopping for kitchen furniture, things can get real challenging. With things like color schemes, size, measurements and other considerations to keep in mind, picking the right replacement kitchen door, small kitchen tables and other kitchen essentials becomes almost impossible. To make your furniture shopping experience worthwhile, follow these simple suggestions:

1. Budget.

Before you even head to the stores, you first need to think about how much money are you willing to spend on this project. No matter how simple or grand your ideas for kitchen design are, you need to set a budget for this project to determine your limitations and make the most of your buying dollars in choosing the kitchen furniture and design pieces that you need.

2. Create a floor plan.

As you plan on remodeling your kitchen, you need to be aware of the floor space that you are working on. If you are to buy pieces of kitchen furniture, you need to be aware of how much space is allotted to the placement of such kitchen appliances and other add-ons. Making a floor plan for the kitchen furniture you wanted to buy should help you complete the look that you wanted for your kitchen.

3. Do the measurements.

It would be wise to know the side and dimensions of the corners and floor space in which you plan to put your pieces of kitchen furniture. This should keep you from buying pieces that are too bulky or too small for your kitchen. Being aware of these measurements should guide you in picking the suitable kitchen pieces that will not cause fuss on remodeling because they are too big, too thick, too long, too high or too low.

4. Shop around.

No matter how all those displays confuse you, you need to look at the kitchen exhibits and displays available in your area. This should give you pointers or ideas on what design elements to incorporate in your kitchen makeover project. Also, looking around for pieces of furniture allows you to compare designs as well as price. With internet shopping, looking for the best furniture deal that fits your budget is easy.

5. Do-it-yourself.

Even if you find an outstanding deal on kitchen cabinets, installation costs can be quite high. By installing the cabinet doors yourself, you can increase your savings and possibly save a small fortune. As a word of caution, avoid doing any installations in your kitchen unless you have the proper tools and know-how. Otherwise, your home improvement could turn into a kitchen disaster.

6. Look and design.

This is an extremely important consideration when designing or remodeling your kitchen. When looking at ideas for kitchen, make sure to determine the general look and feel you want to create. Do you want to create a traditional or contemporary look? Is there a particular theme or color scheme that you want to create? Which type of texture would be best suited for the cabinets, tables, or other furniture pieces? These are all important issues to consider before choosing individual furniture pieces.

Shopping for kitchen furniture is often a daunting task. However, following these simple suggestions should make it more fun, engaging and worthwhile.

Top 3 Travel Trends For Today's Travel Agent

You must be the change you wish to see in the world

1869-1948, Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism

Trend #1 – The Internet

Everybody knows that the internet has changed virtually everything… especially the Travel Industry. Online giants like Hotels.com, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz have revolutionized travel. Even Travel Agents & Agencies are booking online while the general public searches and buys their own vacations online. In fact, it’s estimated that 82% of all travel is now being booked online. Travel is one of the most researched topics on the internet… and also the most profitable.

The internet is simple, seamless and the perfect medium for the travel industry. We just point, click, and pack our bags. Before the internet, however, an agent’s bread & butter was commissions earned with business travelers… predominantly flights. American Airlines was the first to pull the plug on paying commissions on flight purchases as the internet started coming into its own and more business travelers were finding better deals online.

Since 1997 well over 200,000 agencies went out of business. Over 1 million travel agents lost their jobs to the internet. That number grew after 9/11. The days of brick & mortar very quickly got taken over by click & order, making for a far more efficient system. However, those very few agents & agencies that could foresee the positive impact the internet could have for them, jumped right into the explosive opportunity that the internet introduced, to maintain as much of their client base as possible. Very few, a decade ago, opted to go with the flow of change. Today, everyone understands that the internet is here to stay. When we are adaptable to change, we flourish… and profit.

Because of the internet, the online travel agent is also home-based. Because of the tremendous opportunity, continuous industry growth, and #1 industry training, today’s travel agent is your mother, cousin, aunt, neighbor, best friend, etc. and earning 60-100% of the vendors commission. It’s for everyone.

Trend #2 – Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing has been and always will be the best way to market anything. Statistics prove that 80% of all vacations (most anything really) are taken because of a recommendation from a friend, family member or co-worker. Think about the last time you came home from a vacation. Did you keep it a secret? No way! We talk about it for 2 months before leaving and talk about it for 2 months after we get back! And we show everyone pictures and videos! And we recommend the destination and hotel to everyone (or not) and tell them where we bought our terrific deal!

Familiarization trips (FAMs) play a huge part in word-of-mouth marketing. The only way for agents to really learn about what they sell is to experience it first hand. FAMs are put together by cruise lines, hotel chains and destinations worldwide. They usually include accommodation, tours, meals, shows, transportation, etc. Prices are slashed making it affordable for agents to travel multiple times a year… VIP!. The vendors roll out the proverbial red carpet for agents when they arrive. They’re given the most exclusive experience possible because vendors know that when agents return home… they’re going to talk about it!

The average person will purchase his vacation online at retail, once a year.

Agents will travel multiple times a year, all over the world as far and wide as they want to go, for pennies on the dollar. For this, FAMs continue to be one of the major perks today for agents in the industry.

Which takes us to…

Trend #3 – Home Based Business

Travel students, Baby Boomers and everyone in between are bringing travel home!

Leading agencies smart enough to follow the internet trend, have gone online and now offer just about anyone the opportunity to be professionally trained to operate and sell travel from home!! Woohoo!! That’s right! YOU can sell travel from the comfort of your own home and get paid!

Doesn’t it make sense that if you’re going to travel anyway (especially as much as the Boomers), that you buy it from yourself and get paid? Or get paid commissions on the trips your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers are taking already? Of course! Most people will do business with someone they know & trust. You may as well be that person, right?

Agencies quickly caught on to the franchise phenomena online and have opened up the opportunity to just about anyone with a valuable work ethic who is willing to learn. Coupled with word-of-mouth marketing… you’ve got a winning combination! The more knowledgeable you become, the more perks, FAMs, FREE trips, upgrades, etc, become available to you… cha-ching!

I’ve been selling travel for years. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a travel industry professional. For more than two decades I’ve been asked “How did you come by this work?”

But I also get asked, “What’s the best place to go for our honeymoon?” or “Can you recommend a Caribbean cruise itinerary?” or “What hotel should we stay at in the Mayan Riviera?”

Hey, it’s not rocket science!! If I have the answers and I can get paid for the sale… Hello??

The internet made it possible for me to have my own online agency and benefit even more from the extraordinary perks available to travel professionals! Being online means I don’t really even have to be home. Because my business is online, I am accessible to the world, 365 days of the year, 24/7! Friends and family can book all by themselves while I’m hiking with my dog! I can even book flights or all-inclusive vacations right from my BlackBerry!! WOW! So my home-based travel business is really my mobile travel services!! Super cool!!

We must not forget the amazing benefits that come with owning a business from home as well!

Aside from the obvious travel perks, just about every family vacation now becomes a FAM. As professionals, when we take a few minutes to inspect and ask questions about the accommodations, tours, restaurants that we ourselves are experiencing while on vacation, we’re really educating ourselves for our customers. So our personal vacation now becomes classified as a business trip… and an expense that we can write off! Super cool, again!

On a personal note, I’m only 45 seconds from my bedroom to my office!

It’s a beautiful thing to be able to work from home, anywhere in the world, to have your own business and to qualify for such incredible travel-insider perks. Retirees, at-home-moms, students on the run… it’s available to just about anyone with a can-do attitude, has a strong work ethic, loves to learn, and is highly self-motivated. A few hours a day can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars! No bosses, no limits!

Transport Your Vehicle At A Low Price With Auto Transport Services

If you want a company to move your vehicle, you will need to engage in some serious research first. A simple internet search term for “auto transport discount” will reveal thousands of hits and it is your job to find the best ones. However, unless you really know what you are talking about, how do you recognize with auto transport discount offer is genuine and which one should not be trusted with a raw egg, let alone your vehicle? One great thing is that simply by looking into the different companies that are around, you will already learn a lot of about methods of transportation.

Finding Quotations For Auto Transport Discount
As stated earlier, the best way to learn about transporting your car is by contacting companies. However, as also stated before, an internet search will present you with thousands of hits and you probably don’t have the time to try them out both. People usually presume that the hits that appear on the first page are also the best. They usually are, but you should not accept this blindly. It is possible that the owner of the website is better at SEO marketing than he or she is at offering auto transport discount. So, unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as contacting the top five companies and hoping for the best. So how do you get a shortlist of companies that you can ask for quotations? Using common sense is generally the best policy. Look through the results for auto transport companies that you have found and think about which ones strike you as genuine and which ones do not. As stated earlier, most of the really good companies offering auto transport discount do manage to get on the first page of Google, so realistically you only have to sift through those results, or perhaps go to the second page as well. Take a look at the websites and dismiss the ones who have a website that is poorly designed or poorly written, as well as those that are too flashy. That is a very common sales gimmick and quite simply not what you should be looking for. Hopefully, once you have completed this, you should be left with no more than five different companies offering auto transport discount and with a bit of luck, the best nationwide car transport service is among that. Getting five quotations is always the best policy, because it allows you to really compare the different offers and find out who offers the best value for money. Always remember that value for money does not mean cheap. Speak to each of the companies you are considering and tell them about the vehicle that you want to have transported. Ask them how they intend to transport it. This will allow you to get a good idea of the methods employed by companies offering auto transport discount. Always ask why they choose a specific method, as this will give you a better idea of what seems safest to you.

Using The Online World Even More To Find The Best Nationwide Car Transport Service
You can actually use the internet to your benefit even more. As shown, the internet should already help you to find the best nationwide car transport service, but it also allows you to have a wider search range. If you were to use the yellow pages only, you will be limited to your geographical area and this is not necessarily the best auto transport discount that is out there. Not just that, if you were to purchase a vehicle that is far from your geographical area, it will make much better business sense to use a company that is nearer to the location of the vehicle, rather than your location as this will usually work out cheaper.

Using the internet will also help you to keep costs down significantly. A lot of companies claim that if you can find the same like for like quotation at a cheaper price, they will match it or even go below it. True, this can add some time in your quest for the best auto transport companies, but we live in difficult economic times and getting the best deal on something is very important. Also, the internet may even provide you with price comparison websites for auto transport discount, where you will be able to find the best price at just a glance. Remember, however, that finding the best price does not necessarily give you the best possible company so make sure you still check the companies out one by one. Last but certainly not least, finding a company online and booking your car transport online may give you even further discounts. Clearly, the internet is your best friend in the search for auto transport discount. Make sure you use it to the best of your advantage.

What To Expect From The Service
Armed with all this information, you should be able to find the best value for money on your auto transport service. But what can you expect from an auto transport company? What service will you receive and what will they actually do? An auto transport company is able to transport vehicles from one location to another. This can be beneficial if you work for a salvage company or own a scrap yard. Or perhaps you have seen the car of your dreams on the other side of the country and don’t actually have the possibility to go out there and drive it back yourself. An auto transport discount service is there to load up your vehicle or vehicles and drive it to whichever destination you want. The vehicle is securely strapped on the back of a truck, together with any other vehicle, and is taken to its destination. The best nationwide car transport service will always be happy to explain further details about this to you. Don’t confuse auto transport discount services with tow trucks. A tow truck tows a car over a relatively short distance. This can be because they have committed a parking violation or because they have broken down alongside a road. Whichever the case, the key here is that this service is not applicable for long distances. After all, you couldn’t tow a car all across California for example.

The Bottom Line
Basically, you should never feel rushed in making a decision. An auto transport company tends to transport an item that is generally of high value. A car, after all, is not a cheap toy that can easily be disposed of. Make sure you pay very close attention to all the quotations you receive. Read all the small print on any details that you get sent from the auto transport discount company. Think about such things as what sort of insurance they have, what would happen in case your vehicle arrives damaged, what would happen if they don’t arrive on time. If your car has to be transported over very long distances, make sure that the auto transport discount service has measures in place to protect the health and safety of their drivers. Do they have machines installed that force the trucks to go no faster than a certain speed? What arrangements do they have in terms of working hours? Also look at the company’s history. Have they had mainly satisfied customers and if not, what were the complaints? When looking at the complaints that an auto transport company has received, it is not so much about the content of the complaint, it is about how the company has responded to this. Remember that there are people out there who feel complaining is a national sport, which makes it clear that the reaction in dealing with any complaint is far more important.

You should now be armed with all the information that you could possibly need to find the best auto transport company. Always remember that it is good to look for an auto transport discount, but that price should not be the main driver in finding the best nationwide car transport service. Indeed, what is important is that the auto transport discount company that you intend to work with is safe and experienced in dealing with what you need. Do they know the vehicle or vehicles that you want transporting? Do they understand how to keep things safe and secure? Do they protect their staff? Do they have a good track record? For one last bit of security, you could once again use the internet to find reviews on the different auto transport discount services that are out there. Do make sure that these reviews are independent and not actually from the company itself. Also, don’t trust the reviews you read on the company’s website. They are highly unlikely to post anything on there that is highly negative. This doesn’t mean that the positive reviews on the service aren’t genuine. However, they will not give you the complete picture of customer experience. Never be afraid to ask questions, a good company should be happy to answer any query.