June 2018

Top 5 Places To Retire Like A King

Top 5 Places To Retire Like A King

We all want the good life, but not all of us end up in a position to truly live it. If you have lived your life on the East Coast and you decide you want to settle into a Long Island Retirement Community, you may find that the cost of living exceeds your retirement budget. Don’t give up on the dream though, Long Island is a beautiful place to live out your golden years, you just may need to be a bit more savvy about your spending habits so that you can save enough to afford that luxury. But let’s say you didn’t need to retire on Long Island, or in Beverly Hills, where else could find an affordable place to call home while living out your life like a king? Well, the answers aren’t too far away, intact they are right here. These are the top 10 places outside the U.S. where you can truly enjoy retirement living like a King!

1. Rocky Point Mexico

retire in rocky point

I chose this first on the list because I have been there so many times and absolutely love it. Another reason this is such an attractive option is that it’s close to the States, get a ton of American visitors every year, and is extremely affordable. South of Rocky Point you will find many retirement communities nestled along the coastline, sky rise condos that are extremely affordable and have million dollar views of the blue ocean waters. I know some people feel that Mexico is a little sketch, and I won’t argue that there are some things about the place that would make you consider otherwise, but all in all, it’s an affordable place to retire like a King. You can rent an oceanfront property anywhere from $600 to $1500 per month. The sun shines year round with an average rainfall of 2-3 inches per year.

2. Belize

live like a king in Belize

I have never been here, but I have read amazing things about this beautiful island in the Caribbean. Belize get’s year-round visitors from all over the world and has many permanent residences that are foreign to the land. As popular of a destination as this is, it is extremely affordable to live there. No need to learn a new language here, English is the primary language spoken among locals. Food is cheap, to dine out for lunch or dinner you can expect to spend under $10 dollars. Compared to the U.S. that’s a pretty decent price point for non-fast foods. You can get by on a monthly budget of $1,200 dollars or less if you wanted. Rent can be found as low as $300 a month, depending on where you live in Belize.

3. Thailand

Thailand retirement options

Another destination for tourists looking to explore the island life and rich culture of the Thai people. If you love Thai food as much as I do then you know this would be a dream destination for retirement. The low cost of living is appealing, but like any of the other retirement destinations listed, you will want to make sure you find an expatriate community that is safe and has a low crime rate. The waters are beautiful and the cost of living can run as low as $1k a month. Try living in the state for 1k a month, not happening near any beaches, that’s for sure.

4. Philippines

retirement destinations

A great place to check out is Davao City. It’s a thriving community with a modern airport and a solid local government. The crime rate is low in comparison to other parts of the country and the food is amazing. It’s an affordable area that provides the out of towner with enough local amenities to feel safe and secure retiring there. There are cheaper places to retire in this country, but considering all it has to offer, Davao City is a pretty decent option. You can settle down here comfortably for $1500 to $2000 a month. That will have you living like a king for sure.

5. Panama

senior living in panama

Living on the Azuero Peninsula of Panama will have you feeling like a King. The town of Las Tablas is an extremely affordable place to retire. You can live out your life like a King for next to nothing. Depending on your monthly budget and your desires, you can rent a place for as little as $200 a month. If you are retiring with a significant other and need a little more real estate you can upgrade those living conditions to something bigger for less than $700 a month. Power is fairly cheap, and the local community of expatriates will have you feeling right at home. Enjoy your senior living in style while enjoying the beautiful weather, amazing local culture, and of course authentic foods from this beautiful country.

10 Signs You’ve Reached A Midlife Crisis

Top 10 Signs You’ve Reached A Midlife Crisis 


  1. Making Out Of Character Decisions

mid 40 male driving sports carLook, we all hit that age eventually and everyone will handle it differently. Some will buy a new cherry red sports car, or adopt new clothing trends, while some will make career-changing decisions that may not be in the best interest of the family. If you find yourself making out of character decisions, I’m talking about decisions that you would not have made 10 years ago then it may be time to re-evaluate your life and where you are going. Change is good, change is awesome, but there is a big difference between good change and irrational change. If you have been a lifelong fan of Bon Jovi and have suddenly purchased a red sports car with 2 fifteens and you bump Drake with your windows down, connect with a buddy (or specialist) and talk to someone about this. It’s really not normal.  



  1. Getting Out Of Bed Is Getting Harder


If you were once an early bird that got up and out the door in the mornings to tackle the world, and now you can hardly be bothered to wake, you might be experiencing a midlife crisis. Maybe it’s time to spice up your day a little, change the routine, and learn something new. The monotony of everyday life can really make the mid-life blues seem like an ankle weight from hell. It can be tough to get up and out to the door to try something new, but you gotta do it. Refresh your sequence, modify your daily routine to incorporate some new and exciting events. I’m not talking about 8 balls and strippers, I’m talking about learning new languages, taking online guitar lessons, or learning a new trade. Learning something new and interesting might give you the nudge you need to get out of the bed in the morning.


  1. You’re Losing Your Drive


That passion that used to drive you to stay up all night working to build that business, middle aged male losing drivethat effort you used to put into getting laid, the time you spent getting dressed to impress, it’s all gone! You don’t care, the belly weight is building, you groom less, hygiene isn’t a priority, and you just don’t care much. This can be a sign of a mid-life crisis, or that you are married, either way, you need to spice things up. Start caring again, it’s easier said than done but it will occupy the mind and body enough that it will help you week to week. Getting your mind back on something positive that benefits you and your body may be the decision-making event that turns things back around.



  1. Groundhogs Day Over And Over


The alarm goes off, you hit snooze, sleep, snooze, sleep, snooze, then you wake. You shower, grab one of your 5 favorite shirts, a pair of pants, shoes, and you’re out the door for some more of the same. Lame. Yup, if your routine is to rinse and repeat on a daily basis you may have reached that undesirable place in life where complacency has grabbed you by the balls and holds you hostage. Wiggle those suckers free, tug, pull and adjust as needed to get yourself back out in the world doing random things. Living the life of a groundhog isn’t good for anyone at any age, but especially for middle-aged men looking in the mirror every day wondering where the time went. Time is still here, make the best of it, adjust your sack and your schedule and get back to living life!


  1. Your Are Treating Your Hair


middle aged male treating hair lossOne true sign of aging is gray hair. Middle-aged men get it on their heads, in their beards, chest hair, and eventually other places that hair grows. Most guys will let that natural coloring process run its course and go gray, the midlife man that finds himself in crisis treats this ordeal a little different from the rest. It’s one thing if you have always dyed your hair, treated it with chemicals, and rocked colorful looks. But if you’re the guy that has never reached for a bottle of bleach or hair dye to color his mop, and now you’re frosting tips and rock’n a fade at fifty, there may be some indication there that you hit the MLC. The treatment doesn’t stop with coloring, there are some guys that have been balding for 20 years without giving it a second thought. If that is you and you are now searching the internet for a hair transplant specialist, you may be the victim of a mid-life crisis.



  1. You Are Not Piloting Your Vessel


Have you always led the charge on life? Were you the guy that took the wheel and commanded life’s ship to the shores of your dreams? How are you doing now? Are you still commanding that venture, or have you let life’s current take control of your vessel and now you are riding the wave wherever it takes you? This is common in the mid-life, it’s definitely easier to let the current pull you along wherever it may go. That there is a true sign that you have lost your drive to survive. Holding on and floating into the abyss was never part of your plans, you had a purpose, motivation, drive, and you were once the captain! Put the bottle down, sober up, and grab that wheel again. You only get to captain this vessel once, might as well steer it till your dying day. Ride or die!


  1. Father Time Is Getting The Best Of You


Wondering where the years went, reminiscing on what could have been, what should have been? Easy to do if when you hit that midlife crossroads. lifes clockIf you are not as financially successful as you thought you might have been, maybe you don’t have kids, or your wife has left you, or you look in the mirror and realize you are old, all that can hurt bad and father time has no mercy on anyone. Time waits for no man, anyone past their mid-life crisis and into the golden years can confirm that time blows by faster than you could ever imagine. If you wish you took those risks in your twenties, wish you had asked her to marry you in your thirties, or cried when you turned forty, then you know how valuable every moment is and you can’t waste another. Reflecting back on these things is great for learning, but if you allow yourself to get stuck in those moments you fail yourself. Father time waits for no man, don’t spend another moment regretting or wishing, take action now so that in ten years you can rewrite your story.



  1. You Feel Lost


It seemed like you had it all, you were on top of the world in your twenties and making money hand over fist. Your thirties kicked in and the money was still good and your family began to grow. Life continued moving forward at a decent pace but never really took off like you had anticipated. The jobs came and went, there were dreams and passions that you pursued half ass but never really gave it your all. You are now at an age where time is not on your side, the kids are growing, there are no savings, you are check to check, and you have no idea where to take this thing. You truly feel lost at sea behind the wheel of a ship you have been sailing for years with no real direction. You feel lost. Time to get a map, time to get a new direction in your life and steer this thing to the promised land. If you bottom out, you lose. If you reach the shoreline, you win. Either of those results is better than the course you are on. I would rather die trying than staying the course of complacency without direction.


  1. Envious Of Others


envious male When you were young you dreamed of ungodly success. You remember thinking to yourself that you would be a millionaire in your twenties. The places you would go, the level of success you would reach, it was all a dream and you had your whole life ahead of you. Twenty-five years have passed and there you sit wondering how come it didn’t go as planned, why your childhood friends achieved their goals and you didn’t. Do you look around at other profiles on facebook and become envious of the life they created? Do you look at others on the road in their cars and wonder why that’s not you? If you constantly feel bitter, envious, and hate towards others your age that has accomplished their dreams you may be suffering from a MLC. This is common, not only are you battling the demon that is Father Time, you are looking at real-life examples of what could have been and it’s killing you inside. Instead of feeling envious, use this as a motivation factor to give this thing one last shot. Find that passion again, go after it, and stop being envious of others.


  1. You Are Living To Survive, Not To Conquer


The groundhogs day effect can leave you in a monotonous situation of daily routines. It’s easy to get swept up in the current of life and float along for the ride. Your older, you have less drive, you don’t believe in yourself like you used to, motivation levels are low, your competitive edge is as dull as a butter knife, you are living to survive, you are no longer living to conquer. You have to find purpose in your life again, get that fire lit up under your ass and pull yourself out of this life rut that has your tires spinning in place. Get traction again, power out of that hole, and conquer that mountain in front of you called life. It’s yours for the taking, change your mindset, get out of survival mode and back into conquer mode!


5 Things To Consider When Growing A Beard

Top 5 Things To Consider When Growing Out A Beard

growing out your beardBeards are as popular as ever, and the modern man is borrowing looks from past generations to stay stylish while maintaining a manly appearance at the same time. Men with beards used to be stereotyped, it wasn’t always as socially acceptable as it is now. Long beards, short beards, 5 o’clock shadows, goatees, sideburns, stash, the list goes on. Men’s facial hair can be modified to give just about any look desired. Most guys prefer to manage their own facial hair, give me a pair of scissors and a set of clippers and I’ll manage the trimming of my beard myself. There are the other types of guys out there that prefer to be pampered at the Barber Shop with a close razor shave, hot towel, and an aftershave lotion. For those guys that already visit the barber, here are some tips for determining if your barber is the right beard barber for you. For those of you self-groomers out there that are considering this as an option but have yet to give it a try, here are some questions you should be asking yourself and your barber before diving in and letting another man trim your facials.

1. Grow That Sucker Out

It’s hard to find a look that’s good for you if you haven’t rocked the style before. Looking at pictures online is one thing, living the look is another. If you grow the hell out of your beard you can try many different looks before trimming it back and settling on your style. Too many dudes I know start to grow it out and get it trimmed before it’s had time to age and season. Grow that sucker out and start with a full beard before trimming up and deciding on a look.

The average man’s beard will grow around an inch per month, so calculate that and give your self a timeline for your desired length. Again, don’t be gun shy! Let that sucker grow, let it come to life and mature into the facial piece you dream of it being. If there are patches that outgrow other areas of the beard that need a trim you can tend to that yourself, otherwise let that sucker fro-out like some 70’s bush!

During this time you will experience a few issues. Food will find a home in areas that it never did before, your skin will itch at times, and sometimes it will snag on things. For me, that’s usually beer cans and inner thighs, well… only if her inner thighs have whiskers. That being said, you will want to pay attention to your face bush every time you eat or drink a beer. I have had beer foam sit on my chin for hours before someone notified me that it was there. You can reduce the itch and keep your face bush looking good with some beard oils. There are a ton of them on the market, look around, ask the broski’s and invest in a bottle. Oh, and keep the teeth clean, a mug full of hair doesn’t pair well with a grill full of food and plaque!

2. Find A Barber With Experience

Every barber chair you land in has a story, there are going to be men that came before you and men that will come after you. barber trimming beardIt’s not the man in the chair that has the story to tell, it’s the man that stands behind the chair with the scissors and razor that is the storyteller. Hundreds of haircuts, hundreds of beard trims, stories told back and forth over the years, these guys are seasoned vets behind the barber chair and you can usually tell who they are. If you spend any time in a barbershop, possibly waiting for a friend or family member you will notice who has been doing this for a long time and who is still new to the game. The OG barbers are cool cats, they are smooth with their scissors and shears and can hold a conversation that keeps the time ticking by. New School cats may not have the same swag behind the chair, not as cool with conversation, and definitely not as quick to snip, cut, trim, and shave. The approach is slower, the confidence doesn’t radiate off them like it does with the OG’s. If you are looking for a hair and beard barber, stop in a shop, talk, and get a feel for the crew before trusting them with your hairdo.

Because the popularity of men’s barber shops has risen like some morning wood, they have begun opening up all over town with plenty of wannabe barbers trying to get in on the men’s grooming trend that is upon us. Because there is now a selection of barbers to choose from like never before, you will want to do your due diligence when choosing one. Trusting in a fly-by-night barber with your hair or beard can be risky. Pay attention, take your time, and find the right barber for you. I visit this barber shop in Denver to get my face bush trimmed, and they offer a me a drink while I am there! No wonder why I don’t mind paying for a monthly trim.

Also, chances are that if you are growing hair on your head and face that you might have buddies that are doing the same thing. Asking around to see where the broski’s are grabbing a trim is a good way to get a quality referral. If you trust in the bros, then ask em.

3. Once You Go Barber, You Won’t Go Back

If you are used to trimming your beard yourself it’s natural to pop in the bathroom real quick and zip off a few stragglers, if you are getting ready for a night out on the town you might even throw a #2 attachment on that sucker and take a few swipes around your ball sack because you never know what the night has in store for you. Aside from the occasional moments where the self-trim is necessary, once you get your beard cleaned up by a pro you won’t go back to the life of self-trimming. The money is always well spent, the downtime, the cut, the convo, and the input is priceless. Remember, these guys see hundreds of beard styles a month and can provide some pretty valuable information regarding beard styles that may work best with your hairstyle and color. Facial hair grows different for everyone, some can grow thick full beards, while others can barley sprout some chin hair. Some guys have patchy spots, others have course hair, others have fine hair. You need the advice of a pro to point you in the right direction.

4. Experiment Then Commit

stylish beardYour beard style will eventually form out of experimentation. The longer you grow your beard, the more options you will have to experiment with. Facial hair, like the hair on your head, can become trained to lay in certain directions, spike, fall, and curl. Some guys like to braid their hair, others brush it down, while some brush it upwards. They all create unique looks that may compliment a haircut, an outfit, or the desired style. One thing I have noticed among friends and internet beardies is that once they find a style they like they stick with it for a long time. It’s easier to groom and maintain when you are consistent with the trimming and care of the beard. Commitment can be tough, but I’m not talking about a new dog or a girlfriend, I’m talking about some face bush. Grow it, trim it, find your style, and commit to the bush!

5. Get Tips And Maintenance Ideas From Your New Friend

You are going to need to treat your beard with oils, trim on rare occasions, and manage the bush without professional help on a day to day basis. Your beard barber may become your best bush faced friend and should be able to provide you with the tips you need succeed. So what should you ask your dude about the daily maintenance needed to get the most out of your beard? I would start by getting suggestions on beard oils, what to purchase, and how often they should be applied. Get combing tips, and trimming tips. Once you have locked in the style you wanna roll with, ask how often you should return to trim. If your beard is growing an inch a month on average, you may need to return monthly depending on the desired look and length. If your an older dude and need to add some color, ask about products and application techniques. Look, it’s facial hair, not rocket science, but there are things that an experienced beard barber can offer that others just can’t. You can beat experience, and a guy that trims another man’s beard can give you the kind of feedback you need to make the right decisions on this journey.

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Investing In An Airbnb Property

5 Things To Consider Before Investing In Airbnb

airbnb rentals

I have friends that have committed to buying up cheap Real estate and converting them into Airbnb properties. The opportunity to turn profits without finding a tenant and committing to a multiple year lease is drawing him in like a magnet. As his rental portfolio has grown, so have his concerns for sustainability. There have been some amazing months where he has made the mortgage payment and then money beyond that, and of course there have been times where the properties have sat vacant for weeks with him wondering if he would be able to cover all the mortgages. He’s smart enough that he has now tucked away a nest egg for future rental droughts, but there is still a lingering concern and questions about whether or not to purchase more properties. We caught up for a beer the other night and I asked him as an investor to share with me the Top 5 Things To Consider Before Investing In An Airbnb Property. Three beers later he had this to say.


  1. Barrier To Entry


Like any business, there is always a barrier to entry. That can be something that is easy to overcome, or it could be so complex that it could take years to get to where you need to be just to start. With Airbnb rentals, he suggested that there were obstacles beyond the purchase of the property. That caught me off guard, I assumed that once you owned the property you could just start renting it out, after all, it’s yours! Not the case though, there is an application process you must go through before being accepted. From city to city laws can be different in regards to rental properties, there may be time restraints on how long you can rent the property out for (never heard of that), or laws about you renting the property out while not being in-state (if you were out of state), taxes, setting up the rental as a business, LLC, state laws and regulations from state to state, HOA, legalities with the mortgage company, legalities with the homeowners insurance, and many other details he mentioned but I couldn’t write fast enough to catch them all.


  1. Don’t Go Into It Broke


In fact, he even suggested not going into it unless you had 50k lying around in a savings account or trust. The expenses really add up quickly, and if you are doing it right and running it like a business you will be paying lawyers and a property management company a pretty penny to help manage contracts and the property. You will need to furnish the property if it isn’t your permanent residence. Power, water, cable, and internet are all amenities that people look for when searching for an Airbnb. If you want your property to rent out, then you must offer competitive rates and have the furnishing and amenities that will attract business. This all costs money up front. Then there are post-rental requirements you will need to fulfill. You will need a cleaning company to clean the interior and exterior of the property, laundry, dishes, pest control, and monthly yard maintenance. If you own a pool or a hot tub you will need those serviced, gas grills will need to be refilled, light bulbs changed, and appliances maintained or replaced. If the property ends up sitting for a long duration of time, can you still afford those primary expenses? You can always jump in and mow your lawn, clean your pool, and tidy. But you have to pay the mortgage, water, and power. What if the property gets vandalized, a tenant is injured in the pool, or the place becomes subject to burglary? Take all that into consideration in addition to the fact that Airbnb has a 3% service charge that comes off the top. All those things will add up quickly, especially if you are managing multiple rentals.


  1. Competitive Market


Hotels and Motels have all had to lower rates and adjust to the new world of technology that we live in. No longer are they the gatekeepers for the traveling kind. We were once held hostage to their prices if we wanted to travel anywhere and stay in a comfortable environment that was safe and secure. Now with Airbnb, anyone with a condo or home can rent out the property or even an individual room at an extremely affordable rate. Take that into consideration when you are listing your property, people are renting out their primary living quarters for cheaper than you can rent out your rental property. They already live in the space, they just rent it out for a weekend and stay the night at a friend or family members. This has made it difficult for him to rent out his property at times. With Airbnb having more than 3 million property listings, you will need to do everything you can to stand out from the competition. Quality images and timely communications are required to get noticed. After the property starts renting, you will begin to rely on reviews to boost the listing. This will require you to cater to the tenants, be responsive, provide the amenities you advertise, and even offer “freebies”. Having some printed material accessible for local suggestions would also help with that. Like with anything else in business (especially customer service), if you go above and beyond for your clients you can expect to be rewarded with quality reviews and repeat business.

rental property interior

  1. Start With A Single Listing


Ambition is required if you want to be an entrepreneur, and it never hurts to have and apply it anywhere else in life you can. With this new venture however, my buddy aggressively suggested to start with a single listing. Thinking back on our conversation it makes complete sense. With all of the potential expenses that can really throw a wrench in things, it would be wise to get your feet wet first with a single listing. Learn more about the process, expectations people have, what the true costs of operation are, seasonal spikes in business, and seasonal drops. Once you have a true understanding about what it will really take for you to own and operate and Airbnb, you can consider the purchase of another rental property. The purchase of a new property may have financial setbacks of it’s own. The property will need to be appraised, who covers that? If there are structural issues with the home, who is responsible for repairing them? What if the repair is done but there are still construction defects? Who pays for that? Will it go to court? Will you need to hire a construction expert witness to testify that the construction done on the property is flawed? Between your time and expenses you will be able to extrapolate how many of these properties can be purchased and managed over the course of a year. If you have never had any experience managing a property, or catering to people, you will definitely want to go at this at a pace that will allow you to get a handle on everything before you are inundated with calls and requests. The other option for starting out slow is to rent a room or guest house on the property you occupy on a permanent basis. The barrier to entry is virtually nonexistent and you will get a first hand feel for what to expect.


  1. Reach Out To Other Investors In Your City


You may find that you get little feedback from the people trying to make money in your market, I mean who wants to share trade secrets with the competition? It still doesn’t hurt to reach out and touch base. Most people are pretty cool, and if they are renting out a room or a guest house on their primary property they are probably doing it for some side cash. Those people will be willing to help you out. The guys that are renting out 10 homes in a market will be less likely to give you any valuable advice. Reach out though, make that call, and get first hand feedback from people that are living it.

Some of these things may seem obvious and I guess they could be applied to any rental situation, but for me it was interesting since I have recently considered doing it. There are things here that I had not thought of yet that have me reconsidering the timeline and how I will approach this. I was thankful that he shared this info with me and figured I would pass it along to anyone considering something similar. The rental business seems overwhelming to me, a guy that has lived most of his twenties behind a computer, but I am up fo the challenge and will start this journey before the year ends. Good luck to anyone else considering the same.

Top 10 Ways To Prevent A Home Invasion

Top 10 Ways To Prevent A Home Invasion


  1. Surveillance Cameras

install security cameras

Home security cameras have proven to be valuable time and time again. You should install one in the front yard, one in the backyard, and a few inside the home. Packages are fairly cheap these days and getting your hands on an 8 camera surveillance system won’t break the bank. These cameras can record to a computer in the home, or stream to the cloud where the footage remains safe from harm. The last thing you want to do is capture a crook in the act, only to have them steal the computer that recorded them. Not everyone has the budget or technical ability to purchase and set up a home surveillance system, but you can always purchase “dummy cameras” as a deterrent for prowling criminals. These cameras can be set up around the exterior of the home, most take batteries and will display a red LED light indicating the device is powered and recording. This gives the look and feel that the home is under video surveillance and should keep any would be home invasion criminals thinking twice about entering the property. Local cable and network companies are also offering installation and monitoring services in addition to their phone, internet, and alarm packages. Sometimes it’s easier to just let someone else install and monitor the cameras for you.


  1. Dog

pitbull for home protection

I have pretty much always had a dog, and I’m not sure I will ever be without one. There are too many amazing reasons to make mans best friend a permanent part of the family home life. The dogs I have had are not little lap dogs, although those can be very effective at making enough noise to make a criminal walk away, they won’t be enough to stop a determined criminal from invading your home. Big dogs are worth their weight in gold, and I have witnessed first hand the power they have when it comes to the protection they have over their family. They will absolutely throw themselves in harm’s way to protect you and your children. Without a doubt the best guard dog I have owned was a Red Nose Pitbull. I know Pits get a bad rap, but they are the biggest loving family dogs I have ever been around. They are like any other living creature, if you subject them to abuse and fighting then they become a product of their environment. If you raise one as a puppy to love and nurture family and other dogs they are the best in the world. I understand that not everyone wants to buy a dog, maybe they are allergic, don’t have the yard, or just can’t afford to feed one. I would still recommend that you buy a large food bowl and even a dog bed and leave it near the back door. You can even set it up inside near a window so that it is visible to criminals peeping through your windows. Don’t forget a “Beware Of Dog Sign” on the gate of your yard. I have two dogs, in the evenings I bring one in the house and leave the other in the backyard. This gives me a set of eyes and ears on any front entrance while protecting the exterior of the backyard and any entry points there. Both dogs here everything out front and will bark simultaneously if they here any foot traffic in front of the home. This is definitely a deterrent for anyone considering a home invasion!   


  1. Motion Lighting System

motion lighting front yard

Motion lights should be considered by any homeowner looking to protect their land and their families. Motion lighting systems work for you at all hours of the night will surely make a home invasion specialist think twice about entering your property. Motion lights can also tip off a sleeping dog, neighbors dog, or a dog that might be hard of hearing. Depending on where the light is located in conjunction with your bedroom window, it may even alert you to a possible home invasion. These lighting systems can also be synched up to your home surveillance systems and can trigger alarms and cameras. Cameras can be set to record whenever the motion light is activated. These lighting systems are not only great for protecting you from home invasions, they are also great for protecting you in general. Every time you come and go in the evenings, take out the trash, get the paper in the mornings, or go for an evening walk your motion lighting system will light the way for you. This will give you added security and provide you with a well-lit path as you travel to and from your home.


  1. Alarm System

installing alarm warnings

Without a doubt, I am a huge fan of these. Alarms can work around the clock for you and provide you the security you need when you are home and when you are away. Having an alarm sign or sticker in the front yard to indicate the home is monitored by an alarm system is a definite bonus. No criminal wants to deal with that. Alarm systems can be set when you are gone, and when you are home. They can be customized to only go off when a door opens, or if there is motion inside the home. Windows can be equipped with alarm sensors, as well as all the doors in the home including the garage doors. Alarm panels should be placed where criminals can’t see if they are armed or disarmed. A secondary alarm panel should be installed in the master bedroom for easy access to enable or disable the alarm system. Many systems have “dummy codes” that can be programmed to disable the alarm system and notify the police at the same time. This is valuable if a home invasion begins before you enter your home. If the criminal is waiting out front for you to return, engages you before you open the front door, then demands you disable the alarm, you can disable the alarm with a code that will also notify the local police at the same time. Make sure you have this feature setup and available for your safety.


  1. Door Brace

break in prevention

There are many home invasions that happen when criminals decide to kick in the door of the home. This could be a front entry, side garage door, or rear entry. You can reinforce the door jamb with metal door braces that will prevent them from being kicked in. You can also add a door brace to the top of the door and the bottom of the door. Metal reinforced brackets that have been anchored into the foundation or into ceiling struts and provide enough reinforcement to prevent a brute force break-in. Your doors themselves can also be upgraded to a heavier duty door that can withstand the force of a violent intruder.


  1. Quality Locks

extra strong deadbolt

Upgrade the door latches and deadbolts on your door to something that can’t be picked, kicked, or smashed in. Often times with the higher quality, heavy duty deadbolt systems, they will also come with improved metal sleeves for the locking mechanism to slide into. These will also hold up better to brute force and provide real reinforcement when it matters most. Multiple locks will provide that much more security if you feel you are vulnerable to a home invasion or live in an area that would warrant that type of security then, by all means, add extra locks.


  1. Security Screen / Window Bars

heavy metal screen doors

Security screen doors are a great first line of defense at the entry points. These heavy metal screen doors are mounted on heavy metal frames that can be extremely difficult to break through. If there was a home invasion attempt and a criminal was trying to pry through a security screen door it would give you ample time to set the alarm off, call the police, and grab a home defense weapon. There isn’t a criminal on the planet that wants to deal with security screens, these people are too lazy to work for the things they want, so they steal your property instead. They are typically not that willing to go through the hard work it would take to get through a security door. Lazy people like lazy options and a security screen door is not that. Bars on the windows are not attractive, but they provide ample security if you live in an area that is subject to criminal activity. 


  1. Home Defense Weapon

home defense weapon

I am a big believer in HD weaponry. You never know what violent criminal might show up at your front door looking to take what you worked hard to earn, and possibly taking your life doing it. Home Defense weapons are typically referred to the primary firearm or weapon you would use to protect your home and family from a violent intruder. I have hidden easy access safes located throughout my home that have firearms in them that can be accessed in under 5 seconds. This means if for some reason I am totally caught off guard while in the laundry room washing a load of laundry, I can still access a weapon that is capable of protecting me and my family. Many of these easy access safe units have combination codes on them, while others can be programmed to accept a fingerprint. I highly recommend equipping these firearms with tased pointers and mini mag lights. If you were to draw one and shine that down your hallway, there is a good chance that it would cause the invader to retreat without a shot being fired. There is something very intimidating about a laser light and mag light being shined in your face, even criminals are scared of that. The other thing to consider is the caliber of the HD. I am a fan of heavy rounds that will provide maximum protection. If the home invasion is taking place while the criminal is high on crystal meth, a 9mm round may not be enough to stop him initially. Using a heavy round like a .40 or .45 will provide enough force to knock a criminal under the influence back and hopefully down for the count. Having a handgun is very convenient but not always ideal when it comes to aiming the weapon in a critical situation. Fear, anxiety, and adrenaline can all impact your ability to aim properly and become effective with your shot. Therefore, I highly recommend shotguns for primary HD purposes. This is the HD weapon you grab when you have time to run from the kitchen to your bedroom. Depending on what you are comfortable shooting, this could be a 12 Gage or a 20 Gage shotgun. There are a few HD shotguns on the market right now that are absolute beasts. You can alternate your loads between birdshot and slugs to give you more versatility when engaging. Birdshot is going to spread and cover a massive area, almost guaranteeing that you will hit your target with something, you can follow that shot with a slug if needed to eliminate the threat of it still exists. Bird shot may slow down the criminal, but it will be the slug that stops him. You can check out the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 590 Shockwave as legal options for home defense. Both of these come with pistol grips and can easily be handled in tight quarters.


  1. Safe Room

above ground storm shelter

Ever seen that movie Panic Room with Jodie Foster? That is a very scary reality and could happen to anyone. Most of us don’t have the real estate or money to invest in a Panic Room like the one featured in that movie, but that doesn’t mean that there are not options available to you. There are above ground and below ground storm shelters that are literally bulletproof that can be used as panic rooms in the event, there is a home invasion. Usually, in areas where tornadoes are active, these shelters are installed in the garage where they can be accessed from the interior during an emergency. They can be installed above ground, bolted to the foundation in the garage, and accessed from a heavy duty door with an internal locking mechanism. The below ground shelter is also typically installed in the garage but is common to be found outdoors also if the land allows for it. If you can access your outdoor shelter during a home invasion then you might as well run to a neighbors house if you are not being chased. The problem with these shelters is typically that the location of them may be difficult to reach during an invasion. My garage is located at the other end of the home, and all entry points are between my master bedroom and the garage. A safe room in my garage wouldn’t be as valuable as it would be in the home of someone whose master bedroom sits across from the garage door. The above ground storm shelters can also double as walk-in safes when they aren’t being used as a panic room. They are typically large enough to store survival supplies, guns, money, and other valuables. Depending on the size of the shelter, they can typically hold 4-6 people.


  1. Learn A Self Defense System

learn self defense

Sometimes a home invasion is a perfectly planned crime. They have cased your home for weeks, possibly even months and know when the vulnerable times to strike are. If they are not looking to harm you or your family, hopefully, they strike when nobody is home. If they have other intentions besides theft, like killing someone, rape, or kidnapping, they may decide to strike while you are home. In an ideal situation, all of your preventative efforts will buy you enough time to respond accordingly. This could be grabbing your HD weapon, getting your dogs indoors, calling the police, or locking yourself inside your storm shelter. But what if the timing was absolutely perfect? What if the alarm was disabled, the dog was pooping in the back corner of the yard, a gun was not accessible before the criminal reached you, and they were not deterred by the lights and cameras? What if? What then? There was a home invasion that happened out on the East Coast a few years back where a Doctor’s wife and daughters were raped and killed and he survived the ordeal. The criminals were caught, but the family was dead and the home was basically burned down as the criminals set fire to it. My thinking is that if they have made it into my home with me there, they are willing to kill me to get what they want, otherwise they would have waited until the home was empty. In this scenario, this very scary scenario, I believe you need to have a game plan in place that you can execute before they execute you. I am a fan of combat sports, always have been. Anyone that stays in shape is going to be better off than an overweight middle aged man or woman. Young people should learn martial arts, parents should enroll their kids in some form of combat training. Karate, Kick Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, Kung Fu, anything that involves combative survival training that an individual could use in a time of crisis is going to drastically increase your chances of survival. Men and women of law enforcement and military all train in this for a reason, it works! Learning how to disarm a criminal with a knife or hand gun, how to escape a choke hold or fight from your back light they do in jiu-jitsu will give you and your family an advantage that most criminals don’t anticipate encountering. Going up against a well trained martial artist can be a shock to anyone that has ever encountered one. This training will get you into the shape of your life and equip you with life-saving combat skills that you may need one day on the streets or during a home invasion.


Sometimes terrible things happen to amazing people, and criminals can strike at any time. By preparing your home and family for a home invasion your odds of dying at the hands of an intruder decrease substantially. These preventative measures listed in this article are simply suggestions to help you avoid that scenario and should not be considered as absolute. By taking action before the crisis occurs, you can potentially defer a criminal from acting on bad intentions. These 10 steps listed above should be considered by everyone with a home and family. In an ideal situation, you should lock you and your family in a room or storm shelter and call 911. Let the police handle the dangerous criminals for you, keep your family safe and protected. However, if that is not an option then use whatever force is necessary to stop the threat.


Top 5 Dentists In The United States

Top 5 Dentists In The United States

This should give us all something to smile about, a review driven top 10 list of dentists in the United States. There is nothing official about this list other than we used a collective pool of reviews and patient feedback to calculate who the best dentist in the United States was. Our findings generated the following results. Enjoy!

#1 Dr. James Ojjeh

Bloomingdale, IL


Bloomingdale dentistAbout Da Vinci Dental

At Da Vinci Dental, we offer friendly and gentle dental care, smile makeover, implants and cosmetic dentistry in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Dr.  Ojjeh and his staff are very understanding, and they know your time is valuable. That is why we work efficiently to get you out of the dental chair and back to your day! Our wait time is less than 5 minutes.

Mission Statement

It is our mission to serve our community, not only through the best dental care possible, but also by being an example of a caring, positive, companionate, and enjoyable place to visit and work. Our core values are to make strong commitments to listen to our patients and provide them with high-quality dental care, treat them with respect and care, and make their dental visit and care a pleasant and happy experience.

Convenient Hours

At Da Vinci Dental, we believe in making it easy for you to make it to the dentist on a regular basis. To that end, we are open late in the evenings and on weekends for your convenience. This means that you do not have to miss work or school to keep up with your oral hygiene. You can even come in on Sundays!

#2 Dr. Kim R. Glick

Tullahoma, TN


Tullahoma DentistThe Right Reasons for Choosing Us

Patients have many reasons for choosing Glick & Woods Dentistry. We’ve been a trusted source for complete dental care since 1985 and we have an outstanding reputation in the Tullahoma community as well as the nearby cities of Shelbyville, Winchester, Fayetteville and Manchester. We provide gentle and comprehensive preventive care, pediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry and care for periodontal disease here in our dental practice.

We have two well-trained, highly-skilled, genuinely compassionate dentists who are gentle, friendly, easy to talk to and always looking out for your best interests. Be sure to call us if you’re looking for a kids dentist.

Patients appreciate the fact that we are not part of a dental chain or a large, impersonal group. That means your family receives truly personalized, one-on-one care from dentists and staff who share a patient-first treatment philosophy and always put patients at ease.

Do you have a broken tooth or missing teeth? Need extensive treatment for gum disease? Suffering from wisdom tooth pain? We take our time explaining your dental health issues and treatment options so you never leave us with unanswered questions or concerns.

We’re extremely thorough and we use the most advanced dental equipment and technology such as intraoral cameras that let you see what we see, plus digital X-rays for safer, more accurate imaging.

Patients love our experienced, friendly, reliable staff who are responsive to your needs and who work very hard to help you get the most from your dental insurance with excellent insurance management.

And patients really appreciate our high-quality care and great service at affordable, competitive pricing. You will, too.

Discover family dentistry with a gentle touch from Tullahoma’s most popular dental practice. Come to Glick & Woods Dentistry for complete dental care you and your family can trust. Please call our dental clinic at 931.455.3917. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to arrange your consultation. Patients visit us from Franklin County, Bedford County, Lincoln County, Coffee County and nearby locations.

#3 Dr. Lance R. Schmidt

Oklahoma City, OK


dentist okcIn 2004, Dr. Schmidt founded Reflections Dental Care along with his wife Stephanie who then served as the practice’s only dental hygienist.

They’ve now been married for 15 years and have three children: Solomon, Theo, and Stella. They also have a 14-year-old Labradoodle named, Bella.

Dr. Schmidt attended the University of Oklahoma, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Sport Sciences. He then went on to earn a Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.

He then additionally was awarded one of just five available residencies in the renowned Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program. He attributes his ongoing excellence in dentistry in great part to this additional twelve months in a comprehensive, high-level learning environment. In this program, advanced care topics are studied and practiced, some of which include general care, cosmetic dentistry, full mouth reconstruction, and dental implants.

Over the past 14 years, Dr. Schmidt has placed over 1,000 dental implants. Unlike many other general dentistry practices, the entire process can happen at Reflections Dental Care. No need to drive all across town for the different stages of treatment.

Dr. Schmidt holds membership with the American Dental Association and the Spear Study Club. A few times a year, he completes advanced training at the prestigious Scottsdale Center for Dentistry.

It is Dr. Schmidt’s goal to exceed his patients’ expectations and to provide everyone with exceptional care in a positive atmosphere that is both compassionate and of the highest standard of excellent care.

He sees his most important contribution to the practice as inspiring and maintaining the vision and culture for the team and patients. His top priority is to create a great work environment whereupon the most natural consequence is great patient care.

Dr. Schmidt’s favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. He enjoys date night with his wife, wrestling with his boys, taking his daughter to the flower shop to buy flowers for her mom, and doing Bikram Yoga. Interesting fact about Dr. Schmidt: he just started learning to play bass guitar.

#4 Dr. Andrew D. Frangella

New York City, NY


dentist nycOur experts at Frangella Dental develop customized comprehensive treatment plans for each patient. At our office, we believe that patients deserve the best that dentistry has to offer.   Allow us to offer an advanced level of dental care with beautiful, long-term results. We offer state-of-the-art treatments like Invisalign, Teeth Whitening, and Dental Implants.


Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten your teeth. Our Invisalign-certified dentists can effectively treat a wide variety of orthodontic cases in teens and adults without the use of metal brackets or wires. This method is a cutting-edge approach to teeth straightening that will have a minimal impact on your life but a significant impact on your smile.

With clear, customized aligners, this method gradually straightens your smile at about the same time as braces. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed for flossing and brushing teeth, eating chewy foods, or for special occasions. Click here to learn more about the difference between traditional braces and Invisalign.

When gums fit better around aligned teeth, there the risk of periodontal disease is reduced. By correcting your bite, Invisalign can also improve chewing and speech ability, and can decrease the risk of trauma and abnormal wear on the supporting bone and jaw joints.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening is a non-invasive dental treatment used to create a brighter and whiter smile. Choose in-office whitening and lighten your teeth up to 6-10 shades in one visit or opt for a take-home whitening kit. Both of these professional whitening methods remove deep-down stains caused by factors such as tobacco, coffee, tea, and aging. This treatment can improve your smile instantly.

Dental Implants

Patients who are missing teeth now can choose a strong, beautiful alternative to bridges, partial dentures, or full dentures. Missing teeth result in negative effects such as increased bone loss, decreased chewing force, limited food selection, and the deterioration of facial aesthetics.

Dental Implants are titanium posts attached to the jawbone which are used to replace the root of a missing tooth. A porcelain crown is placed on the post to restore the area to its proper form and function while increasing a patient’s overall comfort. Utilizing the latest cutting edge techniques and technology,

Dr. Andrew Frangella performs all steps in implant placement and restoration from our office. Therefore, eliminating the need to visit different offices to complete the procedure. He conducts a thorough evaluation to determine a custom treatment plan for each patient.

Dental Implants offer a prosthesis that closely mimics nature. They allow a patient to enjoy restored use of the area. This routine procedure creates a new smile which will boost confidence, enhance facial appearance, and improve a patient’s quality of life.

#5 Dr. Sheryl Leipold

Homer Glenn, IL


dentistDr. Sheryl Leipold, Dr. Kristie Dragstrem, and Dr. Erin Nicorata sincerely welcome you to our dental practice!  Dr. Leipold is an active member of The Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, American Dental Association, Illinois State Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society, and International Association of Orthodontics.

We are a dental practice devoted to restoring and enhancing the natural beauty of your smile using conservative, state-of-the-art procedures that will result in beautiful, long lasting smiles!  We now have two locations to better serve your dental needs!

High Standards

A standard of excellence in personalized dental care enables us to provide the quality dental services our patients deserve.  We provide comprehensive treatment planning and use restorative and cosmetic dentistry to achieve your optimal dental health.  Should a dental emergency occur, we make every effort to see and care for you as soon as possible.

Education & Prevention

As a practice, we are true believers that preventative care and education are the keys to optimal dental health.  We strive to provide “dental health care” vs. “disease care”.  That’s why we focus on thorough exams – checking the overall health of your teeth and gums, performing oral cancer exams, and taking x-rays when necessary.  We also know that routine cleanings, flossing, sealants, and fluoride are all helpful in preventing dental disease.  Not only are we focused on the beauty of your smile, we’re also concerned about your health.  A review of your medical history can help us stay informed of your overall health, any new medications, and any illnesses that may impact your dental health.

Uncompromising Safety

Infection control in our office is also very important to us.  To protect our patients and ourselves, we strictly maintain sterilization and cross contamination processes using standards recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Training & Expertise

As your dental health professionals, we want you to be confident knowing that we are a team of highly trained and skilled clinicians. We pride ourselves in providing the care you need to keep your smile healthy. To give you the best possible service and results, we are committed to continual education and learning. We attend dental lectures, meetings, and dental conventions to stay informed of new techniques, the latest products, and the newest equipment that a modern dental office can utilize to provide state-of-the-art dental care. Also, being members of various professional dental associations helps us to stay abreast of the changes and recommendations for our profession.

A Positive Experience

Building a foundation of trust by treating our patients as special individuals is vital to our success. We understand how uneasy some patients may feel about their dental visits, and how we can make a difference in providing a relaxing and positive experience. Our entire team is dedicated to providing you with excellent, personalized care and service to make your visits as comfortable and pleasant as possible.

Top 10 DIY Car Detailing Techniques

The Top 10 Car Detailing Techniques For The DIY Enthusiast

car detailing tips

Most of us own a vehicle that needs a deep cleaning periodically, this can be done by you or you can hire a professional to do the job. If you are a DIY type of person you will enjoy this top 10 list of the best car detailing tips from the professionals at Chase Detailing in Oklahoma. We caught up with Nicholas Chase to discuss how everyday people can get world-class results like the professionals.

1. Tools Of The Trade

Like anything else, you will need to invest in the tools needed to get the results you want. Here is an itemized list of some basic tools to have ready before you begin detailing your car. Here are the top 10 tools we suggest the DIY car detailer purchases and has available in the garage for car detailing.

• 5 Gallon Bucket
Microfiber Cloth
• Soap
Wheel Brush
Rim Cleaner
Tire Cleaner
• Towels For Drying
Glass Cleaner
Shop-Vac or Portable Hand Vacuum
• Electric Buffer

These items will help you get started. If you don’t have these items and need to purchase them then visit your local Home Depot. If you need to borrow them instead you can ask a family member or neighbor.

2. Wash Your Car Out Of The Sun

I see people in my neighborhood on sunny days washing and waxing their cars, unfortunately, this is less than ideal. The hot sun can evaporate the water quickly and leave your car with undesirable spots. If possible, wash your car in the morning before the sun starts shining on it. If that’s not possible, aim for the evenings once the sun goes down. If you have a carport or covered area that you can use during the day then use that while you have natural daylight. Also, wait for the body of the vehicle to cool down, if that car has been sitting in direct sunlight and is hot to the touch then let it cool before applying soap and water.

car detailing3. Use Multiple Buckets

You wouldn’t wash your clothes with dirty water, why wash your car with it? By having multiple buckets you can soap your rags, wash the vehicle, then rinse the rag in a separate bucket of warm water. Rinse and repeat. This is especially important when the car is dirty, or if you are washing the rims, wheels, or bumper areas that are often times exposed to dirt and grease.

4. Clean From The Top Down

Seems obvious to some, and not so obvious to others. Cleaning your car from the top down is the best way to ensure that you don’t have to clean the same surface area twice. After that, you should give detailed attention to your trim by treating it with a restoration product before moving on to waxing and polishing your car. The chemicals in the wax can stain the plastic trim, so it is advised that plastic gets treated before the waxing begins to avoid this.

5. Use A Microfibre Cloth

Dish rags, sponges, and bath towels have been the go-to wash rag of choice for decades. Switching to a microfibre cloth has many benefits when it comes to washing and detailing your car. Microfibre clothes help to prevent unwanted scratching to the surface of the car and are more efficient for detailing. It is also advised that you wash your microfibre cloth separate from your regular clothes to prevent the cloth from absorbing unwanted lint and particles.

6. Wax Your Car With A Buffer

The days of manually waxing your car should be long behind you. Electric buffers are available at your local hardware store and should be used when waxing your car. Make sure you read the instructions properly and learn how to use it before letting loose on your car’s surface. You start at the back of the vehicle at the bottom towards the bumper to start. This will allow you the opportunity to get familiar with the tool on a surface area that isn’t easily visible. This way, if you make a mistake it will go unnoticed. Make sure you don’t attempt to remove previous wax coats with an electric buffer, the surface area can suffer from streaks and swirls that will become noticeable on the car’s hood.

car polisher

7. Clean The Windows With Care

One thing that separates the DIY detailer with a professional car detailer is how they treat the windows. When you get into a professionally detailed car and look out the windows it’s so clear that you can easily think the windows are rolled down. The DIY detailer might not get those same results. So how do you do it? Here are my top 5 tips for detailing your car windows.


• Use newspaper to clean the glass. There is less streaking that occurs from a newspaper.
• Dry the outside vertically and the inside horizontally, if there are streaks going in either direction you will then be able to tell if they are on the inside or the outside.
• Roll your windows down half way and clean the tops and sides of the windows.
• Use a quality window cleaning solution.
• Don’t be afraid to use a new razor on surface substances that won’t wash out. You can carefully remove grime and things like sap, egg, gum, and grime from the window with a flat razor if it doesn’t come off with some elbow grease. If your windows are tinted I would refrain from using a razor, especially on the interior window. This little tool can cause serious damage if not used properly, so use caution before diving in.


8. Brush Your Interior Before Vacuuming

You can use a brush on your seats, carpets, and in hard to reach places. A brush does a great job of loosening up unwanted debris and draws it to the surface by moving the carpet fibers in a way that pushes the nestled dirt to the surface of the floor. Once the dirt has surfaced you can use a vacuum to draw the dirt off the floor. Depending on the power of the vacuum you are using, you may also pull additional debris from underneath the carpet.

9.Polishing Your Car To Get That Finished Look

If you will be detailing your car on a regular basis then investing in a polisher will be a great idea. A dual action polisher can be used to get the most desired results possible. These polishers are perfect for working out scuffs and surface scratches. If buying one isn’t in your budget you can always revert to renting one or borrowing one from a friend or neighbor.

10. Hire A Professional Car Detailing Company

It’s easy to get caught up in the appeal of DIY everything. Everywhere we look we have the opportunity to just do things ourselves. But honestly, what’s your time worth to you? Unless it’s something you really enjoy doing, just pay someone to detail your car. After I bought my new ride a few years back, I detailed it every month by hand. Well, that got old pretty quick. Four months into owning my new car, I stopped the Saturday morning detail efforts and hired a mobile detailer. They have been detailing my car now for years and I’ll probably never do it myself again. Just saying.

Top 10 Kitchen Countertop Surfaces

Our Top 10 List of Natural and Fabricated Kitchen Countertop Materials

Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Between the appliances, backsplashes, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and countertops you can definitely find yourself overwhelmed by the options available to you. While we are not experts on appliances and cabinetry, we do have some insider opinions on countertops. From granite counters to concrete counters, there is something for every home and every budget. Here are our top 10 kitchen countertop materials that our interior design contacts have shared with us as the best surface materials for any kitchen.

#1 Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are highly sought out by homeowners around the country, they have complex color schemes, intricate designs, and natural beauty. Granite counters add a look of sophistication to any kitchen and often times become the focal point of the dining area. Granite is not cheap, but it is nearly indestructible and the investment could literally last a lifetime. Price ranges differ drastically depending on the style of stone and where it was imported from. Because of its popularity and availability, the price of Granite has actually come down in recent years.

granite kitchen counters

You can shop for granite at your local natural stone showroom, or call a countertop installation contractor for pricing. It is often times cheaper to go through a contractor that buys granite slabs in bulk and is able to cut it down for you as opposed to buying a slab yourself and trying to cut and install it. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about granite countertops and the installation process here at https://granitekarma.com/.

#2 Wood Block Countertops

While this countertop may not be as popular as the others on this list, we have become fans of these versatile countertops and continue to see more of them in homes and in vacation properties. The wood block countertops have their pros and cons, as with a cutting board they can warp if not treated properly, hot pans will leave burn marks, knives will cut into them, and they can stain from wines and fruits. So why did wood block countertops make the top of our top 10 list? There is an appeal to them that we don’t see in any other countertops on the market. They give a home a very warm feeling that could be compared to country living. While they may not be ideal for every home, these countertops definitely have their place in the world.

butcher block counters

Wood countertops come in a variety of woods and colors and can be treated and stained to the eyes desire. The biggest benefit of wood countertops is that they can be re-sanded and sealed when the surface or finish become worn and blemished. The biggest issue we have with the wooden surface is that it stains and scuffs easily. Any deep scratches need to be re-sealed to prevent liquids from penetrating the surface. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about wood block countertops and the installation process here at https://allikriste.com/butcher-block-countertops-tampa.html.

#3 Stainless Steel Countertops

It might be my background in the culinary industry that has me placing stainless steel so high on the list here. There are many things I like about the countertop surface and many things I don’t. The industrial look it brings to a kitchen offers a very modern look and pairs great with stainless steel appliances. The countertops are easy to clean and are virtually bulletproof. They are a little pricey but would be fairly easy to replace if needed. The problem I do have with them is like with any stainless steel surface they scratch and scuff very easy. Scratches are noticeable and buffing them out is not an option that I am aware of. They don’t stain easily and do not need to be sealed or treated to maintain them.

stainless steel counters

Stainless steel countertops are also a great option for outdoor BBQ pits. The surfaces are extremely durable in an outdoor or industrial environment and can be cleaned with just about any chemical on the market. These countertops made our top 10 list because of durability, affordability, industrial appeal, and ease of replacement. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about steel countertops and the installation process here at https://www.riversidesheetmetal.net/counter-tops/stainless-steel/.

#4 Solid Surface Countertops

These countertops are awesome for many reasons, they are affordable, easy to repair, and they come in all sorts of color and pattern options. These fabricated solid surfaces can be easily customized and installed to fit your floor plan. They are very resistant to staining and can hold up to most chemical cleaning solutions. The installation process is pretty quick, measurements are made one day and the following week they are fabricated and ready for install.

solid surface counters

Solid surface countertops can become damaged from hot pots or pans. They are not something to cut on as I have seen good kitchen knives leave permanent markings on the surface. They are becoming more popular because the prices can range from affordable to very expensive. The broad range of patterns and color options also make them attractive options for designers looking for color flakes that don’t show up in natural stone and wood countertop surfaces. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about solid surface countertops and the installation process here at http://www.macadamfloors.com/solid-surface-slab/.

#5 Soapstone Countertops

These solid surface countertops are typically dark in color and the surface feels smooth to the touch. You will see these in older homes as countertop surfaces but also installed in the sinks. They are pretty resistant to staining, have great rich color options, are smooth to the touch, and are durable enough to last a long time in your kitchen.

kitchen counter made from soapstone.

These soapstone countertops require regular maintenance, they need to be oiled often with mineral oil and can suffer from cracking over time. The color of the soapstone has been known to darken after years of exposure to the elements of the kitchen. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about soapstone countertops and the installation process here at https://doradosoapstone.com/.

#6 Laminate Countertops

While not my favorite countertop by a longshot, I gave it the number 6 position in our top 10 countertop materials list because of affordability and options. I wouldn’t install laminate countertops in my home, I had them as a kid and never cared for them. They are cheap to make and come in just about every color you can imagine. The surfaces are easy to clean and stand up to most chemical cleaning solutions and everyday activity.

laminate counters

What I don’t like about these surfaces has to do with the front edges and repair options. The front edges always seemed to peel back and honestly gave it a cheap appearance. Something you find at a table in an old fast food franchise. The edging can be pricey, but in comparison to some of the other countertop options, it’s still a cheaper option. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about laminate countertops and the installation process here at https://www.tshopinc.com/denver-laminate-countertops/.

#7 Concrete Countertops

These are cool and offer an industrial look and feel that can’t be beaten. The pricing can be beaten though and that’s a big reason why it made number 7 on our list. If you have a very custom countertop surface that needs to be shaped to the existing architecture and other natural or fabricated surfaces can’t be cut to the dimensions needed, concrete stone countertops offer you the flexibility to pour and shape to any custom design you have.

concrete poured to form countertop

This can be a pricey option that may detour most people from investing in the stone surface. Because of the cost of labor, these prices exceed most of the cheaper options available. They are resistant to hot pans, knife blades, don’t scuff easily, extremely durable, and have a very industrial look and feel to them. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about concrete countertops and the installation process here at https://www.customcretewerks.com/.

#8 Ceramic Tile Countertops

Not a huge fan of ceramic had a kitchen sink that was ceramic and it chipped often. I hear the same goes for the countertop surfaces. It’s a pretty affordable option and fits most home kitchen designs. Installation is fairly simple and can be done by the DIY homeowner. The tiles are easy to clean and hold up to most kitchen wear and tear.

ceramic tile counters

This is a decent option for most homeowners looking for an affordable solution for their kitchen counters. Things to consider with tile countertops are the grout lines. Anytime you have grout lines on a surface that is designed to prepare food you have the potential for staining and bacteria growth. The grout lines can absorb liquids and become resting spots for germs and mold. Purchasing custom tiles can increase the cost of the tile. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about ceramic tile countertops and the installation process here at https://www.thetileguywy.com/.

#9 Engineered Stone Countertops

Engineered stone countertops offer all the beauty of natural stone with man-made benefits. They are scratch resistant, have a nonporous surface, and are fairly easy to maintain. They do not need to be sealed like the natural stone surfaces do. They come in many colors and are very attractive alternatives to natural stone surfaces.

engineered stone

While these countertops are easier to maintain because they do not need to be sealed and cared for like the natural stone surfaces do, they come at a price point that may not be appealing to most homeowners. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about engineered stone countertops and the installation process here at https://multistoneinc.com/engineered-stone/.

#10 Marble Countertops

Marble doesn’t deserve to be at the bottom of any top 10 list. These are some of the most sought-after natural stone surfaces in the world and it just made number 10 on my list of countertops surfaces. My reasoning behind this has less to do with the quality of the surface and more to do with the price and awareness. First, it’s expensive. Second, everyone knows about marble countertops, if they wanted to purchase marble they wouldn’t be here looking for alternate solutions for their kitchen. So why put it at the top of a list for people searching for countertop options?

marble counters

Marble is beautiful and highly regarded as the most precious of the natural stone surfaces. It’s expensive, requires constant maintenance, and it becomes stained easily. If it were not for the price and the maintenance required to keep the surface protected it would have made top 5 on this list. There are countertops installation specialists all over the country, you can learn more about marble countertops and the installation process here at https://majesticmarbletile.com/.

Keep bugs off your kitchen counters with these pest control tips.

15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

Our Top 15 Pest Control Tips For Your Home

pest controlWhen it comes to pest control there are hundreds of over the counter options, local pest control companies, and everyday cleanups that can be performed to not only prevent infestations but to terminate them. While we try to as economical as possible, and environmentally friendly as we can, sometimes it can take a nuclear war to properly terminate hard to kill pets like Cockroaches. This is our highly anticipated list of pest control options for homeowners. By taking baby steps, cleaning up, and consistently caring for your property you can rest assured that your insect and rodent problems will be a thing of the past. If you neglect the property, then like anything else it will suffer. These 15 pest control tips when followed through on provide homeowners an amazing foundation to work from. If the problem is already out of control, you may want to refer to a pest control company that has the staff, equipment, chemicals, and knowledge needed to eliminate nesting and infestation problems that already exist. If your problem is in the beginning stages, or you were wanting to prevent a problem from evolving in the first place. These 15 tips were shared with us by Phoenix pest control company Green Home Pest and are meant to be foundational guidelines that can be followed by all homeowners across the country. 

Before diving into these 15 tips, you need to understand that these are general suggestions and applications that may not necessarily be applicable to your specific problem. Take these tips as the resources they were meant to be and apply them where you see fit. Many suggestions here are basic cleaning solutions that most homeowners may already be doing, while other methods will require chemicals and treatment tools to properly apply the chemicals to the property.

Insects and rodents are pretty simple creatures, when they intrude on a property it is typically for food and shelter. Understanding this basic need makes it easier to prevent them from entering your property or taking up residence in your yard. We know that if they are searching for food and it is not available that they will move on. If they are searching for shelter and there is not a way to enter the home, they will move on. Rodents can find shelter in sheds, junk, and miscellaneous items in the yard. If you keep your property free of this clutter they will move on to the next property where they will continue their search for food and shelter. Use these 50 pest control tips to keep your property clean and pest free.

  1. Sweep And Mop

This may sound silly, but if you look at it from the ground level it makes complete sense. Insects and rodents are attracted to crumb trails and sugary spills. sweep food from floor oftenBy keeping your property free of food and sugary substances you can avoid attracting ants and cockroaches who are constantly on the ground level searching for a treat. Ants and cockroaches can find their way into a home through the tiniest cracks and crevasses. These are often times the hardest insects to get rid of, but you can avoid them altogether by keeping the floors free of food and garbage. The applies to the exterior of the home also. Keeping the ground clear around your trash cans and the back patio where you may gather and grill is extremely important. Food scraps attract rodents and insects. Birds can also become a problem as they scavenge your property for scraps, bird poop can get extremely messy and cleaning it up is no fun, so prevent the problem from happening with cleanliness, to begin with.

  1. Seal Everything

Another one that may seem obvious, but not everyone acts on. Check your doors and windows to make sure the weather stripping isn’t dried out and cracking. It may go unnoticed in doors and windows that are rarely used but it can make a huge difference. Stripping the garage doors and outside facing doors can keep the smallest critters out of your home where they belong. Check walls and door frames for cracking and splits that can be penetrated. Dryer vents and chimney stacks can be blocked off with steel mesh to prevent larger rodents from entering through those openings and nesting.

  1. Diversify Your Plant Portfolio

If all you have in your yard is grass and rocks you may be vulnerable to infestations from specific species. What happens is there may be an attraction to a certain grass or plant that occupies the majority of your yard. There are a few problems here. An abundance of a single plant life that attracts one type of bug can lead to an infestation. The other problem is that there may not be any natural predators drawn to your yard to combat these insects. By diversifying your plant portfolio, you will be naturally attracting all sorts of insects that will gather and keep things balanced naturally. Many insects feed on others, finding out which plants attract the predators of your pests will allow you to plant in a way that prepares the yard for a natural form of pest control.

  1. Cedar Oil

Cedar oil is a great natural insect repellent that can be used in the yard without concerns of poisoning your pets. Cedar oil is a safe organic option that will not only repel bugs, but it will also coat any eggs that are attached to your plants and prevent them from hatching. Using a bug spray application tool, you can mix some cedar oil with a little bit of water and spray throughout your yard. It’s great to use on the lawn, on flowers, and in shrubs. Cedar oil is cheap enough that you can spray daily and not break the bank. You can find cedar oil online or at any local pet supply store or feed store.


  1. Hire Professionals To Treat Termites

I don’t think it’s worth the risk to try and do it yourself. If you find signs that termites have invaded your property, hire a professional immediately to treat the property and prevent the infestation from causing permanent damage to your trees and home. Many times when a homeowner notices termites have infested their home it is too late, preventative pest control is highly advised for these destructive little creatures. Other insects are a nuisance, but these can cause terrible damage to the framework of your home. If you even think for a moment that you might have termites, spend the money to have the problem treated properly.

  1. Clean Up The Clutter

Clutter in the garage, clutter in the yard, clutter in the home. Pests like to nest and find shelter among the clutter. It’s convenient to stack boxes in the garage, old bins on the side of the house, yard equipment, and random unused junk around the home. These concentrated pockets of junk provide great dwelling places for rodents and insects. Larger forms of clutter like cars and trailers can provide shelter and become breeding grounds for rats and wild cats.

  1. Keep Your Grass And Plants Cut

cut back overgrown bushes and treesOvergrown trees and grass provide hiding spots and feeding grounds for many pests in your yards. Overgrown grass can hide cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and rodents can hide in the overgrown brush. Trees that overhang can cause all sorts of problems. Trees overhanging the home can invite roof rats and termites can use these overhanging branches as bridges to your property. Trim your trees, cut your grass, and dispose of the clippings properly. Don’t stack tree branches and yard debris, they become nests and resting places for insects and rodents.

  1. Solar Pest Control Is An Option

Solar energy is an option for anyone with existing solar panels. You can power vibrating stakes in the ground with solar power to deter them. This is an effective method for anything that burrows underground like ants, moles, groundhogs, and rodents that burrow like that. Snakes and scorpions can also go underground to find shelter. Solar stakes are a great option to prevent ground dwellers from nesting and they don’t pose an electrical threat to the yard. If your home is solar powered you can benefit from this eco friendly pest control option. 


  1. Don’t Overfeed Your Plants

Plant foods nourish annual and perennial plant life. Overfeeding these yard plants can also provide an abundance of food for insects that are drawn to the plant food. Limiting the amount of plant food you apply to the plants in your yard will also reduce the chances of the plants from overgrowing. Overgrown plants and bushes will invite an abundance of insects that thrive off the plant. Don’t overfeed.

  1. Pack With Plastics When Traveling

If you travel often, or even on occasion you should use plastics to seal your clothes and belongings within your bags and suitcase. Staying in hotels can expose you to unwelcoming guests like bed bugs, fleas, and mites. By sealing your belongings in plastic bags you can limit the possibility of invasive pests from catching a ride home in your luggage. Pack with plastics to keep pests out.

  1. Cap Off Your Chimney

For those of you fortunate enough to have a fireplace in your home, you will benefit from capping the chimney off. The chimney is the single largest opening to your home and it can be an easy entry point for many flying pests and roof roaming rodents. Birds, bats, squirrels, roof rats, raccoons, possums, and insects can all enter the home through the chimney. This might not be an issue during the winter when the fireplace is blazing, but in the summer when it’s not in use it can become a tunnel into your home. Cap off your chimney to keep the unwanted company out of your home.

cap off the chimney with mesh

  1. Keep Flies And Mosquitos Out

Flies are drawn to smell if you keep your garbage cans empty and food off the counters you can limit the attraction they may have to your interior. Fruit flies are drawn to fermented fruits and vinegar. If you keep your fruits in the refrigerator until they are ready to eat you can limit the attraction and starve the breeding grounds fruit flies seek out. Mosquitos can creep in through cracked windows, torn screens, and open doors. Keep windows and doors without screens closed during the summer months. Fix torn screens and install screen doors where possible. Install a bug zapper outside of main entry points to zap wondering flies and mosquitoes. Mosquitos can transfer viruses that can be hazardous to ones health. Make sure you eliminate them when you can.

Top 5 Mosquito repellants On The Market

Picaridin Insect Repellent

Repel Scented Family

Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

Natrapel 8 Hour Repellent

Deep Woods OFF!

  1. Embrace The Ladybug

Ladybugs bring a lot of value to the yard. They eat aphids and can help fruit plants like tomatoes survive the aphid infestation during the growth stages. If there aren’t a natural population of ladybugs in your garden you can order them online or pick them up at a local gardening shop. Once released into your garden they will help you combat other infestations that are more damaging to your garden.


  1. Declutter Your Gutter

Gutters are a must for homeowners in stated that experience heavy rainfall. There are gutter screens that can protect the gutters from fallen debris, for gutters that don’t have protective screens you will need to clean them out regularly to prevent clogged gutters. Clogged gutters will prevent water from draining and can harbor mosquito colonies and become a single cause of mosquito infestations. As the rainy season passes and the gutters continue to contain dirt, pine needles, and leaves they will become breeding grounds for spiders and other creepy crawlers. The brown recluse spider can be found hiding in these conditions. Keep your gutters clean, prevent standing water, and keep them free of debris that will house unwanted insects.

  1. Glue Traps

I have mixed feelings about glue traps. For rodents like mice and rats, I prefer traditional spring loaded, neck breaking traps. Limit the suffering of the rodent by making its death immediate. For those of you battling roaches, crickets, ants, and other insects that roam your floors consider glue traps. Glue traps and sticky paper can be lined along the baseboards to prevent the creepy crawlers from roaming the rooms in your home. If you have children keep the traps hidden in a place where they can’t be tampered with.

These 15 tips for pest control should give homeowners the information they need to limit the opportunities pests have to invade their yards and homes. These are simple steps that can be highly effective if done properly and consistently. If you are a homeowner and your problems are beyond control, and the infestations require professional attention then consider hiring a professional pest control company in your area. Do your due diligence, read reviews, ask questions, and get to know your local pest control experts before hiring them.