Josiah

Top 5 Best Ways To Unclog Your Drain

The 5 Best Ways To Unclog Your Drains On A Budget

kitchen sink clogged in Toronto

Drains clog, and it usually sucks when they do. There is never a good time to have your plumbing back up and cause a stink. Drains clog for many reasons, hair, foreign objects, grease, and natural causes like root systems. Yes, tree roots can grow into your pipes and cause them to clog up, especially if items are going down the drain and toilet that shouldn’t be. Most of the time drains can be unclogged with some elbow grease and a few household items. Other times you may need to call upon a local plumber to come and clean your pipes for you. If the clog is located deep enough in the pipeline then you may require an industrial snake to get deep enough to loosen up the debris and pull it out. There are great websites out there like Advanced Plumbing in Toronto that can be great resources for finding plumbing solutions, and finding plumbers if needed. If you don’t have a local plumber that you can call upon, then you can take these 5 simple tips for unclogging drains and do your best plumbers impression. Good luck!

 

  1. The Hanger

Depending on the depth of the clog, an old wire hanger stretched out should give you enough reach to get ahold of hair clogs and foreign debris that might be logged just out of reach of your fingers. A hanger can operate like a snake, once you run it down the pipe you can twist it so that it scrapes and collects the debris or objects that are causing the drain to clog. If you bend the end of the hanger like. Fish hook before feeding it down the drain pipe, you will increase your chances of catching something in there, especially hair. The hanger isn’t as effective in the toilet bowls as it is in sink and shower drains. I do remember a time though that I recovered a pair of eyeglasses from the toilet using a coat hanger.  

  1. Boiling Hot Water and Dish Soap

Boiling hot water is great for so many things and unclogging drains is one of them. You can try it first without dish soap, but I always just pour it in first and let it sit for a few minutes. Soap and hot water are great for loosening up grease and grime, it can also act as a lubricant and help lodged objects that are stuck slide through. I usually use something like Dawn dish soap, pour about a quarter to a half cup down the drain and let it seep into the nooks and crannies needed to get things to move. Next, take some boiling hot water and start slowly pouring it into the drain, add a little, wait a minute, add a little, wait, rinse and repeat. Again, this is not something that is going to be effective for unclogging the toilet, but is great for sink and shower drains.

  1. Drain Snake

This is more than just a household item, you are going to need to make a trip to the local Home Depot and drain snake operator in torontopurchase yourself one of these, and that is the only reason it is third to the first two. A drain snake has a much further reach than a hanger and is typically designed to twist and turn as it snakes through the pipe. Most snakes have a claw-like extension that claw and grab at hair and debris in the pipes as you fish them through. Some snakes are operated manually, while others are machine operated. I am a huge fan of snakes and have a few on hand at all times. Mine are all manually operated, one day I may upgrade to a motorized plumbing snake. Hopefully, I never clog a toilet so bad that I need a motorized snake to shake things up.

  1. Draino Max Gel

I’m a fan of all their products, I have unclogged some nasty backups in the shower before with Draino. This makes the list at 4 because it’s not a common household item, otherwise, it’s the first thing I reach for if I know the pipes are clogged from hair and debris. Draino Max Gel is not something you use if there is a foreign object lodged in the pipe, nor is it used much in toilets. Draino is great for kitchen sinks that have grease and debris clogging up the pipes, it’s also good for bathroom sinks, and the hair clogs that typically happen in them. Pouring a bottle of Draino down the pipe and letting it sit for 15 minutes is a great way to get an idea of what you are dealing with. Small time clogs that have hair or grease building up will almost always be resolved with some liquid Draino, if the bottle doesn’t clear the clog, time to get a snake or hire a plumber.

  1. Baking Soda and Salt

unclogging drain in torontoThese are ingredients most of us have in our homes, and while it would make sense to rank it above Draino because of availability, it just hasn’t been as effective for me with my clogs. This is an effective unclogging method for new clogs. Maybe you gave the dog a bath, or maybe someone in the house shaved in the sink, or maybe someone dumped some bacon grease down the kitchen sink and didn’t run hot water with it. There could be many reasons like these that a drain could clog, having an accessible resource like baking soda, salt, and hot water available to address these issues promptly is a great start and can also be used as a preventative measure. The concoction is also pretty harmless, so there isn’t concerns about skin contact.

What Are Fluorescent Dyes

What Are Fluorescent Dyes?

excitation moleculeWe had an interesting request to blog about the Fluorescent Dyes that are out on the market. Before we do that though, let’s get you up to speed on Fluorescent Dyes. One of our content writers studied chemistry in college and had this to say.

Most biological research laboratories depend on Fluorescent Dyes during standard tests that require the use of fluorescent molecules. The dyes are becoming more widely used as more people researching are finding just how versatile these fluorescent dyes can be in addition to their sensitivity levels and quantitative capabilities. These fluorescent probes have many uses in the lab, they can detect protein location and activation, and have the ability to identify complex protein formations, in addition to conformational changes and monitor advanced biological processes in vivo.

The real benefit of these fluorescent molecules (fluorophores/fluors) in the laboratory is that they have a unique reaction to light that passes through them when compared to other molecules. As the light passes through, it actually gets absorbed by an electron of a fluorescent particle. This then generates energy in the electron and propels it to an exited state. While this moment of excitation is happening, there is energy that begins to dissipate from a molecular collision and/or gets transferred to a proximal molecule, and the energy that remains then gets emitted as a photon which intern brings the electron back to a grounded state. Typically, the emitted photon will carry less energy, as a result it usually has a longer wavelength than the photon that experienced excitation, this allows the emitted fluorescence to be distinguished from the excitation light. The excitation produces an emission from the fluorophore that is cyclical, and until the the fluorophore is damaged beyond use, researchers can continue to excite the fluors until it reaches that stage. Because of this, the fluors can emit numerous photons repeatedly during this cycle of excitation, as a result the emissions and fluorescent molecules can continue to be used for a vast range of research.

Fluorophores can thus emit numerous photons through this cycle of excitation and emission and fluorescent molecules are therefore used for a broad range of research applications. You can learn in detail how fluorescent molecules work.

 

 

 

Fluorescent Dyes

diagram of Alexa Fluor 488

• Alexa Fluor 488 Dye

This dye is very bright, it is a fluorescent green dye that experiences excitation that is commonly suited to the 488 nm laser line. This dye is great for generating stable imaging and flow cytometry. It should also be noted that the Alexa Fluor 488 dye is pH-insensitive over a very wide molar range.

These probes that contain high fluorescence in addition to high photo stability are often times better for detecting a low-abundance of biological micro structures that illuminate with increased sensitivity. It’s common for Alexa Fluor 488 dye molecules to become attached to a protein molecule when exposed at high molar ratios without experiencing significant self-quenching. This can enable brighter conjugates, and and provide a more detailed detection.

• Cyanine Dyes

Cyanine dyes are specific molecules that contain a polymethine bridge between two unique nitrogen atoms that have a delocalized charge. As the result of this structure, cyanine dyes are known to have incredibly high extinction coefficients. There are different substituents that allow for the control of these properties, those most commonly being absorbance wavelength, photo stability, and fluoros.

• IR Fluors
“Bright, photostable and hydrophilic near-IR dye that is spectrally similar to Alexa Fluor® 750 and Cy7® Dye.

Bright and hydrophilic, far-red-fluorescent dye excited by the 633 nm or 647 nm laser lines.”

• MB Dyes

M.B. Dyes Chemical & Silk Ind. (Pvt.) Ltd. is a manufacturer of diversified auxiliary chemicals and dyes/pigments for Textile, Leather and Paint Industries. We also deal with many raw materiel used in these industries. We produced gamut of these chemicals for customer convenience to lessen their worries regarding raw material regular supply from a single source. Our manufacturing unit is located in Gadoon Amazai Industrial Estate Swabi NWFP and producing more than 110 products.

• Classic Fluorescent Dyes

What’s a fluorescent probe? It is a fluorophore that has been designed to localize in an isolated region of a biological specimen or to react to a specified stimulus. The Fluroprobes are fluorescent and give researchers the ability to identify specific components of complex bio-molecular structures that include living cells. The dyes have also been used regularly to modify things like amino acids, peptides, proteins, carbs, and other bio-molecules.

About Fluorophore
From Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluorophore

“A fluorophore (or fluorochrome, similarly to a chromophore) is a fluorescent chemical compound that can re-emit light upon light excitation. Fluorophores typically contain several combined aromatic groups, or planar or cyclic molecules with several π bonds.

Fluorophores are sometimes used alone, as a tracer in fluids, as a dye for staining of certain structures, as a substrate of enzymes, or as a probe or indicator (when its fluorescence is affected by environmental aspects such as polarity or ions). More generally they are covalently bonded to a macromolecule, serving as a marker (or dye, or tag, or reporter) for affine or bioactive reagents (antibodies, peptides, nucleic acids). Fluorophores are notably used to stain tissues, cells, or materials in a variety of analytical methods, i.e., fluorescent imaging and spectroscopy.

Fluorescein, by its amine reactive isothiocyanate derivative FITC, has been one of the most popular fluorophores. From antibody labeling, the applications have spread to nucleic acids thanks to (FAM (Carboxyfluorescein), TET,…). Other historically common fluorophores are derivatives of rhodamine (TRITC), coumarin, and cyanine. Newer generations of fluorophores, many of which are proprietary, often perform better, being more photostable, brighter, and/or less pH-sensitive than traditional dyes with comparable excitation and emission.”

5 Best Places To Buy CBD Oils Online

Where To Buy CBD Oils Online – Our Top 5 Online Stores

Most CBD oils and products that are derived from the oils can be found online. The world of CBD oils has taken off and the internet wasn’t slow to adjust and monetize. CBD oil sites are showing up on every corner of the web, some are legitimate companies, making legitimate efforts to provide high-quality CBD oils as pure as possible. Others in the game could care less where the CBD oils are extracted from, or if they are truly organic or not, nor do they care about the amazing health benefits CBD’s provide to people suffering from inflammation, anxiety, arthritis, TMJ, and other chronic illnesses. I use CBD oils, and I must say that there is a sense of calm that comes over me when I ingest them. I prefer the soft gels over vaping or even the candy, but that’s just preference. The convenience of buying CBD online is obvious, the drawbacks, of course, is that there are world class jerks out there trying to snatch up your hard earned money and selling you low-quality CBD oils in return. The other perks when purchasing online is that you can go read product reviews, watch testimonials, and engage other users online to learn more about their experience. Facebook groups and CBD forums are a great way to go about this. Social media is a hot spot for information, if someone has purchased CBD oils online, chances are they have shared the experience on social. So dig around and see what you can find about the vendor before jumping in and making a purchase. Reaching out to a vendor and seeing how responsive they also speak volumes about the experience you can expect to have. Responsive vendors that answer questions in a timely manner should be considered trustworthy, if you reach out to a vendor and don’t hear back for a few days and the response doesn’t fully answer your question, you might want to think twice about buying from them. Know what it is you want before you buy, research the products, and gain an understanding about what you should expect the CBD oils to do for you. Any website out there that is making outlandish claims and promises of cures and miracles should be avoided. Whatever your reason for buying CBD oils, we hope that you find what you are looking for and it provides the relief you are in need of. On that note, these are our top 5 places to buy CBD oils online.

1. Medicinal Essentials

essential hemp oils

https://medicinalessentials.com/

Our experience with Medicinal Essentials was great. We reached out via email and the response time was almost immediate, and that email exchange eventually led to a phone call where the conversation turned into something far more informative than I would have expected from an online vendor. I ordered CBD Oils and some topical salve. My joints from years of grappling are inflamed and the topical salve was recommended to me. I used the product for a month and I was rather surprised by the results. My elbows, wrists, and knees felt relief. My wrists hurt most of the time and having a topical ointment I can rub on for temporary relief is a blessing. I do a lot of typing during the day, then grapple in the evenings and neither of those arts are good on my joints. This experience as a whole was the best one I have had yet, the customer service was phenomenal, and the products were everything they talked them up to be. This is now my go-to spot online for buying CBD and Hemp products.

2. Green Roads World

where to buy cod oils online

https://www.greenroadsworld.com/

Buying from Green Roads World was also a solid experience. They are much bigger than Medicinal Essentials, so I didn’t get that warm “mom and pop” feeling when I was having email correspondences with whomever I was dealing with. The product shipped in a timely manner arrived in nice packaging and appeared to be everything they were advertising online. The 1500 MG dose was enough to take the edge off and allowed me to get the shut-eye I was in need of. It’s nice being able to consume something like this, relax, and not be high. The other benefit is that there isn’t the groggy feeling in the morning like you might have from smoking some green leaf. I do like the way the products were displayed on the website, it was a clean interface, easy for me to navigate, and I liked the selection they had. As far as taste is concerned, the CBD Oils were comparable to those I got from Medicinal Essentials.

3. Try The CBD

online store for CBD products

https://www.trythecbd.com

These guys are located in Colorado, and these days I pretty much love that place. I have made trips there in recent months and have really enjoyed consuming legalized marijuana while there. The community in Boulder is solid, it has the best dispensary in Colorado there, and the breweries have some really good local brews on tap. When I found Try The CBD online I immediately liked the landing page. Pretty much everything seemed to be on the page in an ongoing scroll. I like scrolling down a single page, rather than bouncing from page to page searching for different products. The experience was pretty good, the shipping time took a little longer than the others at this point but it turned out to be worth it. The oils really tasted different, there was a unique flavor that my palette picked up on but I couldn’t identify it. The CBD oils worked as advertised, again, taking the edge off and providing me the sense of calm I prefer at the end of my work days. I also ordered the CBD Shatter which I had never had before and was impressed by the flavor of that. After reading the description I found out that there are added terpenes for added flavor that mimics the strain profile of popular marijuana plants. They titles their website Try The CBD, so I did and I was impressed.

4. Barlean’s

bar leans hemp and cbd oils

https://www.barleans.com

Barlean’s is located in the Pacific North West which made them cool long before I ordered from them. If you have never made that trip, go visit and enjoy the local scene. Marijuana is legal in Washington State, and it was called the Evergreen State long before marijuana was ever legalized. Barlean’s seems like a pretty cool place, they make all sorts of healthy oils and CBD Hemp oils just happen to be one of them. The website was a little slow, and I’m a pretty impatient guy, so the lag was enough to get me shuffling in my chair, then I took a rip off my CBD pen and all was good. Seriously, it’s like that. I had contact with Barlean’s and asked a few questions about their products, these people definitely knew what they were talking about and you could tell they were passionate about what they did. All the enthusiasm was expected though, they make oils for a living including fish oils, flax oils, coconut oils, and CBD hemp oils. It was no surprise to that I was greeted on the other end of that line by a well informed CBD enthusiast. The products shipped on time, and they arrived well packed and ready for consumption. The oils were good, I would buy again. The only thing that didn’t jump out at me was the flavor. That might have been because I had previously tried that terpene infused CBD shatter from Try The CBD and the flavor was amazing. The overall experience was solid though.

5. Bluebird Botanical

bluebird botanical CBD oils

https://bluebirdbotanicals.com

These guys are doing it, I have seen them grow from a small little operation to absolutely crushing it online. I really like the product, I think they truly care about where their product is sourced from and the quality of the CBD shows that. I used to order from these guys regularly a year back but ventured on to try some of these other vendors that have been making noise online. I would definitely buy again but didn’t make a purchase to review for this article. I’ll tell you that when I was buying from them, they were super responsive, CBD oils shipped quick, produced tasted great, and the people I felt with all seemed to be genuine and truly cared about the experience people were having online with their products. The website was really clean, easy to navigate, and loaded pretty quick. I see them around a lot now, not sure how they got so big so quick but they did it. I had to squeeze them into my top 5 list for a few reasons, most of which are listed above, but one vibe I really got from them is that they really cared, it wasn’t just about getting a sale, it was about helping people and that always counts for something in my book.

Top 10 Weed Dispensaries In The U.S.

Our Top 10 Weed Dispensaries In The U.S.

 

If you blaze then you dream of the day that the state you live in legalizes weed for recreational use. Until then, you’ll be scoop’n Zips from your buddies pad on the low. The states that have legalized the natural herb have benefited from the taxation of the previously illegal natural herb. The industry itself has exceeded the $6 Billion dollar mark and other states in the U.S. are salivating at the lips to get in on this smoking hot business opportunity. Until that happens though, people are traveling in droves to visit states where weed has been legalized. I just happen to be an avid traveler, a joker, a smoker, and a midnight toker! Because of this great self-serving job description, I have given myself I have had the luxury of traveling to states where it’s legal to exchange greenbacks for green bags. To be totally honest and transparent, I haven’t visited every dispensary in the U.S. and probably not even half of them, but I have been to some pretty cool ones, met some really cool people, smoked some great weed, and had some amazing times doing it. That being said, this is my top 10 list of weed dispensaries in the U.S.

 

1) Helping Hands – Boulder Colorado – https://helpinghandsdispensary.com/

boulder dispensary

There was just something about being high in Boulder that had me in a state of Zen. It might have been that bubonic chronic that made me choke, shiiit, it ain’t no joke! Or it could have been a combination of the awesome natural landscapes, the people, and that natural herb. There is something about smoking in certain environments, with certain people, that can make the experience so much better. It’s like that beer you crack on Friday night when you get home from work, it’s just a better beer when you are drinking it with your buddies at the pub. Helping Hands Dispensary in Boulder was the perfect storm of quality weed, good people, and the beauty of Colorado outdoors nearby.  

 

2) World Of Weed – Tacoma, Washington – http://www.worldofweed.com/

tacoma dispensary

World of anything is pretty cool. World of weed takes the cake though. With all it’s brilliance, it’s also located in a state that has amazing landscapes and natural outdoor beauty. What could be better than rolling a joint and walking around the base of Mt. Rainer? Its awe-inspiring and we recommend you try it if you ever make the trip. Tacoma is located south of Seattle and has always been more of an industrial area due to its ports and location. In the past 10-15 years, Tacoma has really cleaned up its act and has become a desirable place of residents just south of Seattle. This weed shop couldn’t have picked a better city to set up. Tacoma is thriving and timing is everything, this shop has definitely picked the time and place to do this. The display cases here are really cool, the staff is rich with culture, and they know their weed. Washington State has always been known as the Evergreen State, and now they are really living up to that name.

 

3) Essence Cannabis Dispensary – Las Vegas Strip – https://essencevegas.com/locations/las-vegas-strip/

Las Vegas dispensary

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…. Unless your friends capture everything on phones and push it to social media. It also helps if you smoke enough weed to forget what you did, then there are never any worries of spilling the beans. Vegas is one of my favorite spots in the country. I love the outdoors and that will always be priority #1. But there is something about a weekend in Vegas to get excited about. The fact that you can legally purchase mind-altering drugs on the Las Vegas strip just made those trips to Vegas that much better (and safer). This is a cool, dark little spot that you can kick back in and get super high in. It’s the kind of environment that promotes mega bong hits and a kickback atmosphere. Vegas is a balls to the wall kinda place, people drink till they can’t think, and burn till they can’t learn. With all the excess consumption that takes place there, Essence Cannabis even keeps a nurse on staff during business hours for anyone that can’t handle their weed smoke.

 

4) The Greenhouse – Glendale, Arizona – http://glendalegreenhouse.com/

Glendale dispensary

The Green House. That’s all I need to know, to know I wanna go! Arizona summers are blazing hot, so is the weed that burns in my bong! Marijuana is not legal in Arizona for recreational use, but that hasn’t stopped the medical dispensaries from popping up like boners. The competition is stiff, so these shops need to get creative. Glendale is about 30 minutes outside Phoenix and is where the Arizona Cardinals stadium is. If you have a medical marijuana card in Arizona and want to venture into Glendale, The Greenhouse is a cool little spot to score some burn. It’s got a very structured atmosphere, it runs like a corporation, and doesn’t necessarily have that hippy feel to it like Helping Hands, but it’s cool. If you like quality herb, and you are in Arizona, this is one dispensary to check out.

 

5) Nectar – Portland, Oregon – http://nectarpdx.com/

portland dispensary

I have always been a fan of Oregon. The microbreweries in Portland and the surrounding areas have brewed up some amazing sauce. The coastal communities are amazing and definitely ideal places to roll a little and stroll a little. If you have never walked the sandy beaches of Oregon while smoking a joint you are missing out! Not to worry though, there are miles of beaches that are waiting for you and marijuana is easily accessible thanks to Nectar! Nectar is one of many cool dispensaries in Oregon, it’s a multi-chain location, and is well known for its quality plant life. They are very dialed into the local community and the growers that harvest their crops. Talk to the weed heads behind the counter and you will notice real quick that these guys/gals know their pot!

 

6) Pot Shop – Seattle, Washington – http://www.potshopseattle.co/

Seattle dispensary

Back in the Evergreen state for another mention. I should also mention that Seattle has been coined The Emerald City for longer than I have been alive. This is telling of the weed industry there. Located up on Queen Anne, this little hemp haven is conveniently close for anyone coming in from the downtown area or the Eastside. Queen Anne is a cool little area that is rich with culture and now weed. Cruising through Queen Anne to score some righteous nugs for the weekend sounds like a pretty epic adventure. I think it’s time for anyone visiting or living int he area to swing by the Little Pot Shop of Horrors to and experience it for themselves. 

 

7) Humboldt Patient Resource Center – Arcata, California – http://hprchumboldt.com/

humboldt dispensary

Humboldt County! That name goes back 20+ years for me. It was legendary in the 90’s. If you scored a bag from Humboldt, it was always chronic, always potent, and always pricey. Who knows if that weed actually ever was from Humboldt, but nobody ever sold schwag and claimed it was from Humboldt. There was always something about Humboldt that made it the weed Mecca of the West Coast. From California to Washington state, everyone smoking weed knew of Humboldt County. Now, you can waltz right into Humboldt without having to know a grower and snag a bag of the infamous grass from a local dispensary. While this place definitely lacks culture, it does provide an amazing service to patients that need their weed for medical reasons. Those reasons are usually more important than recreational reasons, both are good reasons to smoke though.

 

8) The REEF – Detroit, Michigan – http://findthereef.com/

the reef dispensary

Any dispensary that uses the word REEF is a place I wanna visit. That’s the kind of weed slang (reefer) I was toss’n around like a frisbee as a kid. There was some foot traffic we noticed coming in and out of a home not far from this dispensary, that might have been the real reefer operation that was operating on the DL if you know what I mean. This place though got our attention from the name alone. We stopped in and it didn’t disappoint. The weed was stanky, sticky, icky, and green like that goblin. This little pot shop was opened up along 8 Mile Road, makes you wonder if B-Rabbit and the D-12 delinquents frequent this joint.

 

9) ReLeaf – Las Vegas, Nevada – https://lasvegasreleaf.com/

relief dispensary Las Vegas

Back to Las Vegas for another brother! Look, the Raiders are about to relocate here in a few years, you gotta open up them weed shops here for that alone. But this place was far fancier than any Raider fan could dream of being. This place looked like it should have been featured in The Robb Report, or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. The dispensary was beautiful, reeked of weed, had beautiful people working the counters, and offered upscale weed smoking products and utensils. This might be the first place I visit if I score a Jackpot on the slots.

 

10) The Green Solution – Denver, Colorado – https://www.tgscolorado.com/locations/denvereaststore

green solution weed dispensary

And back to Colorado where this all started. Denver was awesome, fun place to be and again the atmosphere made the experience even better. They had plenty of weed to choose from and it was all chronic. They were also active growers and were involved in the local scene. The place was located downtown only about 10 minutes from the Ballpark and is a great place to stop before you watch a game or head out into the city for the night. Cool little vibe, cool people, and cool products.

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

www.mydavincidental.com

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

www.glicknwoods.com

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

reflectionsdentalcare.com

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 name 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

www.drfrangella.com

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

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 in 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 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

www.drsherylleipold.com

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.