Tips & Tricks

7 Essential Items for Your Wedding Registry

Registering for your wedding gifts can be one of the best parts of planning your wedding. There are so many different items you’ll see and love, and you and your fiancé will have to pick which items are best for you. Do your homework and determine what you both want from these seven categories of essential wedding registry
1. China Set

Whether it’s for everyday use or dinner parties, your china will make a lot of appearances. You’ll want to select your favorite pattern for your dishware and determine what types you’ll really need, such as dinner, salad, and dessert plates; salad bowls; serving sets; and mugs. Make sure you don’t register for too many or too few.

2. Glassware

Glasses are another kitchen necessity. Look around to find the pattern of glassware you both like and determine what types you’ll need. Your decisions should be based on your needs. For example, don’t buy martini glasses if neither one of you drinks martinis.

3. Silverware

No dinner set is complete without silverware. By picking a basic set in your favorite pattern, you’re guaranteed to have all the utensils you’ll need for everyday use and special occasions, including serving spoons. Consider a set that comes in a nice storage case to keep it looking good for years to come.

4. Cookware

Now that you’ve selected your dinnerware, it’s time to select your cookware. A basic set will include pots and pans; mixing bowls and spoons; measuring cups; and bakeware. Select these items carefully based on the amount of cooking and baking you’ll actually do.

5. Bed Set

Now that your kitchen is set up, it’s time to work on the bedroom. Look through all of the bedding patterns until you find the one you like the best. Pick out a complete set with a comforter, bed skirt, complete sheet set and pillow shams. The whole set together will make your bedroom the beautiful retreat you want it to be. If you’d like, choose two sets so you can change them when the mood calls for it.

6. Bath Sets

The bathrooms are another key place in your home you’ll want to set up. Select a bath mat, soap dispenser, garbage can, shower curtain, toothbrush holder and any decorative or organizational pieces you might desire.  Get these items for each bathroom in your home, and make sure every piece matches the color scheme or theme you choose for each bathroom.

7. Towels13

Towels are needed for both your bathrooms and kitchen. Select a few different colors and patterns and register for several of each. You’ll want bath and hand towels as well as wash cloths for the master bath and guest bathrooms and dish towels and cloths for your kitchen.

These seven sets are the essential items you’ll want to register for to set up your home after your wedding. For more ideas on other items you can add to your list, check out home goods on eBay.

Conserve Energy in Your Home

As the heat index rises, energy costs in the home do as well, mainly due to the higher demand for electricity to run and cool homes. Air conditioner use is in high demand in our homes – which is the highest cost of electricity for most home owners.

Conserving energy doesn’t have to be a tedious chore. It can be done in baby steps that will add up in the long-run. Here are some tips that everyone in your home, from the smallest child to the oldest adult can help you with.

  1. Get a programmable thermostat. Keep your home warmer when no one is home. Set the a/c to start cooling close to when you will arrive home. This will help keep your cooling costs down.
  2. Run your dryer in the evening, when the air conditioner isn’t already struggling to compete with the air conditioner. Better yet, start air drying some of your clothes. Use the sun, which is a free resource.
  3. Keep one refrigerator. Many families have more than one refrigerator, which eats up electricity costs. Keep your fridge stocked and just replenish with drinks and other items that need to be cooled.
  4. Turn off lights that aren’t being used. This is a great lesson for kids.
  5. Utilize the grill more for cooking. Only use the oven when absolutely necessary.
  6. Turn off any items that use electricity when not in use. Unplug if you can to limit electrical use.

With these tips you can start to see your electric bill dwindle, at least a little.

3 Easy to Remember Energy Saving Tips

Becoming energy efficient doesn’t have to be a huge hassle – in fact, after a while you won’t even look at it as a chore! Here are a few of the top ways that you can save more money on your yearly energy expenses.

  1. Replace your old appliances. This is a very important tip to remember because the majority of older appliances perform very poorly in the energy saving department – most suck way too much energy for what they are worth, and most have outdated parts that do not even need to be there. You can always give your older appliances to someone else who can still use them if you do not want to simply throw them away.
  2. Always remember to turn off the lights. Eventually you won’t even think about flipping the switch when you exit a room! You waste more money each year lighting up rooms that don’t even have people in them than you end up paying for the rooms that you frequent the most. Instead of using an actual light in the hallway consider purchasing a bright night light that will do the trick.
  3. Always remember to unplug any electric appliance that isn’t in use. This applies to any of your appliances in the kitchen – there is no need to keep the microwave, toaster or coffee pot plugged in 24/7. You should also apply this same tip to any other household electronics, like game systems and TV’s, that are not in use.

While it can be difficult to break old habits, most energy saving tips are not hard to implement or even remember for that matter.

Top 3 Energy Saving Tips for Children

You are never too young to start learning how to save energy around the house – even the smallest tasks can help! In fact, the best time to get kids interested in energy conservation is when they are still young and following you around everywhere – after all, if they are already copying your every move it shouldn’t be difficult to teach them to save energy, right? Here are a few easy tips that can help you teach your children to save energy and be more environmentally conscious.

  1. Show them that you always turn out the light. There is no reason to keep a light on in a room that you are not even occupying. Always show your children that you flip off the light switch before you exit a room for good.
  2. Set an example by keeping your showers short. The less time you spend in a hot shower the less energy you are using up to heat the water. Show you children early on that it does not take several hours to get washed and ready for the day – regardless of how good the water feels. As a bonus, knowing how to take quick showers really comes in handy on camping trips!
  3. Remind them to unplug the toaster after they use it for Pop-tarts. You can’t expect your two year old to safely unplug any appliance, but a ten year old can definitely be held accountable for unplugging a toaster. Remember to always show them the safe way to do it and remind them never to stick anything metal into the socket – you should ideally supervise them around electrical appliances at all times.

If you start teaching your children to conserve energy early on they will begin implementing the tips they learned as a force of habit – all of the above ways easily become second nature!

Top 3 Harmful Spending Habits

If you run a small business you know that money can get very tight at times – and you definitely don’t want the money that you spend to start dwarfing the amount of money that is returned to you. Unfortunately, a lot of the extra costs come from completely unnecessary purchases. Here are the top things that you are spending too much money on for your small business.

  1. Cut back on the amount of paper you use. You don’t need to create endless lists or print 60 pages at one time to lay out various tasks. Try creating one list and simply amending it.
  2. Don’t print as many documents. There is no reason to stop printing necessary documents. However, you should start planning out what you print very carefully before you hit the button. Cut out all the unnecessary text and ads – you’ll be amazed at how many pages that will get rid of! For many small business owners, the cost of ink can start to rival gas prices.
  3. Stop letting people go home with the pens! Okay, so the pens probably don’t account for very much of your business loss, but they illustrate the point very well. Take a look at all of the small purchases that you make for your business on a frequent basis – if you look at all of them they really start adding up cost-wise. For instance, instead of buying ten packs of pens for the year consider purchasing two and designating each person a pen to use until it runs out of ink.

The small costs really start to add up after a while, so make sure you re-evaluate your expenses every now and again.

Cutting Energy Costs During the Winter

If you live in a state that gets very cold during the winter your monthly bills probably get much steeper than they usually are – especially if everything is run on electricity. Since the majority of newer homes are being built as all-electric as a opposed to gas and electric you should probably keep a few tips for cutting your energy costs down during the winter handy – even if you currently use gas to heat your home. Here are a few of the top things that you should remember come winter time.

  1. Don’t run the heat when you are not home. This one is very easy – so easy that most people forget until they see the huge bill at the end of the month! There is no need to heat a house that you are not presently in, so always try to remember to turn it off before you head out to do any errands.
  2. Don’t heat rooms that are not occupied. Heating unoccupied rooms probably attributes to more of your energy bill than you are aware of – after all, most people love coming back to a warm, cozy room! However, it’s just as easy to wear a coat and some fuzzy slippers until the room heats back up.
  3. Ditch as many space heaters as you can. Space heaters suck a lot of energy, regardless of the model you are using. While many of the newer ones claim that they are very energy efficient, they still contribute more to your monthly statement than you would probably like to see. For this reason, consider forgoing the space heater in all the rooms of your house and settle for one that you simply carry around with you.

There are a lot more methods out there aside from the above three – once you start getting serious about saving energy during the winter you will start thinking of all kinds of little ways that you can cut back on your usage!

Climate Warming Business Opportunities

Our earth has changed its climate before, just ask the dinosaurs. The earth is a living, breathing entity and has its cycles just like every other living thing. As the earth warms up again it will affect the way business is done.

Farmers are obviously affected by the change in weather. If the summers are dryer and hotter they will need to start planting crops that can take the dryer and hotter days. Some areas will be wetter or colder and so crops will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Tourism would possibly be affected as tourists avoid too hot, too cold or too wet areas. Skiers would want to ski where there is real snow and not just on manmade snow. Swimmers would want to be where the water is cool and the sun moderate. Too hot and the children burn the bottoms of their feet.

Pharmaceutical companies could be looking at products that are currently tropical. If the earth warms and the tropical areas move towards the poles, tropical diseases will move with them. Equipment would also change as appliances would need to be efficient for the new climate. Air conditioning or heating units would need to be improved in the new climates.

Companies will need to work with coastal cities as the water level rises and starts to flood more coastal cities. As the polar ice pack erodes, the oceans of the world will enlarge all their boundaries and flood the area where the majority of the earth’s population now resides, the coasts. Moving people and homes and businesses would become big business. Whole cities would have to move up to higher ground. There would be so much catastrophic work for companies to do.

If the earth does continue to warm there will be many opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs to expand their business into new and interesting areas and to help humanity to survive, something the dinosaurs could not do.

Sunshine on My Housetop Makes Me Happy

Solar energy is quite simply: power from the sun. How we harvest solar power can be interesting. There are many methods from simple to complex.

For centuries people have placed tea in a bottle or jug and left it out in the sun to warm the water and steep the tea. This is a simple method of using the sun to create a tasty warm drink.

Children have used magnifying glasses to concentrate the light and heat of the sun to burn their hands or start fires. Indeed one of the interesting methods being worked on now is using mirrors to reflect and concentrate the rays of the sun to create heat and power a generator.

Solar panels are photovoltaic panels which convert solar radiation directly to electricity. These are seen on homes and businesses as dark grey, almost black, panels that pivot to follow the sun. These panels are expensive to install, costing almost twice what a windmill does. However they can be implemented virtually everywhere.

Of course solar power cannot create any electricity during the night but most electricity is consumed during the day and batteries can store some power for the night. Therefore this is not a major issue for homes and businesses using solar energy.

Solar energy heats water and pools and many homes are designed with the concept of solar energy. They optimize the slant of roofs and placement of windows to catch all the winter sun and shade the summer sun. Properly built they reduce the heating requirement in the winter and the cooling requirements in the summer.

Despite all the advances in solar heating over the past few decades, solar power only represents about 1% of the power created in the United States today. Cost is the factor that is preventing the mass use of solar power. As we develop better and cheaper methods of creating power we will likely see an increase in this renewable energy source.

The Keys to Energy Conservation

Conserving energy does not have to be a major task, but can be something that is done with small decisions each day and a few changes in behavior. For example, one simple step to take is to have items plugged into a power strip in a cubicle. This allows the individual, when done, to simply turn off the power source after everything has been properly shut down. Now, there are no items plugged in that may continue to draw a current even while off or in sleep mode. When using a surge protector, it also provides protection to electronic devices.

Another step you can take is to only lights when necessary. If your office has windows, keep the blinds open to allow in natural light for illumination. Lights that are needed for safety can be left on, but turning them off in store rooms, bathrooms and unused spaces can greatly conserve energy. Copy machines should be purchased that have an energy saver setting that puts them to sleep when they are not being used. This is also true for office equipment, such as printers, that can be kept off as well. These small steps here will bring huge savings over time.

The temperature that you keep your office at can save energy, by setting it at a comfortable level that is not too high or low for the staff. Try to only adjust it one or two degrees, as any more can bring on a greater surge of energy use by the heating system. When you leave the office for the evening, turn the temperature down significantly overnight to see even more savings. Your business can improve its energy conservation with only a few, small changes in habit and practice. The benefits will be double what you would have expected.