Tag Archives: essentials

Handy Skills In Life We Really Oughta Know!

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Handy Skills In Life We Really Oughta Know!

There are a lot of skills in life our parents had in spades, but we don’t have in the slightest! There are many essential skills that every human should have because these days there is a higher likelihood of emergencies in the home and outside than our parents ever had to contend with! So, here are a few things that everybody should know:

How to Turn Off the Water:

A burst pipe in your property is one of the worst things that can happen. You may be living in a rental or your own home, but would you know what to do if there was flooding? The first thing to do is to turn off the water at the mains!

Change a Tire:

If you are in the middle of nowhere and get a flat while on a trip, you need to learn how to change a tire. Changing a tire is not difficult, and can only take a couple of minutes. It’s also worth knowing how to jump-start a car.

Know How to Manage Your Personal Finances:

Financial management is something that a lot of people lack, but learning how to create a budget, saving money, and learning to invest in the right things in life will reap dividends in the long run. So many people are in debt these days, and learning how to manage your finances properly can make a significant difference to your quality of life.

Know How to Read a Map:

These days, we rely so much on Google Maps that if we were without our phones, we would be lost, literally and figuratively! If you ever find yourself lost and your GPS fails on you, do you know how to find the north star and which way is east or west?

Know the Basics of Repairing a Car:

This can save us a lot of money over time! Learning how to fix the basics in our car and keeping it maintained by topping up the oil and the water can make our car go much longer before it needs to head to the repair shop.

Know How to Sew:

Skills like sewing a button onto a coat is going to be a lifesaver, especially as it’s something that happens all too regularly. The basic sewing skills are easy enough to pick up but there are plenty of other benefits to sewing, such as teaching focus and building your confidence.

Knowing How to Be in Your Own Company:

We all rely on the internet and social media to be our friends, but if we took the opportunity to learn to thrive in our own company we would learn so much about ourselves. We shouldn’t rely on others to entertain ourselves. When we start to look after ourselves we display signs of resilience.

While you may be able to look after your health well enough how many of these do you really know how to do? No better time than the present to learn!

Featured Image By: Pexels

How To Spend Less On Your Family’s Essentials

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How To Spend Less On Your Family’s Essentials

There are some things that we all need to pay for and costs we need to cover. And, thankfully, there are lots of ways in which you can spend on these essentials and manage the costs associated with them. If you want to learn how to spend less and keep the costs low, read on now:

Raise Your Insurance Deductibles:

Insurance is one of the things that we all need to have in place. And for most of us, there are lots of different types of insurance that are needed. In order to keep yourself and your family safe going forward, you’ll need to find the right deals and put the right coverage in place. But you can, nonetheless, raise the deductibles in order to get a better monthly rate on those policies.

Cook Your Own Meals:

If you’re someone who eats out a lot or orders takeout food a little too often, you’ll know how costly that kind of stuff can be. Cooking your own meals can take a huge amount of that financial burden away. You can cook and prepare meals very cheaply when you buy fresh ingredients and put the effort into cooking. It’s not as hard or as daunting as you might think!

Create a Debt Repayment Strategy:

Lots of people struggle with debt and get dragged down each month by the repayments they need to make. You can create a good debt repayment strategy if you want to, and doing so is almost always advisable. When you have a strategy and plan in place to pay the debt off faster, you’ll start saving money because you won’t be getting constantly hit by the interest.

Start Using Coupons Routinely:

If you’re not doing so already, you should definitely think about how you can start using coupons and discounts to your advantage. If you’re a pet owner you can use a Canada Pet Care coupon code for your pet food needs. And there are plenty of discounts, offers, and coupon codes that will help you with your regular shopping, including grocery store purchases.

Cut Your Travel Expenses:

When you’re always traveling by car or public transport, it can get costly. There are many ways to cut your regular travel expenses, such as by doing more walking and cycling. Or you can try carpooling to work with colleagues so you can all spend less on gas. Traveling less and doing more activities closer to home might also be a good idea if you really want to cut those costs as well as be friendly to the environment.

Spending less on your family’s basics and essentials isn’t that difficult and it never needs to be. When you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve and how far your money can stretch.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Essentials For Your Home Recording Studio

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Essentials For Your Home Recording Studio

Music has been a big part of cultures around the world for centuries, but it seems like independent and aspiring music producers have become more prevalent in recent decades. Thanks to innovations in technology and music-making equipment, at-home production is more accessible than ever before.

Even if you don’t have room for a full studio in your home, there are some fantastic instruments and music-making tools out there that don’t take up a lot of space. One of these is the Alesis v25, which is a 25-key MIDI keyboard with drum pads. Despite not being as popular as other 25-key MIDI keyboards out there, Alesis v25 reviews make it sound like an excellent choice for producing music and beats at home. It’s also one of the most affordable at $179 retail.

Top Keyboard for Recording Music at Home:

The Alesis V25 is a very intuitive and powerful MIDI keyboard for at-home music production. It has 25 keys, eight drum pads, and four rotary knobs to expand the melodic range and chords you can produce with the keyboard. You can even play bass lines.

  • Full-sized, semi-weighted keys prevent cramping in hands and fingers
  • Velocity-sensitive drum pads for adding beat patterns
  • Responsive rotary knobs to fine tune effects
  • Plug-and-play technology for a simple USB connection and digital audio workstation (DAW) detection
  • Compact, portable, and lightweight (5.4 pounds)

Once you have the ideal keyboard for making music, it’s time to stock up on some other home recording equipment to mix, edit, and refine your work.

Essential Audio Recording Equipment:

Your home recording studio or station should include some critical pieces of equipment, but you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for it. The list of essentials is quite short and you can find proper quality equipment for affordable prices both online and in stores like Best Buy and even Walmart. The leading necessary audio recording equipment you should have includes:

Microphone:

Home music production cannot be achieved successfully without a microphone and long-lasting mic cables. For home recording, cardioid microphones are best because they help reject any sound coming from behind you. While you can easily spend over $1,000 on a quality condenser microphone and stand, there are several excellent options for $300 or less.

Mic Stand:

Be sure to get a quality mic stand as well! You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-quality microphone, only to knock it over and ruin it. There are excellent mic stand options for any budget, and you can probably spend less than $50.

Headphones:

Your smartphone earbuds won’t do for home recording, so be sure to invest in a good pair of over-the-ear headphones for mixing and monitoring when you’re recording. Before you buy, compare the specs based on your needs. Look into the headphones’ drivers, impedance, and sensitivity.

Audio Interface:

A USB audio interface is necessary to connect your headphones, microphone, and speakers to your computer for editing and mixing sounds. You can probably find what you need for less than $200, depending on the kind of system and types of features you require.

Pop Filter or Shield:

An inexpensive and essential piece of equipment for any home recording studio is a pop filter or pop shield, especially if you’re recording vocals. Pop filters not only protect your mic from vocalists’ spit, but they also block “plosives” and maintain the quality of your vocals. You can probably find a quality pop shield on Amazon for less than $30.

Speakers:

Decent studio speakers or monitors are a must for any home recording studio. Without them, you may find that your work sounds very different (and less-than-desired) when played outside of your studio headphones. There are countless different speakers to choose from, but a few things to consider are amplification, placement in your studio, size, listening distance, and connection to your audio editing equipment. For a direct link to your computer or audio interface, a USB connection will do, but for interfaces with balanced outputs, you’ll want a balanced XLR or jack input.

Acoustic Room Treatments:

When recording from a room or space in your home, you’ll need to think about more than just any sounds from the outside. The reverb of sounds within the recording area can affect the audio as well, so you will need to install acoustic panels and diffusers on the walls to create an accurate acoustic environment and make your sound better. You can make your own panels and DIY bass traps for a fraction of the cost of acoustic treatments, which can get pretty pricey.

DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):

A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the program that you will be recording and arranging your music in. This is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need for your home studio. Luckily, there are many affordable, and even many free DAWS available for musicians on a budget.

Use the tips above, start recording your tunes, and maybe you’ll catch your big break!

Featured Image By: Reinhold Schlager from Pixabay.

Essential Staples For Your Wardrobe

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Essential Staples For Your Wardrobe

Not everyone will want to have a wardrobe full of staples or even care. But, sometimes, the right scarf or belt can make your whole outfit. However, if you are looking for a quick and easy wardrobe with a range of basics that will go with anything, then here is the list for you:

Ankle Grazers:

If they worked for Audrey Hepburn, then chances are that they are going to work for you too. It is a smart option instead of jeans or leggings and can go from the office to the bar with ease. They work well with sneakers, brogues, or even a heel.

Blouse:

The power of the blouse is so underestimated. They go with skirts, jeans, or black dress pants and can be casual or smart. If you like adding color and patterns into your daily outfits, then go for a retro style. They don’t have to be pricey, and you can pick up some really nice silk ones in thrift stores.

Classic Leather Belt:

The right belt will last a lifetime. And, it gets really frustrating to be pulling up your jeans all the time! A will leather goods belt will upgrade your casual jeans and a t-shirt without any effort required, and you can match them with your bag or shoes. Simple and effective.

Flats:

Ballet flats are here to stay. They are light on your feet so are perfect for heavy use and will work with every outfit that you can think of. Having them in a couple of colors is going to give you more selection, but in general navy, black, and nude will be just right.

T-shirts:

Grabbing a range of t-shirts in whatever color you like best is a great idea. They work well under blazers, with jeans, or with black ankle grazers. And, of course, make for perfect loungewear, too!

Tube Skirt:

Or any type of midi with a bit of a stretch is perfect. They are easy to slip on and if you’ve gone all out on a big meal, they will stretch with you! H&M has some great ones in their basic range.

Sunglasses:

Not only do they protect the skin around the eyes, but they cover a multitude of sins. While you are getting yourself some sunnies, make sure you grab an excellent case for them and keep them in your bag at all times. Tired but have somewhere to be? Sunglasses. Bright outside and you need some extra protection? Sunglasses. Don’t feel like being social? Sunglasses. There is a pair to suit all face shapes, so don’t worry if you don’t usually wear them – invest and you’ll never look back.

Big Tote:

A big tote bag can carry pretty much your whole house in it. Great for everything from folders to tablets and everyday essentials like wallet, phone, and keys. Get one that matches some of your shoes and your belt to tie in any look that you want to create.

Having essential staples in your wardrobe will keep you from having the “nothing to wear” phenomenon and will keep you looking oh so chic!

Featured Image By: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Adulting Essentials

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Adulting Essentials
Hello everyone and TGIF! I hope all of you are having a fabulous day so far and have a bright and exciting weekend to look forward to. If there’s one thing that I know as a twenty-something, it’s that I constantly feel under-prepared. Everything up until the late teens and early twenties was great, right? A la-di-da world where the only thing that you needed to worry about was what to wear to school and your hours at your weekend job. Fast forward to the ripe age of 23. Freshly graduated from college, moving out of your dorm to your own apartment, and (sort of) ready to take on the world. This is basically what your teenage self has been dreaming about since forever. So why does it feel so stressful?!

The life of a twenty-something is a bumbling and haphazard mess 90% of the time. Job hunting, grad school, moving out of chez mom and dad. You’re stretched thin in all directions and all you want is some literal direction in your so called life. As the baby of the family, I’ve watched three older siblings do the growing up thing. And now, as the 23 year old baby of the family, I guess I have to do the whole growing up thing myself. Gross.

So what comes with growing up? A big girl job, your own place, squeezing some time in for fun between binge eating or binge studying – that all sounds about right. For a big girl job you’re armed with your education or experience. For having some fun, you have your high school or college BFFs to schedule a GNO with. But your own place? A place that you need to pay rent for, furnish, AND do your own laundry in? Well, you’re gonna need a few things:

1) Stationary: From calendars and notebooks to agendas and business cards, stationary is a total must. You know how the life of a twenty-something is a bumbling, haphazard mess 90% of the time? That, my dear readers, is what the planner is for. The calendar, the to do list, the agenda – whatever you call it, is a twenty-something essential. Doctors appointments? Job interview? Date night with the SO? Drinks with the girls? Yeah, there’s a planner for that. Hang your calendar with pride wherever you can see it and take a stab at sitting down with a glass of wine and organizing your week. You will be amazed at how your days will open up once you begin utilizing the free space that you have in between work till four and cardio at 7 on Monday and Wednesday.

2) The Perfect Mattress: The first thing that my sister did when she moved into her own apartment was buy herself a queen sized bed. Okay, girl. I see you. Now, I don’t usually say this, but she had the right idea. There is nothing better than tucking into bed with a good book and Enya on your iPod after a long day. Get comfy cozy in your boyfriend’s shirt, throw on an overnight face mask, and snuggle up on your new mattress compliments of Casper. Breathable, lush, plush, springy, and supportive, you’ll be traveling to the land of nod in no time as soon as you get curled up on the mattress of your dreams. Just make sure to put mattress shopping with Casper on your to do list before dozing off tonight! 😉

3) Business Casual Wardrobe: This isn’t necessarily an apartment essential as much as it is a life essential. I think that it is so important for twenty-somethings to begin investing in business casual wardrobe staples. Whether your ideal job setting is laid back or totally formal, you still need something to wear to the interview, right? Start supplying your closet with sharp, chic pieces that scream “boss lady” as soon as you walk in the door. I’m talking pencil skirts, crisp button downs, trench coats, blazers, cardigans, and a smart pair of trousers.

When I began shopping for my job with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (which is about as business cashe as it gets), I gradually began making an effort to instill a more professional feel into my wardrobe. I hit up stores like Loft and Express for clothes that were unquestionably cute, but still looked put together and work place appropriate. Look for simple, well tailored pieces and let your accessories or a funky patterned cardi showcase your personality. There is no rule stating that business casual means boring!

4) Culinary Cool: One of the things that comes with moving out is not having a delicious meal prepped for you every day by the rents. I, personally, am a firm believer that everyone should have a basic understanding of cooking and finding your way around a kitchen. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this mindset with me, so cooking on your own might be a rude awakening to burnt pizzas or blowing a fortune on takeout every night.

BUT IT’S OKAY!! I promise. I absolutely love cooking and baking and my golden rule is that if you can read, you can cook. Go to the library or bookstore, snag some cook books (even if it is Making Eggs For Dummies!), and practice. Hit up your local Aldi’s or Save A Lot for ingredients, follow the directions, and you’ll have a meal that you made all by yourself in no time. I swear that it is not as daunting as it might seem and, within time, you might find yourself actually enjoying your meal preparations in your kitchen.

But, of course, you can’t cook without the proper tools. You don’t need to go overboard, but do invest in some quality but not too costly gear to help you out. Spatulas, measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls, and a sheet pan for your pizza rolls will go a long way. And, like any well stocked arsenal, it doesn’t become that way over night. Pick up odds and ends for your kitchen every so often when you’re out and about and you’ll have all of the necessities before you know it.

5) TREAT YOSELF: Adulting can sometimes really suck. Like a lot. Believe me, I get it. Full time job, college, bills? It’s like a whirlwind of misery. That is why I am all about incorporating a TREAT YOSELF attitude into my adult lifestyle. Seriously. Get out, have some fun, and let the destressing begin. This can range from going out to get your nails done after a long week in the office to buying that sassy dress from Target because it hugged your curves in all of the right places. Do things that make you feel good (within reason). Buy things that make you feel good (within your budget), and you’ll find yourself breezing through adulthood like the boss lady that you are. YOU GO, GIRL!
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Adulting can be unquestionably overwhelming, but you’ll be just fine with the right Essentials! What are your adulting must haves? How do you destress after a long day of being a grown up? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah
Featured Image By: ZootScoop

College Kid Essentials

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College Kid Essentials

Whether you are packing up your cases for your first semester or your last one, there are some things that you just can’t do without when you head off to college. Some of these are practical, some are fun, and some are downright luxurious, but all are simply essential. Read on to find out what they are and then get back to studying:

A Decent Bag: One of the major rules of college is that you will spend half of your time lugging your laptop and a boat load of big thick textbooks around with you. That is why you need a bag like a sturdy backpack for heavy books and all of your lecture notes. If you think that you are going to be able to work it out Legally Blonde style with a trendy backpack, then you are just setting yourself up for a world of pain. I’m not saying don’t take a cute handbag or two (or ten), because you can always use them on your nights out. Just make sure that you have something a bit more sensible for the day time when you’re hauling all of your homework.

Shower Shoes: Okay, things are going to get a little gross here, but that’s what a dormitory bathroom is! Sharing bathrooms and showers is a hazard in college that most people cannot avoid. Yes, dodging dirty underwear left in there by mistake just might happen. But you just don’t know who has walked on the floor in their bare feet. That is why it is a genius idea to take some thongs with you to wear in the bathroom! Not today, athlete’s foot. Not today.

A Frying Pan: Did you know that you can pretty much cook all meals in a frying pan? Get one deep enough like a wok, and you can boil vegetables and make sauces in it, too. In fact, it’s the most useful piece of kitchen equipment that you should have apart from a tin opener and corkscrew! So make sure to pack yours when you head back for the first day of term.

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Your Laptop: Obviously, the only time that you hand write anything at college these days is in exams, the rest of the time you will want to be taking notes and writing up your essays on your computer. For security and portability reasons it’s best to invest in a laptop. Then, you can take it home during the holidays as well as along to lectures. It really is the college essential that you can’t do without.

Pictures From Home: Obviously, you’ll have pics of your family on your phone and computer. But, it is always nice to have paper copies, as well. Get some prints of your favorite images done, so when homesickness hits, you can glance over and remember that you’ll be back with them soon. You can display them in a frame or with mini pegs on a string for a cute boho look.

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^^^ Kind of like this!

A Scented Candle: Lastly, just because you are a student does not mean that you can’t have a little luxury in your life. Why not treat yourself to a nice scented candle. Not only will this relax you when you have a test or a deadline to study for, but it will also stop you from having to smell the scents of everyone else’s cooking in your accommodation. Which can be a total godsend!

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And don’t forget coffee or tea for binge studying sessions!

Need To Shed Some Extra Weight? Here’s How To Beat The Baggage Allowance!

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Need To Shed Some Extra Weight? Here’s How To Beat The Baggage Allowance!

So you’re going on vacation. It’s an exciting time right? Ah, yes, there is the stress to think about. There are flights to book, hotels to secure, and activities to plan. Not to mention the dreaded packing! If you’re going away this year, you might want to travel light. Baggage allowance is always getting less and less. Plus, having a heavy bag to drag around is never fun! If the idea of traveling light gets you weak at the knees, you’ve come to the right place. This guide should give you an idea of how to pack light without doing yourself out of your must have essentials!

Clothes: Clothes take up a large part of any suitcase. As you’re going to be away from your wardrobe, the temptation is to take more than you need. You want those outfits just in case, right? Wrong. Don’t pack more than you need. The key is to take outfits that can work for many occasions. Instead of packing an outfit for each day, pack a capsule wardrobe. That way, you can mix and match the same outfits to give yourself a whole new look! For a week’s trip, you shouldn’t need any more than three outfits for the day, and three for the night. Don’t look so shocked! It’s entirely achievable if you do it right.

Don’t Take the Library: Vacation is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Who doesn’t love the idea of lounging by the pool and getting lost in a whole other world? Even so, books are weighty. Take those hefty hardbacks out of your bag straight away. The best thing you can do for your holiday reading is to take a Kindle along. They’re easy to transport, and come with the bonus that you can buy a book while you’re away without hassle! You could even find out about the best free books on Kindle and save yourself some money!

Buy Essentials When You Get There: Bear in mind that there will be shops where you’re heading. Well, unless you’re going to the middle of nowhere! For the most part, all towns have a store that at least sells the basics. Leave behind those heavy shampoo bottles. You’re sure to be able to find suntan lotion there, too, so don’t worry about that, either! These are substantial additions to your baggage that you could do without. Buy them once you get there, and leave them behind for the next person when you leave! Check, too, to see whether your hotel provides hairdryers. If yes, you can leave yours at home.

Leave Room: You may be working towards a baggage allowance, but it’s important to leave yourself space for the flight back. We all like to spend a little money during our vacations. Don’t leave yourself unable to take back your new purchases! Too often, we have to leave behind something that we love because we don’t have room! Take your vacation purchases into consideration when you’re packing and save yourself the worry or the heart-wrenching separation from one of your favorite things.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Lil Red’s Beach Getaway Essentials

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Lil Red’s Beach Getaway Essentials

Hey everyone and happy Saturday! I hope all of you had a great week and are getting into a lot of fun adventures this weekend. I know that I just went on vacation but I’m already in desperate need of another one and thanks to my friends at HomeAway, I’m able to discuss my must haves for a Beach Getaway this summer. Take a look at the super cute graphic that was designed with my list in mind and let’s discuss:

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When Lil Red hits the beach, the five items that I have listed above are what I wouldn’t dare to leave the house without. Let’s talk about each item in a little more detail!

  • Sunscreen: SPF One Million is everything when you’re pasty pale and are spending a day having fun in the sun. Unfortunately, I always end up burning anyways but the fact that I make an effort by putting sunscreen on makes me feel a little better about it!
  • Floppy Hat: I have three Brandy Melville floppy hats and at least one of them has to come with me for a beach getaway. I have one in black, mauve, and forest green. The black is perfect to counterbalance my bright striped bikini and the mauve one is awesome for an evening stroll on the sand.
  • Sunglasses: My eyes are incredibly sensitive so I refuse to leave the house without a pair or two of my many sunglasses from my collection. A huge pair of don’t look at me shades are definitely a necessity to save me from the squints and to give my face some extra protection from the sun.
  • Gladiator Sandals: I consider every time I leave my house a fashion show so a knee length pair of gladiator sandals to strut about in are my beach footwear of choice. Make sure to pack a cute wrap skirt and crop top for a ready to wear outfit when you leave! Whether you do some shopping on the pier or go out to dinner afterwards, gladiator sandals are totally beach chic.
  • Victoria’s Secret Bikini: The Getaway style bikini from VS is literally the best thing that ever happened to me. I have never had a bikini that has fit so well, provided perfect support, and is so fabulously cute. My bikini is horizontally lined with gorgeous lime green, teal, white, and pink stripes and features metallic gold tie strings. I’ve never been very confident in two piecers before and the Victoria’s Secret Getaway style bikini has been a total game changer. Hello, beach goddess!

I want to thank my friends at HomeAway again for providing me with such a fun graphic and I encourage you all to check out their site so you can start planning your perfect getaway!

So there you have it, Lil Red’s Beach Getaway Essentials! What are your vaca must haves? How do you sport a beach chic look? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah