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durable roofEach country and culture has their own take on how beautiful architecture should look like. But, as countries shared ideas with each other, a single standard emerged. Now, almost every house in the world is similar in design. One can hardly tell the difference between a New York home from one in Singapore, without the surrounding area as the context. It was a great turn for functionality, but not much in the way of creativity.

This is true for roofs in particular. There are only two ways to build a roof: flat and inclined. Sure, homeowners have their pick of materials, but that doesn’t do much for the bigger picture. The variations – if any – are so rare that nothing really pops out. They still look like normal roofs at the end of the day.

Fortunately, the creative spirit hasn’t died in the craft, as evidenced by the roofing designs from Brooklyn, NY contractors. There are examples all over the world of alternative roofs as well, which span from the beautiful to the downright weird.

An Ode to Nature

Starting with the beautiful, the most eye-catching roof in the world has to be the Brazilian Leaf Roof just outside of Rio de Janeiro. The flower-shaped roof has six semi-dome leaves that feature open-air verandas to emphasize the character of the house as an interaction with nature.

True, other roofs are definitely more amazing and eye-catching than the banana leaf roof. Few others, however, are so true to their individual vision than the design. The message is clear and simple: environmentalism, nature, and simplicity. Every aspect of the house lives those principles and the roof is the perfect icing on the cake.

Head over Roof

For every beautiful design, there are always a couple of head scratchers. The up-sided roof in Seixal, Madeira is a big one. It’s what happens when you take a normal inclined roof and flip it upside down. Arguing for the roof’s aesthetic nature can be difficult, but it’s literally a functional nightmare.

Water will collect in the middle groove when it rains, and the flashing is a glaring weak point where leaks can develop faster than usual.

groceryHow often do you get to the checkout counter and just gape at the price? Or does your shopping take ages because you keep agonising over which things to buy? Most of the time, we buy too much of things we don’t really need, and it’s the rubbish bin that winds up benefiting.

We need to make every minute and dollar count, so here are tips that will help you cut your grocery bill and shopping time in half.

1. Shop online – People go online for just about everything these days, and grocery shopping is no exception. You can find great deals and browse a wide variety of products with just a few mouse clicks, and you can quickly check recipes to find out how much you actually need to order.

Most Australian cities have reputable online shops, selling everything you could find in your local supermarket. Learning to purchase meat from online stores means that you save on gas and don’t have to haul heavy grocery bags to your front door every time you need something.

2. Make a meal plan – Determine what meals you will prepare for the week, and what ingredients are needed. This allows you to create a complete grocery list, and curbs the tendency to overbuy. You no longer have room to say “I might need this,” and you’ll have an accurate estimate of what your groceries will actually cost.

3. Learn to use what you have – Your cupboards, fridge, and pantry probably contain enough food to whip together some great improvised meals for at least a week. Even if that’s not the case, having an accurate inventory of your food stores makes sure that you will use what you have, rather than forgetting and accidentally buying more of it.

4. Eat well before shopping – This might seem silly, but people do tend to buy more than they need when hungry. Have a good meal before grocery shopping, and you’ll be (somewhat) immune to the delicious looking displays.

5. Look at other supermarkets – If you’ve only been shopping at one place for years, you’re missing out on sales and deals offered by others. Even if your local supermarket has a great loyalty program, there’s no reason you can’t shop somewhere else once or twice a month to take advantage of rock bottom prices.

Follow these tips and see how it works for you.

red carYour car represents your style and personality. This means you have to take care of it the way you take care of yourself. For some people, giving their ride a new look is essential, as well. Accessorising a vehicle could be the best way you can make it become a head turner the next time it hits the road.

With the increasing number of car servicing companies today, modifying your vehicle by adding different accessories is easy. The challenge is coming up with the best look for your ride. According to JTW Autoparts, a wholesale supplier of recycled parts in Australia, there are three ways to master the art of accessorising a vehicle.

Be Specific

Do not let your playful imagination deceive you. While you can do anything you want with your car, you still need to make up your mind and choose a specific look. Do you want to give it a vintage look or a futuristic effect? Maybe you want to incorporate the name and logo of your favourite sports team or just pick random designs you saw on TV or in a magazine. If you are unsure about what you really want, ask car aficionados for suggestions. They might have design samples that will give you an inspiration and will let your creative juices flow.

Look Beyond the Visuals

Sure, manufacturers will produce visually appealing parts and accessories because that’s what the customers are looking for. When buying an item for your car, ask yourself whether it’s ideal or practical. Being attractive doesn’t always mean it’s useful and functional. Go for accessories that fit your lifestyle and serve more than one purpose. Buying quality used or recycled parts is a good option if you have a tight budget. This will help you get the best value for your hard-earned money. This way, you can save a few more for maintenance concerns.

Easy on Upgrades

It’s easy to pick items from the parts list, especially if you have a big budget. Those new leather seats, decals, and other accessories are too tempting. The range of product options makes choosing the right items a bit more difficult. Remember that sometimes, less is more. Take it easy on upgrades and avoid over accessorising your car. Adding a few, but functional features will keep it stylish, clean, and classy.

Shop for the best car accessories from the parts centre near you. Expert mechanics can install those new or recycled components while you wait.

There are many reasons and arguments that may prevent you from buying a home. Many think the price of a house and land is too high that owning one is not practical. Some believe that taxes are too steep when you own a house.

house and lotWhile these insights may have a ring of truth to them, owning a home can still be one of the wisest decisions you’ll ever make. This is especially true if you get to make the good reasons behind such a decision outweigh the benefits of renting, more especially if you’re looking at the big picture and thinking long term. Below are the explanations that will make you change your doubting mind about permanently owning a home.

You Can Invest Further

You can use the property as an investment vehicle. For one, you can rent it out. Some rent out their homes to cover the remaining mortgage costs. If you had paid your mortgages sooner and faster than you expected, you may also think of selling it. You might get bigger money, Redink Homes says, as property values almost always improve, especially if you maintained your home’s beauty with the right service providers.

You Have the Right to Brag

Pride may not be a tangible benefit, but a bit of it—in the context of home ownership—can make you feel like you’re an accomplished person. As a matter of fact, you already are. Owning a home is a definitive sign that a person is advancing in life in terms of career and maturity. It also gives people an impression that you’re a person of commitment, knowing that paying for the house and land may take a long process.

Owning a House and Land Package Gives Equity

Renting also means paying for something that will never become yours. If you buy a house and land, you’re actually building equity with each payment you make on time. Later on, you can use this equity and your history of being a good payer to improve your credit standing or borrow money from lending institutions if you’re thinking to remodel your home.

Homeowners have certain rights that won’t be experienced by renters. When you’re a tenant, you’re expected to comply with a specific set of guidelines, which will usually prevent you from doing what you want. This is not the case if you’re a homeowner.

web designsHaving a successful business in the digital age calls for a need to make a formidable presence in the World Wide Web.

Experienced Birmingham website designers can connect your local business with the rest of the world, making the opportunity for profit larger than ever. Doing this, however, requires solid web designs. It takes only a few seconds for online users to change their mind and take their business elsewhere. The simplest and most effective way to keep them with you is by providing them with exceptional web design.

Here are some essential tips on optimising web design:

Loading Time

Fast load times are crucial. Remember that a browser’s attention span is most likely limited. With so many options to choose from on the Internet, slow loading pages are likely to cause web surfers to browse elsewhere.

Keep it simple

The quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line. Simple web pages are the easiest ones to navigate. Get rid of clutter. Not only does an overload of information overwhelm visitors, but it gives a messy impression of your company as well.

Use Appropriate colours

Your web page should be well coordinated in terms of colour. Make it as visually appealing as possible. This is a simple rule, but is just as important. In fact, web pages that are not colour coordinated can be eyesores that repel visitors and potential conversions away.

Easy navigation

The ease with which browsers can navigate your web page is a significant aspect of good web design. Having a website with links that lead nowhere makes. Always keep the user in mind. Make it as user-friendly as you possibly can.

Make sure your links work

There is probably nothing more frustrating to a potential online client than clicking on dead ends. Web designs should not only focus on mere aesthetic value, but also on the overall quality of the browsing experience.

There is no single formula for creating the perfect web design. There has to be a balance of proven techniques and creativity. Keep these tips in mind and you will create the best possible web designs for the most optimum results possible.

OfficeA highly-productive workforce has always been essential. With the looming challenges of the changing business landscape, it would be ideal if your employees could meet business targets while upholding the standards in your industry.

Setting the benchmarks starts not from floor operations, though; it should begin from the top management. Improving your workforce’s capabilities to deliver quality output depends on your strategies. It is a balancing act only a few have mastered, or cared to try, to say the least. To improve the level of performance of your personnel, consider other alternative ways.

Here are three practical things you should take into account:

Relevant Performance Indicators

Ineffective management relies on short-term solutions for resolving major issues. You cannot optimise the full potential of your operations, though, if you continue to do so. To turn things around, you could look at relevant performance indicators and strategise using the data. For instance, you can improve the production output of your workforce by looking into the effectiveness of their shift schedule. Find what works best for them and see if you can still introduce changes, so can they perform at their best.

Training and Assessment

Look for ways to let your workforce build upon their expertise. Making them undergo training sessions and workshop can help them bring out their A-game to their work and boost your business, in turn. Besides, having a Certificate IV in training and assessment online always gives a huge advantage.

Motivation Scheme

A positive work environment can help a lot in raising the standards of your business. You can do this with effective motivation schemes. Experts agree that performance incentives and rewards can motivate your workforce, bring about a positive work atmosphere and create a good return on investment for your company.

Consistency and Flexibility

Be consistent with your company standards. Failing to do so may compromise your business as whole. This does not mean, however, that you should forego flexibility. Whenever possible, update your workflow and find ways to streamline operations.

Your workforce is the foundation of your business. If they are not motivated to work at their best, you may struggle to meet your company goals. Take these things into consideration to ensure the success of your business.

Struggling retailer American Apparel has finally reached a deal with its largest investor to raise fresh finance.

Immediate loan

american apparel

Photo credits: Eklaomui22 | Wikimedia

The company will get as much as $25 million from Standard General in a deal that will reshuffle the management board.

The agreement will help American Apparel to pay off its debts with Lion Capital.

“This truly marks the beginning of an important new chapter in the American Apparel story,” American Apparel co-chairman Allan Mayer said in a statement. “With the support of Standard General, we are confident the Company will finally be able to realize its true potential.”

Board approval

Under the deal, Standard General will choose only two board members to stay on the seven-member board. Chief Executive Dov Charney will also leave the company in return for the fund.

The financing agreement has been able to rescue the unprofitable retailer.

Its future was recently questioned after Charney was accused of sexual harassment and using the company’s assets.

coffeeThe food you put into your body has tremendous impact on your brain function. Eating well and eating the right food is not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well.

When it comes to memory, cognition, and focus, there are certain foods that are particularly important to keep your grey matter happy, working, and ready to handle anything.

Coffee

Too much coffee can give you the jitters, but it can help improve short-term memory. Coffee is one of the top sources of caffeine, and this substance can significantly improve your memory and attention. A recent study even suggests caffeine can improve long-term memory.

7 Grams Coffee recommends drinking brewed instead of instant coffee, as the latter contains high levels of acrylamide, a substance proven to cause cancer in animals. Also, remember to limit yourself to about 400mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to four cups of brewed coffee.

Blueberries

Blueberries are berry berry good for you. They contain compounds that free radical damage and decrease inflammation. This fruit, effective at improving short-term memory and delaying memory loss, has antioxidants that boost memory by activating brain-protective enzymes.

They also contain high levels of anthocyanins, a chemical compound that increases neuron signalling in the brain and protects those who eat them against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nuts

Nuts are a great source of vitamin E—it helps prevent cognitive decline, especially in the elders. All kinds of nuts contain monounsaturated fat, which is good for the heart. Aside from vitamin E, they also contain a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nuts also contain high levels of magnesium—those who suffered brain injuries restore brain functioning with the help of magnesium therapy.

Walnuts, in particular, are full of magnesium, copper, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating walnuts everyday reverses cognitive decline, and helps reduce inflammation in the central nervous system.

Having a nourishing diet will give you the best chance to avoid diseases. It’s never too late to improve your memory and your overall health, so change your daily diet and start the day with a cup of coffee and some nuts and blueberries on your breakfast table.

quality hoodieIf one piece of clothing could best summarise streetwear, it would have to be a hoodie. It is the most versatile piece of all when it comes to urban fashion. Regardless of where you would go or whatever function you’d attend, a hoodie can fit somewhere in your wardrobe.

Don’t get the wrong impression that the only style to rock a hoodie is through Mark Zuckerberg’s outfits. There are many ways to look dashing in this piece of clothing.

The Formal Vibe

You can use hoodies to create a look that’s formal yet relaxed. Imagine mixing together a crisp white shirt, a plain-coloured tie, and your hoodie. Make sure that you unzip the hoodie far enough to show the tie and shirt combination. Next, top it off with a contrasting blazer to amplify the look’s appeal. Once you pair this with some dark jeans – or maybe even some chinos –you can achieve that relaxed and formal appearance.

The Geeky Look

Now, when you want to show a geeky look the next time you go out, try using your hoodies. Contrary to popular opinion, hoodies are not limited to strict urban fashion. Match your favourite hoodie zip with a chic polo shirt. Next, wear your eyeglasses and accessories like a smart watch.

The Casual Air

Hoodies are perfect for casual wear, but many people fail to think outside the box when it comes to this style. It’s not always just about putting a pullover jacket over a T-shirt.

Even though it’s summer, it’s possible to look good with a hoodie. Draw your inspiration from a blog post from 5 Pointz to make your look stand out. Add some edge – a statement piece – to your outfit. A simple scarf or a beanie can set the right look whilst matching the hoodie’s natural urban charm.

The secret to looking your best while wearing a hoodie is to know how to create layers in your outfit properly. Play with your fashion style and make a good combination of layers for a charming and exciting look with streetwear.

home buyingBuying a home, for the most part, is a huge financial endeavour. This is why you need to know the financial aspects involved in making a home purchase. By understanding the credit score requirements and down payment essentials, you can ensure a smooth home buying process.

Manor Lakes shares a list of financial duties and advice in buying a home.

Improve Credit Score

The higher your credit score is, the lower your down payment and monthly payments will be when it comes to home purchases. To strengthen and improve your score, get your credit reports and make sure you are not penalised for old and paid debts. Do not apply for a new credit a year before acquiring financing to avoid tarnishing your history.

Finalise Your Budget

To avoid the problem of keeping up with a large monthly payment, choose a house that will give you more financial freedom. Make sure it will not exceed 28 to 30 per cent of your gross monthly income. It is advisable to calculate the mortgage payment for the house in your preferred price range as well, including additional expenses such as taxes and utilities.

Saving for Down Payment

You may need to put five to 20 per cent down payment, depending on your financing assistance and credit score. You can look for down payment assistance to help you with the deposit. The more you can put on the home deposit, the less money to have to borrow. This means that you will pay less interest over the lifetime of the loan. You can use Your Mortgage Calculator as well, to know more about loan payment options.

Savings Account

If you have a healthy savings account, many lenders will be willing to approve your home loan application. Your savings could help you with the repair issues and maintenance that come along with your new home. To build a healthy savings account, allot a significant amount of money every month.

Learn more about credit score requirements and down payment assistance to help you with your purchase. It is best to work with a reliable real estate agent to know the right house and land package suitable for your family and your budget.


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