How To Paint the Furniture To Retain Its Elegance

When I was chatting with my friends about home renovation, many of them felt that painting the furniture is a waste of money. I argued against that point by drawing an analogy between human beings and furniture pieces. I compared human dressing with the paint applied on the furniture and I explained them in detail about the advantages of paints. Finally, I won the argument and had a treat.

I am using this space to share a few important points that helped me to win over the argument and also help you to revive the charm of the furniture. We should take a cue from the nature. The ozone protects us from harmful UV rays, similarly the furniture has to be protected from environmental issues. But be clear that the painting a wall and furniture are different except for a few points.

If you are planning to paint the furniture, spare some time to read the following points.

Primer

Firstly, the furniture has to be coated with a primer. It is an undercoat to prepare the furniture for painting. It facilitates the paint to stick on the surface instead of spreading. It also increases the durability of the paint besides protecting the furniture.

The primer must also match the paint you are going to use. For latex paints, choose a latex primer. It is easy to use and it blocks stains. It won’t smell like an oil-based primer.

Similarly, Oil-based primers must be used for oil-based paints. They offer good adhesion and stain blocking compared to latex ones.

Metal enamel primer is known for its durability. This type of primer comes in satin and semi-gloss finishes.

Paint

Many often get confused what to use either Oil-based paints or Water-based paints

Oil paints have been used for centuries. They generally took long time to settle and dry.

Water-based paints are of different types namely Mud, Standard latex, Chalk and Milk paints.

Mud paints give antique appeal to the furniture. They have smooth, flat finish with great coverage. It works well with wax or any water-based coat. They also don’t need a primer as it is inherently adhesive.

Standard latex require a long curing time. They are relatively durable. They need the support of the primer.

Chalk paints have many benefits over other. They don’t require primer as they are normally adhesive. Another advantage is they don’t even need sanding.

Milk paints are commonly available. They can be easily applied to all kinds of surfaces. They are eco-friendly and non-toxic.

Over and above, take some safety precautions while painting as many of the petroleum-based paints are toxic. Paint the furniture in open surroundings as it is a hazardous work.

7 Best Tips For Healthy Clay Pot Cooking

Clay pot cooking is the oldest and time-tested method for healthy cooking. While people are struggling to fight the ill effects of modern ways of cooking, with this safe and simple way of cooking, nobody ever had complaints. This is probably the reason people are slowly going back to their roots by switching to clay cookware.

There is a new challenge with clay pot cooking today it is rare that people are making it with the health value in mind so the clay pots available in the market are unfortunately chemical laden and coated with toxic enamels and glazes (like ceramics). The more beautiful and colorful they look on the outside, the more toxins they may leach while cooking. The cheaper they are, it’s possible that additives are used to make them faster and smoother. It’s important that you choose a truly healthy pot and here are 7 tips to choosing and using the best clay pots:

1. Always Choose Primary Clay

Primary clay is the purest form of clay – it has absolutely no toxins. Only primary clay is naturally inert, so doesn’t react to food like metals and ceramics. There are many clay pots available in the market that are made from secondary or tertiary clay but they have contaminants that may leach into your food while cooking.

2. No Chemicals, Glazes or Enamels

Most makers start using chemicals to make the process easier. In fact, every mechanized process needs the raw material to be treated with chemicals. The glazes and enamels might make your clay pots and pans colorful, attractive and even robust but they contaminate food. So always choose a cookware made from unglazed primary clay (or pure clay).

3. Seasoning Is Important

Seasoning your pure clay pot as per instructions is very important for cooking delicious food every time and it also increases the life of your pot. Pure clay is naturally non-stick, so after proper seasoning, if done right, the food should never stick to the bottom.

4. Choose Ingredients Carefully

You have finally chosen the healthiest clay pot – great, but it will all be in vain if you won’t use the right ingredients. For healthy clay pot cooking, make sure you choose all-natural organic ingredients that are unprocessed and nutrition-rich. A balanced diet is all you and your family needs for a healthy body, so always pay attention to the nutritional value of your ingredients.

5. Cook At Medium to Low Heat

Pure clay pots are great retainers of heat and the near infrared heat radiating from their walls cooks food evenly with gentle heat. It keeps nutrients intact and food cooks in almost the same time at low-medium heat as it does on high heat in metal/ceramic cookware.

Cooking at low-medium heat not only prevents food from burning and sticking to the bottom, it also improves the durability of your pure clay pot.

6. Choose A Pot That Manages Steam Well

Steam management is an important aspect of healthy cooking. In conventional cookware, the steam pressure inside the pot gets too much while cooking with harsh, near-infrared heat from metals/ceramics. So their lids have vents to release excessive steam in order to protect the pot from exploding.

Not many are aware that steam is water-soluble nutrients. As the body can’t store them like fat-soluble nutrients, they are needed every day. If the steam is released freely while cooking, the food becomes nutritionally deficient.

An ergonomically designed pure clay pot and lid make sure when steam rises from food, condenses at the inner surface of the lid (the lid being cooler than the pot) and settles back into the food before cooking is complete. This way, the water-soluble nutrients are preserved and your body is nourished with them regularly.

7. Clean With Water – No Soap

Regardless of what the label says, all soaps are toxic. When you are using a 100% non-toxic cookware, it’s important that you keep it away from anything toxic or chemical laden. Pure clay pots are naturally porous, so food doesn’t stick to the surface. You can always clean them with bare hands in normal water. Though you can scrub it a little if burnt food sticks at the bottom.

By following these simple yet useful tips, you can do wonders with healthy clay pot cooking. This will not only keep your body nourished with essential nutrients but will also protect you from common infections and diseases by strengthening your immunity.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Finding Discount Web Hosting

There are a large number of cheap web hosting service providers that are offering their services and you are required to select any one of them while you are creating your own web portal, offering everything from shared-hosting packages to superior end dedicated servers to starter. There are certain points that you are required to consider while you are looking for discount web hosting, some of them are as under.

1. The disk space offered; the content, images along with the web pages that you are considering uploading to your web portal requires space, it is just like the data which acquires disk space on your personal computer. Most of the web hosting companies offers you with a limited capacity, although you are not planning on storing or uploading huge files on your website.

2. Speed and Reliability; you need to make sure that the host company you are selecting is providing you with speedy services and is reliable too. All the web-hosting companies write 99.99% up time in their advertisements but you should be asking them for their reports. If your website happens to slow down then you will be resulting in frustrated and irritated visitors and it is certainly going to affect your website’s search engine rankings. Google is have billions of web portals with it and if yours is particularly slow then it is going to move on to the next one right away.

3. The bandwidth; when you happen to download things to your systems from the Web, it requires bandwidth. Same is the case when people are visiting your web portal and they are downloading stuff, it is going to strain your web hosting service providers. Therefore, if you need to get things transferred speedily or while you are refreshing your web pages then you are required to have a certain amount of bandwidth. It may be that the Discount Web Hosting service providers are offering you with additional resources like website templates, an auto responder, unlimited emails, and cgi bin.

The above-mentioned are some of the most considerable points while you are seeking for Discount Web Hosting service providers. You should be comparing the rates of different companies to figure out that which one is fulfilling your needs and requirements in a better way. As your web portal grows, you are required to make sure that you are getting a good deal and value out of the web hosting services.