Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Significance of Personalized Gifts

Photo Blankets
Items like these make the most perfect gifts.
Today, many gift givers have a tough time finding a unique item to give a loved one. They want to give the person a meaningful gift that he or she will truly appreciate. Personalized items make for meaningful as well as memorable gifts. Here are a few suggestions.

Many parents want to give a child a gift when he or she leaves for college. For instance, they might give their son or daughter a cozy blanket to use in the dormitory. Personalization makes this gift all the more meaningful. Parents may want to personalize the blanket with a collage of family photos or pictures of the child in his or her younger years. The personalized blanket serves as a reminder of the person’s caring family.  One of my favorite stores online that creates gifts like this is The Memories Place.

Kids are always looking for fun gifts to give their fathers on Father’s day. One option is a new coffee cup for dad to use at work. A personalized coffee cup goes a step further in making the gift more meaningful. The coffee cup may have their father’s name on it along with a funny caption. The gift of a personalized coffee cup shows dad that the kids are making efforts to find great gift. A personalized coffee cup is also perfect for mom on Mother’s Day!

New parents deserve a gift that honors the birth of their baby. A personalized baby blanket is an ideal option. This adorable item can keep a baby warm or decorate the interior of the nursery. Furthermore, when the baby grows out of the blanket it can be put aside as a keepsake for the individual in later life.

A personalized gift means so much more to a friend or family member than a generic gift from a shop. Personalization makes any gift extra special.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How to Paint a Concrete Retaining Wall

Painting a concrete retaining wall is not difficult, but it can have its challenges. It doesn’t matter how long and tall the wall is, and it doesn’t matter if the wall is poured concrete or concrete block, there are a variety of reasons why the wall needs to, has to or should be painted.

The wall needs to be free of dirt, grime or grease for the paint to stick. It might be as easy as taking a broom and sweeping the dirt off, or it might require a wash down with a garden hose. For stubborn dirt, grime or grease, it might take a power washer to do the job. If detergent is used to clean the wall, make sure the residue is completely washed off.

The wall will need some drying time which could take up to several days. Once the wall is declared fit for painting, consider using a primer on the wall. Concrete is a porous material and the primer will seal the pin holes and make it easier to paint. If no primer is used, the concrete will suck up the paint, and it might take two or more coats of paint to do the job.

Concrete can be painted any color, but it is important to use outdoor latex paint. Latex paint will stand up to the weather, especially if the weather is subject to multiple seasons. There is paint made specifically for concrete but is usually available in white, black or gray. If one of those is the color of choice, opt for the concrete paint. Some brands of concrete specific paint can be tinted a different color.

The best painting day will be seasonable temperatures and not raining or windy. Rain will hamper the paint job the same way a just washed wall will and a windy day will blow the paint every which way not to mention kick up dirt, grit and sand into the paint.

Painting can be accomplished with paint brushes, rollers or a paint sprayer. Put down drop clothes in front of the wall to prevent the ground from becoming paint spattered. Paint with even strokes and apply the paint in one direction. If painting with a roller or paint sprayer, it might be necessary to paint the edges of the wall with a paint brush. If there are scores in the concrete, it might be necessary to fill those in with a brush, as well.

After the painting is complete, rinse the brushes and rollers with water before putting them away or rinse out the sprayer and let it dry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yerba Mate - Not your average "Cup of Joe"

Many people wake up in the morning to their favorite cup of coffee to get them started for the day, but many people have trouble with this possibly unhealthy addiction. Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in a variety of plants, including the coffee plant and the tea bush. Caffeine is widely used in North America on a daily basis. But are all caffeine or “Xanthine” substances created equal?

In America, most people like to add things to their coffee that are not always beneficial. Cream, sugar, caramel, flavored syrups, and chocolate are the staples of the coffee industry. Coffee shops everywhere cater to the vast array of taste buds that enter their doors or drive by their windows every day. Regardless of their effects, coffee and other caffeinated drinks continue to be a permanent fixture in American culture.

But what if there was something else? What if the not so pleasant side effects of caffeine could be taken out of the equation and you were just left with the effects that most people use caffeine for in the first place? There is a not so new drink appearing on grocery shelves everywhere and can easily be found near your tea and coffee, that is a much healthier and a much more positive experience than the good ol’ “cup of Joe” that so many of us bathrobe clad, sleepy eyed, early risers desperately cling to.

Yerba Mate is a plant that is found in South America. The leaves have been used by the Ache Guayaki tribe for centuries for its energizing effects. Like its coffee cousin, it is also a stimulant more similar to the green tea plant than the coffee plant, but vastly superior. Yerba Mate is more accurately summed up by saying that it contains the strength of coffee with the health benefits of tea, plus the euphoria of chocolate. The leaves of the plant naturally contain many vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. And Yerba Mate now comes in a variety of forms and flavors. It can be found in health food stores and supermarkets as well as online. Besides keeping you awake during the day, Yerba Mate has also seen many additional health benefits. It is a much healthier alternative to your average “Cup of Joe” and I would encourage all coffee addicts to give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

Monday, July 16, 2012

What is a Borador?

The Borador is one of a long list of “designer” dogs. Also known as “boutique dogs” or “hybrids,” designer dogs are not purebred dogs, but rather a combination of two different purebreds. The Brangelinas of the canine world, designer dogs get cool combo names based on their two breeds. Among these boutique dog names are the Schnoodle (Schnauzer-Poodle), the Bagle Hound (Beagle-Basset Hound) and the Hug (Husky-Pug). So what does that make the Borador? Why, a Border Collie-Labrador, of course!

As puppies, boradors can resemble Labradors, with the exception of the common trait of a patch of white fur on the chest. As they grow, however, the Border Collie traits become more apparent, and many Boradors only grow as tall as a Border Collie. The coat of a Borador is typically shorter than that of a Border Collie, but the face is less squared like that of a lab and more cone-shaped like that of a collie. Some Boradors inherit the webbed feet of a Labrador, along with a love for swimming.

Boradors are very intelligent and quite energetic. They require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Boradors love to chew and will gnaw on just about anything if left to entertain themselves. The best rule of thumb for owner of Boradors is the old adage, “a tired dog is a good dog.”

The good news is that their high energy and high intelligence makes them eager to learn and easy to train. Boradors are also quite friendly, loyal pets who tend to get along well with children and thrive as members of families. These dogs are rarely aggressive. Quite the opposite, actually, they are sometimes too friendly, and, if not trained well, might just knock over guests with their zealous greetings.

Border Collies are bred to herd sheep, while Labradors are retrievers. Which traits are more dominant may depend on the parents, but it is more common for the herding instinct to outweigh the retrieving one.

The typical lifespan of a Borador is 12-14 years. Like Labs, Boradors are prone to hip dysplasia (another reason to curtail that jumping instinct early). All of that chewing makes for a breed with excellent dental health. The coat of a Borador has little dander, and is easy to maintain with regular brushing and grooming. The Borador requires plenty of exercise not only to harness its energy, but to keep it from becoming overweight.

Boradors are wonderful companions who make excellent pets for families. They tend to get along well with other pets, as well. The Borador is a great choice for anyone who is willing to work on the training and exercise needs. The reward for this is a lifelong bond with a loyal and loving pet.