Kitchen Remodeling Tips And Suggestions For Your Home

Tips for Choosing a Kitchen Accent Color

Does your kitchen feel a little boring? Want to add some pizzazz to the design? A good kitchen accent color can turn a drab kitchen into a dramatic masterpiece, with minimal investment on your end. Here are some tips to help you choose the right accent for your kitchen.

What Is a Kitchen Accent Color?

Before we can provide tips for choosing an accent color, we need to explain what an accent color is. This is a pop of color that you can use to add personality to a kitchen. If you have an all-white kitchen or a space filled with neutrals, it can feel drab and boring. The kitchen all runs together, so there is nowhere for the eye to focus on. With the right kitchen accent color, you can direct a viewer’s eye around the room and create visual interest for the space.

Start with a Neutral Base

Having a neutral base will allow you to change your accent color over time. If you get bored with bright green, you can swap it out for a soft yellow. The neutral color pallet will remain the same, so you don’t have to completely remodel your kitchen. Greys, whites, browns and beiges can transition through many accent colors in the future. Think about that if you’re planning an upcoming kitchen remodel.

Choose a Kitchen Accent Color That Fits the Undertones of Your Neutrals

The rule is ‘neutrals go with anything,’ but that is not always the case. Most neutrals have an undertone, and that undertone can dictate which colors work well with them. Your accent color could accentuate or detract from your neutrals. For instance, a cool grey wall with a blue undertone may suddenly look blue with navy accents. A contrasting color like orange could also enhance the blue undertones.

Don’t Be Afraid to Go BOLD!

If you have a neutral base, you can go bold with your kitchen accent color. Candy apple red, bright green, cobalt blue – choose any bold color your heart desires. Your accent color is going to be the ‘pop’ in your kitchen. You can make that pop as loud or as quiet as you want it to be. Explore options on all ends of the spectrum before settling on an accent color.

 

The Step-By-Step Guide To Remodeling Your Kitchen

Since the kitchen is central to the home and commonly used by families, it’s one of the first things many house hunters look at. Whether you’re renovating your kitchen to help your home sell or to create the kitchen of your culinary dreams, there’s some planning and budgeting you’ll want to do first.

Determine Your Must-Haves

The first step when remodeling your kitchen is deciding what you really want. Similar to house hunting, this helps you narrow down the options and formulate a budget.

It can feel like the options for your kitchen are limitless, but unless you have a limitless budget, you’re going to have to pick and choose what’s actually important to you. Do you need more storage? Do you want more space for entertaining? Do you want a flow that works better for your family?

Set A Budget

Now that you know what you won’t budge on and what would just be nice to have, it’s time to create a budget.

How do you know what a realistic budget is for your kitchen renovation? A good rule of thumb is to spend 5% – 15% of your homes total value on your kitchen renovation. For example, if your house is valued at $200,000, a decent kitchen renovation budget would be 10% of that value, so about $20,000. Here are a few things you can do to get a more accurate budget and decide how much to allocate where.

 

Kitchen Remodeling: What Type Of Kitchen Cabinets Should You Choose?

Your kitchen cabinets should be the highlight of your kitchen, which means if they’re not looking their best, your kitchen could look dull and drab. If you’re thinking of undergoing a kitchen remodeling project, learn how to choose the best cabinets for your home. Knowing the difference between the styles, wood choices, stains and paints and hardware can help you choose kitchen cabinets that will look great (and keep you happy) for years to come.

Which Cabinet Style Best Fits Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

Which style fits your kitchen remodeling project? Are you looking for traditional, contemporary or mission style doors? Do you even know what that means? If you’re not an expert in kitchen cabinets, consider which types of doors you prefer.

Choosing The Right Wood For Your Kitchen Cabinets

The next choice you need to make is what type of wood that you want to use. Popular choices include cherry, maple, hickory, red oak, lyptus, rustic alder and white oak. Each wood type provides a unique look so you want to have a good idea of what you want your finished kitchen remodeling project to look like to make sure you’re choosing the right wood for your kitchen cabinets..

Selecting The Right Stain Or Paint

Choosing the right stain or paint should happen at the same time you’re choosing your wood type. Cherry stains, for instance, can range from a light stain that brings out the natural beauty of the wood, to a reddish brown, to a deep coffee color. At this time, you should decide whether you want a matte or satin finish and if you want any specialty touches, such as glazing, vintage or rustic looking finishes

Which Kitchen Cabinet Hardware?

Hardware is usually the last choice homeowners need to make. Hardware can include drawer pulls and door handles and the possibilities are nearly endless. Hardware comes in every style, from classic to modern to vintage, and it’s an affordable way update the look of your cabinets every few years. If you’re having a hard time choosing the right hardware for your kitchen remodel, consider buying one or two handles or pulls of multiple styles. This way you’ll be able to see which ones you prefer before you install them all on your kitchen cabinets and drawers.

 

KITCHEN REMODEL CHECKLIST

Whether you’re cooking, entertaining or just hanging out, kitchens attract a crowd. Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to update the most popular room in the house. Remodeling also gives you an opportunity to make a return on your investment.

Kitchen Remodel Tips

A kitchen remodel can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint and new floors, or a complete transformation with new appliances, cabinets and more. No matter the route you choose, planning helps you avoid costly, or surprising setbacks and keeps the project on time and on budget.

While you’re planning your kitchen remodel, decide what bothers you about your current kitchen and how your new space will correct these flaws. Maybe you need more storage near the oven, or you’re tired of hearing the kids slamming the cabinets shut.

Set a list of priorities and expectations.

What’s your big-picture goal: More space? Better design? Just new appliances?

When do you want the project to be finished?

Set a budget.

How much do you want to do: new appliances and more square footage, or just painted cabinets and a new fridge? Make the decision now before you start remodeling. Don’t forget budgeting for the little details, like the knobs on the new kitchen cabinets and dividers for new drawers.

 

How to Choose the Best General Contractor for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR REMODELING YOUR KITCHEN

As a homeowner in Sonoma County, you have the luxury of choosing from the best General Contractor near you to consider. When it comes to kitchen remodeling, there are several things that you will want to consider when choosing among the best General Contractor that are right for you,  especially when choosing the right kitchen remodeling contractor. With that said, as one of many local kitchen remodeling contractors in Sonoma County, it’s important you find a highly experienced contractor that really understands the ins and outs of kitchen remodeling that can also work within your budget and timeline.

Your kitchen is the primary space in your home that can get you the greatest return on your investment. According to a recent article published by Remodeling Magazine, the average ROI for a kitchen remodel is between 60-80% depending on the over-all condition of the home, in addition to other deciding factors. Not only is remodeling your kitchen a great return on your investment, but it makes a tremendous impact on the quality of life in your home such as family time, preparing meals together, and hosting holiday events throughout the year. Your kitchen can be the heart of your home and the one space that can really make the most positive impact in our lives when its remodeled. With features like pullout shelves for easy access to cabinets and countertops that are easy to clean. And lets not forget those wonderful features such as instant hot water dispensers for that quick morning coffee.

GORGEOUS KITCHEN DESIGN WITH MODERN FUNCTIONALITY

One of the things we often here time and time again is that the new kitchen is more functional. With clever designs, we can often take a poorly designed kitchen and remedy the problem of these outdated designs that often result in the lack of storage space, or hard to reach places. Our custom kitchen designs go beyond great looking cabinets. We’ll create a design that not only looks amazing, but will transform your kitchen into a highly functional space. Two great examples that we’ve done in many of our kitchen remodels is to remove a wall that often separates the kitchen from the dinning or living room. By removing the wall it creates a very open space that makes the space more functional and creates a “Great Room” that is perfect for entertaining guest or large family gathering such as Thanks-Giving or Christmas dinners. Another popular feature has been to add a center island which not only adds more seating capacity but allows family and guests to visit with you while you are preparing that amazing meal. We have often put a second sink in those center Islands giving you even more flexibility.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT KITCHEN REMODELING CONTRACTOR

When it comes to remodeling your kitchen there are many kitchen remodeling contactors to choose from in Santa Rosa or the surrounding areas. The best General Contractor for your kitchen remodeling project understands the intricate construction and design processes that go into building your dream kitchen. The comments below may be some things you will want to consider when deciding on the right contractor. The first rule of thumb is it is best to work with a local contractor that is part of your local community. You know the guy or gal that has had their kids or grand kids in little league with your kids or grand kids. The guy or gal that shops at the same stores you do and pays local taxes to help with the infrastructure of this great community. The contractor that understands what it feels like to live in a community that was threatened by the recent Tubbs and Kincade fires. In other words, Sonoma County is not just where we work, it’s where we choose to live because of its beauty and the beautiful people of this community.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

It’s not easy to find the best General Contractor. We care about every little detail to make sure you get the design and functionality to create that kitchen you will be enjoying for many years to come. We start the process off with a personal on-site visit to take pictures of the current space, to take measurements down and most importantly to discuss with you the goals and vision you have to obtaining that perfect Kitchen. During our kitchen design consultation meetings, we will often discover space limitations our clients are experiencing and even uncover some issues that they didn’t know could be remedied. Then the fun begins! We point you in the right direction to begin looking at countertop options, appliances, flooring, and cabinet choices. It’s even a common practice for someone from our staff to meet you at our local stores to help you in making the right selection of products for your new kitchen. This practice has often saved a lot confusion or hassle. In short, you are not just getting a kitchen remodeling contractor in Sonoma County you are getting a design team that walks you through every step of the way.

The New Entry In The Roofing World Is The Metal Roof

Metal Roofing Facts and Myths

Metal roofs are becoming more and more of a conversation piece. What comes along with this? Many myths, but also facts.

Here are some common metal roof myths — and the facts to dispel them.

Myth: Metal roofs will prevent ice dams

False. The root cause of ice dams is improper attic ventilation and inadequate attic insulation. If your attic space doesn’t have enough insulation and ventilation, ice dams can still form on a metal roof.

Ice dams result from a problem that could exist for any attic space and roof. Heat still rises, and with lack of insulation and ventilation, the snow on the roof melts, runs down and re-freezes at the eaves — even if it is a metal roof.

Myth: Metal roofs lower heating bills

This is not necessarily true. If your home has inadequate insulation, air leaks and windows that are not energy efficient, installing a metal roof will not likely lower your heating bills. It is important to remember there are many factors that contribute to your home’s overall energy usage.

Myth: Metal roofs offer no resale value

This is not true! Metal roofs are actually highly valued. Homes renovated with standing-seam metal roofing recoup on average 85.9-percent of costs nationally and up to 95.5% for homes in the Eastern states, according to Remodeling Magazine. These gains in resale value amount to 1- and 6-percent, respectively, over homes roofed with asphalt shingles.

 

Metal Roofing – Get The Facts!

Shingles were a longstanding staple in the material business for a considerable length of time. Almost certainly, one of the houses that you experienced childhood in had a shingled rooftop. Be that as it may, as time has passed by, purchasers have started searching for different kinds of materials to utilize. The issue with shingles is that they don’t keep going for over twenty years. Taking into account how costly and included introducing a material framework can be, you need to ensure that you don’t need to do a similar venture over again inside 10 years or two. Shingles start to split and the quality debases after some time, implying that you will in all likelihood need to do some minor fixes en route too. Furthermore, on the grounds that each shingle must be set by hand, the establishment procedure can be extremely monotonous and tedious. Interestingly, a metal rooftop sets aside almost no effort to introduce. This is on the grounds that it comes in boards that you can without much of a stretch slide into place and secure.

Another reward to introducing metal material is that, in a great deal of spots, you will have the option to show signs of improvement bargain on protection. Countless insurance agencies will offer property holders a sizable rebate on their mortgage holder’s protection premium on the off chance that they decide to introduce a rooftop made of metal more than one made of shingles or tiles. This is on the grounds that metal is substantially more tough than different types of roofing materials. Metal material is comprised of steel boards that have been covered with claim to fame rust-evidence paint. Both solid and adaptable, a they can without much of a stretch keep going for more than fifty years. What’s more, however it might appear as though they are a genuinely late pattern, metal rooftops have really been around for quite a while. For quite a long time, individuals have used rooftops made of metal for the long future and toughness that they offer. There is no other structure material utilized today that can coordinate metal material.

One of the fundamental objections with the manner in which metal material used to be done was that they ingested a lot of the sun’s warmth. This, thus, would make the house a lot more smoking, which caused vitality bills to be high as it took more work to keep the home cool. In any case, on account of advances in innovation, that is not, at this point an issue. Presently, it’s exceptionally intended to mirror the warmth from the sun, which has had a gigantic effect in how individuals see the material.

 

It’s long lasting

While it depends on the material and how the roof is installed, a metal roof is so durable that it has the potential to outlive you.

It can be installed over your existing roof

In most cases, a metal roof can be installed directly on top of your existing shingle roof. This makes metal roofing construction less of a hassle (and less of an expense).

Installation is quick and easy

Because of the way metal roofs are constructed, installing them is a pretty straight-forward process. Metal roof installation requires an expert, but someone trained in the process can install your metal roof in practically no time at all.

It can be installed in any season

Unlike shingle roofs, metal roofs can be installed during winter. Especially here in Tallahassee where snow is not an issue. We are happy to come install a new metal roof any time of year.

It’s snow, wind, and rain resistant

Dare we say they are even snow, wind, and rain proof? While things can always go wrong on the rare occasion, metal roofs are the most weather-resistant roofing material available.

 

The Facts vs. Fiction about Metal Roofs

For homeowners looking to re-roof, metal is becoming an increasingly popular choice and for good reason, thanks to the exceptional durability, long-lasting value and increased protection from metal roofs. Even so, there are still some misunderstandings about metal lingering among homeowners. Here are the facts vs. fiction about metal roofs:

Fiction: “I can’t have a metal roof because we get a lot of thunderstorms in our area, including hail and strong winds”

Fact: Metal roofs are by far the preferred and most durable choice for withstanding severe storms and weather. That’s why they are exceptionally popular in hurricane-prone areas such as Florida and the southeastern United States. Quality metal roofs have been proven to stand up to hurricane-force, 140-mile per hour winds, large hailstones and flying debris much better than other types of roofs. They also have the strength to hold up under heavy snow and ice loads, making them a truly durable, long-lasting choice in all season and regions.

Fiction: “Metal doesn’t give me as many style or color options, and probably won’t work with the architectural style of my home”

Fact: More than any other type of roofing materials, metal gives homeowners the widest variety of color and style options, designed to fit with the look of just about any home. There are metal roofing styles that mimic clay tiles, slate and shakes, and a vast array of colors, from rich earth tones to bright blues and reds, to choose from. Metal also is available in raw natural hues such as copper, titanium and stainless steel. From modern to tradition, the latest metal roof designs can not only complement, but enhance the curb appeal of nearly any home.

Fiction: “It gets really hot in the summer where I live. Metal will heat up my home.”

Fact: Metal roofs reflect more solar radiation than asphalt, which typically absorbs and holds heat. Metal roofs with oven-cured, pre-painted organic coatings are called “Cool Roofs” and have proven energy efficiency performance. So much so, many are ENERGY STAR qualified. Even darker metal roof colors with “cool pigment” technology can deliver high total solar reflectance and high infrared emittance. That means your home will be cooler and you’ll save more energy, thanks to metal roofing’s ability to re-emit most of what solar radiation is absorbed.

Fiction: “It rains a lot in our region. I’m worried the sound will keep me up at night.”

Fact: A properly installed, well-insulated metal roof will be as quiet as an asphalt roof. Just like with any other type of roof, make sure your installer uses a good quality underlayment and adds/tightens fasteners securely to help manage noise. And, you’re sure to sleep even easier knowing that the long-lasting durability of metal roofs will perform well no matter what Mother Nature throws at it for many years to come.

 

Does a Metal Roof Increase Home Value?

What about non-shingle roofs? Metal roofs are often touted as a good way to boost home value, but research indicates they are not as cost-effective as laminate shingles.

The Remodeling Report for 2019 found that a metal roof, on average, cost homeowners $38,600 and increased home value by 60.9 percent. Compare this to their findings for asphalt roofs, where the average homeowner spent $22,636 and got a return of 68 percent.

Not only is metal roofing, on average, more expensive than asphalt shingles, metal roofs also add a lower percentage of their value to an appraisal. In the end, you’re spending more money on a metal roof, but getting less of your investment back. If you install a metal roof, you’ll pay $38,600 and may get a $23,507 boost to home value. Therefore, you will have paid $15,093 that you may not get back in home value. If you pay $22,603 for an asphalt shingle roof, you may get a $15,392 boost to home value. Therefore, you will have only paid $7,244, which you may not get back in home value. These numbers are only averages. You may get a full return on investment. Even if you don’t, laminate shingles are a less-risky investment than a metal roof.

You should also consider how a homeowner will view a metal roof. Few homes have metal roofs, so they may seem unpredictable to homeowners who have never owned one before. As they are less common, homeowners may have too many questions about metal roofs to feel comfortable purchasing one.

As with other home improvements, if you want to maximize your investment, it is best to stick with familiar products in familiar styles that won’t raise the eyebrows of the typical home buyer.

The Needs For Sewer Inspection To Be Done

WHO SHOULD YOU CALL FOR YOUR SEWER OR SEPTIC LINE INSPECTION?

It’s important that you work with a full service company, especially if you have a septic system or are considering buying a home with a septic system. You should make sure the company can not only inspect your lines, but can follow through on repairs to your lines or septic system, either immediately or in the years to come. Finding the right company will ensure that the inspection and any necessary repairs are done by one company and not a group of sub contractors who may not take responsibility for their work. Be sure that your inspector is ATT (Alternative Treatment Technologies) and O&M (Operations and Maintenance) certified, and that they are part of a Preferred Plumber Program. Your real estate agent may be able to refer you to a full service company that provides comprehensive inspection, maintenance and repair services, and that has all of the necessary certifications.

WHAT IS INVOLVED IN SEWER LINE & SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECTION?

When it comes to sewer and septic line inspection, the plumbing company inserts a snake attached to a small video camera into the clean-out and snakes the camera through the sewer. You can watch the image on a monitor, and even request a recording of the inspection in the event documentation is of value. Not only will the plumbing company find out if the sewer line is clean or clogged, but the inspection will disclose the condition of the sewer. Ask the contractor to tell you what kind of material was used to construct the sewer line and whether that type of material is considered good construction today. Some sewer lines are made up of different materials, from concrete to clay to cast iron.

 

How Often Should Sewer Lines Be Cleaned?

This is an excellent question. If your home is older, the likelihood that an immediate sewer line cleaning would benefit you is very high. As a solid preventative measure, sewer lines should be cleaned once every eighteen to twenty-two months. If your home has been experiencing frequent problems with your sewer lines, it is recommended that you contact a plumber and schedule a video inspection. There are many different systems in your home that require maintenance. HVAC system maintenance is incredibly important if you live in an older home with original ductwork.

How Do You Dissolve Toilet Paper in a Sewer Line?

While toilet paper is specifically manufactured to dissolve and break up in water, if too much toilet paper has been stuffed in a tight space, such as in a pipeline, it can become a gummy mess. Most specialists recommend a closet auger to help dissolve the toilet paper in the drain. Augers are known as long pieces of wire or thinly shaped metal that is inserted into the toilet drain. These mechanisms have small hooks or barbs on the end that are designed to break up clogs and help separate the paper.

Does Toilet Paper Clog Sewer Lines?

With regard to whether or not toilet paper can clog a sewer line, homeowners should exercise caution. Any kind of debris, including toilet paper, can clog a sewer line. Over time, toilet paper, sanitary napkins, facial tissues, feminine hygiene products and more can clog the sewer line, causing a dramatic loss in the function of your plumbing. That’s why it’s crucial for homeowners to secure an appointment for sewer drain cleaning particularly if they have an older home and haven’t secured the service in recent memory.

 

What Is a Belly in a Sewer Pipe?

Sewer line bellies are sags or low spots in sewer lines. A normal sewer lateral (seen below) has a slope that uses gravity to help regulate the flow. A bellied sewer line interferes with the normal flow of waste water through the pipe, leading to backups and other problems because the water and sediment collects in the belly.

What Causes Sewer Bellies?

Poor planning and bad installations are often the root cause of sewer line bellies, as proper bedding compaction, good materials and correct slope are the most important factors needed to prevent the problem. However, natural occurrences like major tree roots, earthquakes, sun or heat, rain, and even cold weather fluctuations can lead to the shifts in the soil that eventually cause bellies.

How Can You Diagnose the Problem?

Sewer pipe bellies should be diagnosed by plumbers using the most accurate video inspecting technology. A professional sewer camera inspection will allow the service technician to push a video camera through the pipe, giving you a close look at the entire sewer lateral and allowing the plumbing team to accurately identify the issue. Even slope issues can be detected at this preliminary stage of the process.

 

Sewer Line Channeling Repair

If after reviewing this article you find that your sewer line is channeled and not bellied, then you may be a candidate for trenchless pipelining. Since a channeled pipe does not necessarily have an issue with slope, pipelining may be the solution you are looking for. Pipelining is a non-destructive, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly method of repairing a damaged pipe from the inside by means of inserting an epoxy saturated felt liner into the pipe and letting it cure in place. What that means for you is no digging up your floors or destruction inside your home to repair your sanitary drainage pipes. You won’t even need to leave your home during repairs. The result is a brand new, PVC quality pipe within the old one with a manufacturer’s 50 year life use expectancy.

Sewer Line Belly vs. Channeling – Why the confusion?

The issue lies with the company performing the video inspection. At first glance, both conditions may have the same symptom – the camera going underwater during a sewer video inspection. However, only after thorough investigation with a jetter can the problem be properly diagnosed.

In conclusion, a belly in a sewer line and channeling are easily confused. We have found that when our customers mention they have a belly in their sewer line, 99% of the time the line is channeled instead. Since a sewer line belly is accompanied by an issue with the pipe’s slope, conventional replacement is the only repair option.  However, channeling differs in that the pipe’s slope (in most cases) remains functional. This means that channeling may be repaired by trenchless pipelining, saving you time, money, headaches and the mess associated with conventional replacement.

 

Sewer Inspection Problem  – Tree Roots

When your sewer system was installed, chances are the vegetation wasn’t mature and no one suspected that your system could be compromised by a tree root. Roots are relentless and powerful and can crush a pipe or offset it, creating all kinds of problems with the flow of your system.

Unfortunately, most people do not think about their sewer line location when planting a tree. Often we see trees planted directly above a sewer line in front yards.

Root intrusion is very common in older clay and cast iron sewer lines. Newer PVC lines have a lower chance of having root issues.

There are several ways to handle this issue, including replacing the old line with a more structurally sound one like plastic. You can treat the line with a poison that will make the roots retreat. You can also rent a power auger which will clean out the line and will need to be done on a routine basis.

There are also hundreds of rooter companies that will come out and run a power auger down your sewer line for a low fee. We recommend that you do this often if you have a clay line.

How Can An Immigration Lawyer Help You

How to choose an immigration attorney?

Once you decide to consult with an immigration attorney, you will face a challenge of selecting an attorney who is right for you

If you are not living in a big city, there may be few immigration attorneys to choose from. You may go for a phone consultation with an immigration attorney if you just have a few questions and your case is not pending in immigration court. You may send your papers by e-mail to an immigration attorney in San Francisco for review. Immigration attorneys in San Francisco give consultations by phone or skype, accept credit card payments over the phone.

Please keep in mind that not all the people who will try to help you with immigration issues are in fact immigration attorneys. There is a lot of immigration fraud in the Russian and Hispanic communities in big cities all over the United States.

Notarios, paralegals, and translators are not immigration attorneys, they are not qualified to give immigration advice. At the very beginning ask the person if he or she is a member of the Bar, and get the immigration attorney’s Bar number. Check the status of the attorney’s license on the website of the State Bar Association that issued the license

If you care about the outcome of your case, do not want to lose your money and get a denial, avoid unqualified legal aid. You can learn about immigration fraud and how not to become a victim on the USCIS website

 

Immigration Lawyers and Top Rated Immigration Attorneys

Through the process of naturalization, foreign citizens or nationals are able to become a United States citizen, so long as they fulfill the requirements that were established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Applying for citizenship can be an exhaustive and expensive process.

The costs associated with the application process can widely vary, and hiring an attorney to assist you throughout, may end up saving you money in the long run. Even the slightest error can cause an application to be denied or postponed, and having to reapply can double or triple your costs.

Deportation occurs when the United States orders an individual to leave the country. Deportation, also known as removal, can be a frightening situation for the individual as well as their family. The laws surrounding deportation are complicated and hiring a deportation/removal attorney is highly advised.

Experienced lawyers may be able to raise arguments against deportation, including any one of the following: cancellation of an order of removal, prosecutorial discretion, requests for asylum, arguments based on the U.N. Convention Against Torture, and appeal of order or removal. Your attorney will fight to help you remain in the country, and will be your best bet at staying where you are.

Lawful permanent residents of the United States receive a photo identity card, that is green in color. As such, permanent resident cards are known informally as “Green cards”. Green card holders are immigrants who are given rights, privileges, and benefits to permanently and legally reside in the United States.

 

Selecting the Right Immigration Law Firm

Successful experience in your area of concern. Research the law firm’s reputation and the leading attorneys at the firm. Be sure that you find that their clients praise their quality of service, whether it’s employment based or individual/family based cases. If the attorney has been favorably rated by other legal professionals and by attorney rating organizations, it’s a good sign.

Personal attention and respect. Some immigration law firms are run on high volume, and turn into infamous “paper mills” where productivity is given greater value over quality. For many types of immigration cases, representation is far more than just asking for a list of documents and filling out forms. Without an active, collaborative approach, and may you risk submitting documents that haven’t been properly reviewed and which are not up to standard. If poor documentation is initially submitted, while USCIS might give you a request for additional evidence to cure some defects, the request for evidence may not necessarily cover all the bases which USCIS may use to deny your case. Lack of personal attention is often a problem experienced when retaining a large law firm. Bigger and more expensive does not mean better. It’s best to retain a boutique immigration firm that handles manageable case loads.

Attorneys with membership in the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Although membership by itself does not ensure quality, an immigration attorney who is not a member of AILA lacks essential resources that no immigration attorney should be without, such as case assistance with AILA’s Liaison Department.

Licensure. Be sure that the attorneys are licensed. There are consultants who offer legal services to the unsuspecting public in violation of the law. Only a licensed attorney is lawfully permitted to provide legal advice. A consultant is only permitted to fill forms, and not assess the quality of documentation, or present legal arguments in support of your eligibility for immigration benefits. Also, unlike a consultant, an attorney is accountable to the state bar, and has a lot more to lose by being dishonest and providing false hopes

Attorneys that stay current. The attorneys at the law firm should stay on top of current developments in immigration law. For example, on June 1, 2008, the DOL changed processing from Chicago to Atlanta for PERM labor certifications. After this change took place, if an employer sponsoring a worker for a green card placed an internal notice prompting the reader to send information to the Chicago DOL address instead of Atlanta , and the DOL audited the labor certification case, there is a chance that the DOL would deny the case just for this seemingly small oversight. Staying current matters.

 

A Passion for Immigration Law

passion for immigration law is rooted in his own immigration story. Paul was born in Ecuador and later became a naturalized citizen of the United States. “My parents believed that the best chance we had for a better life was to immigrate to the United States. We wanted a chance to live the ‘American Dream’ that we had heard so much about. Therefore, my family settled in New York and we assimilated quickly. However, as assimilated as we were, we were still living unlawfully in this country. My father knew that the key to our survival was to obtain lawful status that would allow us to live freely in this country. Through an employment sponsorship, my father was able to obtain permanent resident status for our family. I knew at that moment that our life had changed because becoming a permanent resident of the United States would open so many different opportunities for my family. There and then I knew that I wanted to help other immigrants achieve the ‘American Dream’ that I was blessed to have been given.”

From that point, every educational step that Paul took was with the motivation to become someone who could help others achieve their “American Dream” as he and his family had achieved theirs. Attending SUNY Oneonta, Paul was a political science and Spanish major. He was frequently on the Dean’s List, a member of the pre-law society and President of the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon. “I knew that my ultimate journey would be law school.”

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Paul decided to help run his family owned business, Alvarez Cleaning Service, Inc. To date, he has served as an owner, manager, and bookkeeper for the company. In 2016 he was awarded Business Person of the Year by the Pleasantville Chamber of Commerce. While still working for his family business, Paul also applied for and was offered a paralegal position at Julie Mullaney Attorney at Law, a small law firm in Westchester, focusing on immigration law. “It was great experience. I was able to see what an immigration attorney did from A to Z, ranging from larger issues to day-to-day issues. And, most importantly, it re-solidified my desire to attend law school and become an immigration attorney.”

As for choosing Pace Law – “it just made sense,” and had everything Paul was looking for – from location in Westchester, but close to New York City to a top-notch immigration law program featuring practical and classroom learning. While at Pace, Paul immersed himself in as much as he was able. “I was a member of the Pace Law Advocacy Honor Board as the Director of Internal Competitions; I participated in every oral advocacy competition that I was able – from immigration, to criminal law, to sports arbitration. I was the president and one of the founding members of the Immigration Law Student Organization, Vice-President of the Public Interest Law Student Organization and the Vice President of the Latin American Law Students Association, a representative for BARBRI, and Admissions Ambassador and Mentor, part of the Faculty-Student band, and player on the Pace intramural soccer team. I looked at every opportunity as a way to broaden my perspective and meet new people. And, I was fortunate to have so many opportunities.”

Significantly, while Paul was at Pace he was a student attorney with the Pace Criminal Justice Clinic and the Pace Immigration Justice Clinic. He gained practical, hands-on, real-life, attorney experience through both of these opportunities. “I was doing things in these Clinics that most law students experience for the first time only as admitted attorneys. It was fascinating.” His three most influential professors in law school were Vanessa Merton, David Dorfman and Lou Fasulo because each one of them taught him so many important lessons on becoming a zealous attorney that he will carry on for the rest of his career.

 

Benefits of Hiring an Immigration Lawyer to Represent You

As anyone that’s gone through the process will tell you, navigating any area of immigration law is not an endeavor you’d want to go through alone. There is an extensive paperwork process that goes along with immigration that even natural-born U.S. citizens would struggle with, let alone immigrants from other countries for whom English is not their first language.

A Good Immigration Lawyer Avoids Mistakes

Filing the correct paperwork is an important part of the processes of acquiring a visa, getting a loved on residence in the United States, and finalizing your marriage to an immigrant, among other procedures. This paperwork is usually extensive and complicated, and without the help of an expert, there are lots of opportunities to make mistakes that sink your entire application permanently

They Are Seasoned by Experience

One of the most important benefits that hiring an immigration lawyer can offer is less tangible than the others. The help of an expert that has experience making immigrants’ dreams into realities cannot be understated

Immigration Attorneys Can Maneuver the Permits and Regulations

A good immigration lawyer is an expert on all the procedural maneuvers necessary to get you where you want to be. Whether that’s obtaining work permit in the United States, acquiring permanent residency or full U.S. citizenship, an expert immigration attorney is a veritable expert on what you need to make that happen

They Can Explain Your Options to You

No matter what you’re situation is, you have options. Your expert immigration attorney can lay out these options in front of you, making sure you understand the full scope of your circumstances. Whether you’re facing deportation or something else, your situation is likely very sensitive, and urgent. Isn’t it important that you understand those options that you can take moving forward?

Create More Space With A Residential Electrical Remodel Project

The Voltage Range in Your Home

It’s easy to get confused when we talk about the voltage range that a home electrical system supplies to our devices. For a long time, most people called the power from your home outlet “110 volts.” Similarly, “220 volts” was used for larger household appliances like electric ranges and clothes dryers. These designations for home AC power are actually out-of-date. They don’t accurately describe the voltage range that comes into your home from the electric utility. So, why the confusion?

These days, almost every residential customer can get 120 volts from their wall outlet. However, power is typically delivered into your home at a nominal voltage of 240 volts. Inside the transformer on the utility pole, the power is divided into a split phase system, with each line having a nominal voltage of 120 volts. Nominal voltage is the voltage that the line is designed for; however, in the real-world, the tolerance for voltage fluctuations is −5% to +5%. This leads to an actual voltage range of anywhere from 114V to 126V from your outlet and a voltage range of 228V to 252V for your full-phase appliances. Now, you might look at these voltage ranges and think that a difference that large could potentially pose a hazard to you or your electric devices. However, I can assure you that this is completely normal and is taken into consideration when the circuits are designed.

We talked briefly about the 240 volts that is supplied to your home from the power company. At the transformer, the single phase power from the utility company is split into 3 wires: 2 line wires and a ground. This is known as a single-phase three-wire or split-phase system. Normally, your lamps and other 120V devices are connected between one line wire and the grounded center, while electric stoves, dryers, and other appliances are connected to both line wires and the ground. This way, each half can balance the other when electrical loads increase. Our Quick 220® voltage converter combines these halves and produces a convenient outlet with a voltage range of 228V to 252V without the need to call an expensive electrical contractor.

 

Capacity of Main Disconnect

Most modern panels have a single main disconnect. Often times this disconnect is labeled as the “main”. The capacity of the disconnect is labeled directly on the disconnect. It will typically indicate “100A”, “150A”, or “200A”.

As you can see from the above, if you were to see that a panel is rated at 150 amperes maximum, and it is equipped with a 150 ampere main disconnect and it is fed by a 150 ampere cable, you can conclude that the service is of 150 amperes capacity.

There are instances when the three determining factors are not equal. For example, if a 100 ampere capacity cable is feeding a 150 ampere capacity panel with a 150 ampere capacity disconnect, the service would technically be considered a 100 ampere capacity service. The cable would be the limiting factor. In addition, this would be an unsafe condition since the cable would not be of great enough capacity to withstand the potential for 150 amperes of current that would be permitted by the panel and disconnect. The cable would be considered as undersized and replacement with an appropriately sized cable would be recommended for safety reasons. To the contrary, a 150 ampere cable feeding a 100 ampere capacity panel and disconnect would be considered a 100 ampere capacity service and it would also be considered safe (the cable can be oversized but it cannot be undersized).

 

HOW TO DETERMINE SIZE FOR A HOME ELECTRICAL SERVICE

When replacing an old electrical service entrance or designing an installation for a new home, one must be aware of current and future energy needs. Think about the myriad of kitchen appliances we take for granted today that hadn’t been imagined a few decades ago. Who would have thought spas and hot tubs would be common luxuries for many? Most RV’s require 50 amp 240 volt circuits to adequately power their needs. Where will you be plugging in your car in future years? Home electrical services must be sized to meet these demands. It is recommended that no residence be served with less than a 100 amp rated service entrance. This becomes a requirement when the load exceeds 10,000 watts or has 6 or more 2-wire branch circuits. Service size requirements vary according to area, so we recommend that a careful check be made before installing a minimum-sized service. Standard-sized services for residential applications are 100, 200, or 400 amps. The general rules of thumb for determining service sizes are:

  • 100 amps will service a range, water heater, general lighting, and receptacle outlets. Usually recommended for workshops, vacation cabins and larger pump systems. This amount of ampacity is really too small for a residence unless gas heat and appliances are used.
  • 200 amps will take care of range, dryer, water heater, general lighting and receptacles, and a considerable amount of electric heat, while the…
  • 400 amp services are designed for use in larger homes that require over 20kW (20,000 watts) of electric heat plus all the aforementioned items.

We have drawn out a chart to help you determine your service requirements. It is based on Articles 220 of the 2005 National Electrical Code. The chart is very liberal in that it uses a 100% demand factor on all of the heat load as well as on some of the appliances that might otherwise be figured at a lesser amperage. Minimum service size can be found by adding up the total wattage that will be used, counting the first 10 kW at 100%, and using a 40% demand factor on all the rest. Once the calculated demand is determined in terms of wattage, divide that by 240 volts to convert it into amps. This would be your required service size. Pick from the standard services the one that is just above your amperage requirement.

 

Service Switch

A disconnecting means or “disconnect switch” must be provided in the service entrance to disconnect all the wiring in the building from the electrical power supply. This may be accomplished with a separate switch called a service switch or main disconnect. Many years ago it was common to install a separate switch next to the fuse box to shut the power off. In modern residences, the service switch is actually the main breaker housed inside the breaker box which shuts off power to all the other breakers in the box.

The size of the service switch or main breaker depends on the electrical load served. Service switches come in standard sizes of 30, 60, 100, 150, 200, 400 and larger. The National Electrical Code requires a minimum 100-amp service size for all residences, although many newer houses typically use a 150 amp or larger service.

 

Fuse Box vs. Circuit Breaker Panel

In most homes, the main service panel uses circuit breakers that control and protect the individual circuits. Circuit breakers are specially designed safety switches that prevent individual branch circuits from drawing more power than the circuit wires can safely handle. Virtually all homes built since the early 1960s use circuit breakers as the power distribution method. Older homes also have circuit breaker panels if their electrical service was updated after 1960.

Where an electrical service was installed before the early 1960s and has not been updated, it may use a different style of power distribution—a fuse panel, which protects individual circuits with screw-in or cartridge fuses.

The use of fuse panels and circuit breaker panels for residential wiring follows a historical pattern:

  • 30-amp fuse panel: Installed before 1950, these service panels provide only 120-volt current. Such a service provides insufficient power for modern usage and generally needs to be updated.
  • 60-amp fuse panel: Installed from 1950 to about 1965, 60-amp fuse panels provide 240-volts of power, but are still insufficient for most homes. An update is usually needed.
  • Circuit breaker panel: Since the early 1960s, homes have generally been wired with circuit breaker panels that provide 240-volt current. Early services may provide 60-amps of power, while large houses built today may have 200 amps or more of power. Homes with 60-amp or 100-amp service often require an electrical service update during major remodeling or expansion projects.

Understanding The Dynamic Nature Of House Cleaning

HOUSE CLEANING IS MORE PROFITABLE THAN YOU THOUGHT

Starting your own business will be an amazing way to take control of your life, boost your income and find an occupation which will allow you to support yourself and your family on your own terms. A house cleaning business may be an excellent example of a potentially lucrative, extremely useful business that’s not difficult to get started and has a huge opportunity for growth. Benefits of Owning a Housecleaning Business

Every business has its own advantages. If you’re considering opening a house cleaning business, you must consider potential advantages as compared to the effort required to confirm you make the choice that’s best for you and your family.

  • A house cleaning business doesn’t need many workers. In fact, you’ll be able to start your business completely on your own. Later, once your client base grows or once the homes you’re asked to clean become more difficult, you can consider hiring a lot of people.
  • Because you’re on top of things of your hours and therefore the amount of labor you accept, you’re able to customize the business to fit your lifestyle. this implies that if you wish to only work while your kids are at school, you have this feature.
  • House cleaning is an extremely in-demand service each for people who simply need the occasional help and for those who can need regular house cleaning services.
  • You’ll be able to customize your services using your own abilities to form yourself stand out from different house cleaning services. Not only will this appeal to customers, however it makes the business a lot of interesting and fulfilling.
  • Because house cleaning needs little preparation and no necessary licensing, you’ll be able to begin a small house cleaning business quickly and easily to immediately speak to an income loss or gap.

 

Winning Potential

A house cleaning business can be an incredible method to create pay. There are a few roads that can be taken to amplify benefits and increment your client base.

The house cleaning needs of your customers can go from a one-time requirement for unique occasion or regular cleaning to a customary relationship requiring a few cleanings per month. Filling your calendar with both guarantees predictable work and, consequently, salary.

Offering particular administrations, for example, concoction free cleaning, aroma free cleaning or full range administrations including dishes and clothing can engage a more extensive scope of clients, expanding your business opportunity.

 

 

What to Know Before You Hire a Housekeeper

Finally hiring a housekeeper can bring such a sense of relief, but only if you’ve done your homework. It’s important to find someone who is trustworthy, particularly if they will be cleaning your home while you’re at work or running errands, and will take their time to do the job properly. Ask around for referrals and consider the ins and outs of using a sole proprietor or hiring a larger cleaning company before you commit to a housekeeper.

Independent Workers vs. Cleaning Companies

A number of housekeepers work as sole proprietors of their own business, but you might be more comfortable with a larger cleaning company that hires their own employees. There are pros and cons to both: A benefit to hiring a cleaning company is that they are responsible for screening the employees to ensure that a background check comes up clean. On the other hand, if you want the same person cleaning your house every week, you should choose a sole proprietor—turnover tends to be higher with cleaning companies, and they might send someone different each time.

Find a Referral

The best place to start looking for a great housekeeper is to ask your family and friends if they have a company or person that they use and love. One of the great things about using a cleaning service is that they have multiple people who might work out well for your needs. A lot of services will allow you to try out different housekeepers until you find one that is perfect for your needs.

Interview Candidates

Take some time to come up with real questions, and make sure that you’re thorough with the interview. Ask questions about what they enjoy about their work. Why did they choose housekeeping as a line of work? Check references, work history, and criminal history. A lot of services will do these things in advance, but be thorough and check out the results.

Decide on a flat fee or an hourly fee

When considering hiring a housekeeper, one of the things that you might have to decide is if you’re going to pay by the hour or pay a flat fee, though the housekeeper or company might have their own non-negotiable policies.

 

 

7 Steps to Cleaning Business Success!

If you’ve already opened your cleaning business and bought your house cleaning insurance, you’ve taken a huge step forward and that deserves a big thumbs up. But now, you might be wondering how to make your business grow to become a success in the industry. Your potential clients have plenty of house cleaners to choose from, so you want to make your business stand out from the rest! Here we’ll look at a few tips to help your house cleaning business flourish.

  1. Offer Personalized Service and Fair Prices

Spend some time giving free estimates. This will help you see a potential client’s home to work out how much time it will take to clean. Don’t charge the same price for a large house and for a small apartment. Clients will go running to a cleaner they believe is giving them a fair deal. Sit with the client to find out what they want. According to surveys, customer experience with a company has a huge impact on how likely they are to be repeat customers, and that holds true for you, too. Sitting with your clients to understand what is important to them gives them this personalized service and shows that you care about them and their needs, allowing you to develop a pricing plan that is fair to them and worthwhile for you. And when you need to raise your prices? They’re more likely to understand.

  1. Manage Your Time Carefully

To be a success, you need to fill up your schedule. Working on your time management will benefit both you and the customer, as expectations are clear and match reality. Schedule your jobs in a way that allows you to fit more than one job in each day. Slots starting around 10am won’t leave you enough time for an afternoon customer as well. On the other hand, starting at 8am will allow you to finish by lunchtime and go to another customer afterwards–or even take some much needed time off. It also means that your customer won’t have to have their entire day blocked off. Always be on time and efficient to keep to your schedule and keep your customers satisfied.

  1. Find Your Niche

In a crowded market, it can be difficult to make a place for yourself. Spend some time looking online at reviews and social media to see what clients wants and what competitors are offering. Then, create a niche for yourself. Perhaps you guarantee all of your products will be environmentally friendly. You might be able to offer flexible scheduling, such as evening or weekend time slots. Perhaps you work more on marketing with a weekly newsletter or blog posts with free cleaning tips, introductions to your cleaning staff, and product reviews. Having a niche will give you a unique place in the market.

  1. Use Quality Products

Cheap products may save you money to begin with, but using more expensive quality products will help you attract a unique clientele that will benefit your business in the long-run. Using non-toxic and ecologically friendly products is better for the furniture and doesn’t leave any irritating fumes or smells around the home. These safe and healthy alternatives are better for both your cleaner and the client. Keep learning about new products through suppliers, from industry publications or from trade organizations to stay on top of your game.

  1. Treat Your Employees Well

Your employees are key to the success of your business. To offer a cleaning service that stands out, you need to attract the best and most professional cleaners. Some ways to encourage your employees to stay with you include:

  • Spend time on training; show them how to clean windows, scrub a sink and more
  • Don’t micromanage – show trust and respect once you’ve trained them
  • Offer perks such as paid sick or vacation time to employees have shown their loyalty
  • Provide bonuses for quality work
  1. Spend Time on Marketing

Don’t become complacent once you have a solid client base. You need to spend time on marketing to ensure you always have new clients. There are many ways to advertise your business to the right markets. These include:

  • Networking – Networking may not cost money up-front, but it can lead to business opportunities immediately or down the line. Let people know what you do.
  • Contact real estate agencies or home builders – Make contact with companies who might refer you to others. This gets you right out in front of the competition with a potential client before they are even in their home.
  • Advertise around the community – This is a great way to find local jobs. Put up flyers, pay for ads in local brochures or magazines and get your name out at local community events. This will help you build brand recognition.
  1. Focus on the Business Aspect

Building a successful house cleaning business is not easy, in terms of the cleaning itself or the business aspect. Businesses need to be run professionally to be successful. For your house cleaning business to grow and expand, you need to take care of much more than just cleaning. Make sure you have a business plan in place, that you’re filing taxes as you need to and that you have the insurance you need to grow and thrive.

 

Price Your Cleaning Services for Profit

  1. Let’s talk numbers.

Most cleaning companies base their prices on the market average. They simply look at what their competitors are charging… and charge less.

DON’T DO THIS.

You’ll end up working for pennies – or robbing yourself blind. Your prices need to be based on two things:

What are Your Overheads?

Before you put a dollar-value on your services, you need to figure out what it costs to run your business.

  • Cost of supplies
  • Employee wages
  • Drive time and Fuel

Always factor in your employees – even if you don’t have any. This will help you when you grow.

Also, it’s a good idea to remind yourself that you are an employee of your business. Even the CEO of Amazon is an employee of his own business.

Example: Let’s say you have 2 employees ($22 per hour), with 15 minutes of drive time ($3 to get to the property) and your supplies amount to $3 per hour.

That means you need to charge at least $28 per hour… just to break even!

Why Do Mosquitoes Love Human Blood

How Not to Kill Mosquitoes

First, you need to understand the difference between repelling mosquitoes and killing them. Repellents make a location (like your yard or skin) less attractive to mosquitoes, but don’t kill them. So, citronella, DEET, smoke, lemon eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil might keep the insects at bay, but won’t control them or get rid of them in the long run. Repellents vary in effectiveness, too. For example, while citronella may deter mosquitoes from entering a small, enclosed area, it doesn’t really work in a wide open space (like your back yard).

There are a host of methods that actually do kill mosquitoes, but aren’t great solutions. A classic example is a bug zapper, which kills only a few mosquitoes, yet attracts and kills beneficial insects that keep the mozzy population down. Similarly, spraying pesticides is not an ideal solution because mosquitoes can become resistant to them, other animals get poisoned, and the toxins can cause lasting environmental damage.

 

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes Inside the House

  • If you live in an area with many mosquitoes, you should use mosquito netting to protect infants less than two months old.
  • Wear clothing from head to toe if possible, as limiting skin exposure will lower the chances of mosquito bites.
  • Avoid wearing black or other dark colors, especially in warm weather, as they keep your body warm. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm bodies, and that’s not a recipe for bite-free success.
  • Avoid wearing perfumes, as mosquitoes are attracted to the scent mixed with our body sweat.
  • Use weather-stripping products to seal any door gaps. Protecting your home entry is an important step to reduce the access mosquitoes have inside.
  • Eat more garlic. If you consume a lot of it, your sweat will smell like garlic. The smell deters mosquitoes and keeps them away naturally.
  • Try using silicone caulk or screen patches to prevent mosquitoes from entering the house. Make sure that no screens have holes or tears. Turn on fans because they can break up carbon dioxide and throw mosquitoes off course.

 

How I Tested The Dish Soap Mosquito Killing Home Remedy

Using my kitchen area as a test center, (to my wife’s dismay but it was her idea), I placed a small saucer on our stove each night. The saucer was filled with water and two to three small squirts of dish soap. I did not stir or aggregate the soap in the water. I simply squirted it in and left it.

I made sure the overhead light on our vent-a-hood was left on over the stove. Although evidence of light attracting mosquitoes has been mostly debunked, it does help them to navigate. I wanted to make sure they could see the saucer of water. All the other lights in the house were turned off.

I also made sure that the sinks in the kitchen were empty and dry. I did not want to offer alternative water areas. By the same token, toilet lids were closed and bathroom doors were shut.

And so, I have a controlled test center. Let the battles begin!

 

Mosquito Predators

Mosquito Predators – what eats mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes have a number of predators that collectively can exert some influence on reducing mosquito populations. However, with a very few exceptions, predators generally have little effect on reducing the mosquito population over a large area. So, what are some animals that are mosquito predators?

Bats

While bats eat mosquitoes, they are far more effective at locating, catching and eating insects other than mosquitoes.

Birds

Many birds will eat mosquitoes. The more important among these are purple martins, swallows, waterfowl (geese, terns, ducks) and migratory songbirds. Bird predators usually eat both the adult and aquatic stages of mosquitoes.

Fish

Goldfish, guppies, bass, bluegill and catfish prey on mosquito larvae. But the most important fish predator, by far, is the Gambusia affinis, commonly known as the mosquito fish. This is probably the most effective predator of mosquito larvae and is used by many mosquito control agencies to augment their control efforts.

Frogs and Tadpoles

Most adult frogs and tadpoles do not include mosquitoes as a large part of their diet. Tadpoles infrequently feed on mosquito larvae and instead generally feed on small, suspended particles of plant-related materials. However, mosquito larvae predation is known for three species of North American tadpoles – the spade foot toad, green tree frog and giant tree frog. While not a direct act of predation, tadpoles may compete with mosquito larvae for food.

Turtles

The red-eared slider turtle is generally thought to be the most voracious turtle that feeds on mosquito larvae.

 

Plants And Animals That Cut Down On Mosquitoes

Of all the pests and bugs that can invade your yard, mosquitoes can be some of the most annoying, especially during the warm summer months. When spending time by the pool or lounging outside for a barbecue, nothing can ruin it more quickly than the constant buzzing, bites, and irritation that mosquitoes bring.

Finding a way to lower the numbers of these pests can be pretty difficult. While several chemicals and sprays have been developed to kill mosquitoes and halt their reproduction, natural solutions also exist. For the best protection, smart homeowners can use natural predators and plant-based deterrents to reduce the mosquito population in their yards without resorting to chemicals.

Here are some of the plants and animals that can help cut down your mosquito problem:

  1. Marigolds

Beyond their beautiful and vibrant coloration, the scent that marigolds release make them a great natural mosquito deterrent. They’re also known to keep away other insects that can damage your other plants, making them especially helpful for gardeners or people who like to grow some of their own food.

Plant some marigolds in your yard, either from a starter plant or from a seed, and start solving your mosquito problem and beautifying your home simultaneously.

  1. Citronella

While largely produced in Asia, the citronella plant is a well-known mosquito solution among southern homeowners. This clumping grass emits a strong scent that’s quite effective for mosquito and other insect control, and its natural properties have made it a common ingredient found in several insect repellants.

The herb has also been used in many other ways, such as a perfume or as a way to calm barking dogs. It has even had success as a spray to keep pests from destroying furniture and other household valuables, meaning that homeowners that invest in citronella plants for mosquito protection may be able to glean several additional benefits.

Citronella can be planted in a large pot, or used as an ingredient in candles or torches.

  1. Catnip

While, as the name implies, catnip is more widely-known for its effect on cats, it nevertheless serves as a potent mosquito repellant. A close relative to the mint plant, catnip, like citronella and marigolds, releases a scent that mosquitoes can’t stand, deterring them from approaching.

Unfortunately, catnip only works well as a repellant if the mosquitoes are in close proximity to the plant, meaning that you probably won’t be able to protect your entire yard with just this plant. However, the oil in catnip can work wonders when applied to the skin, acting as a natural bug spray. Catnip is also very easy to grow and maintain, making it easy to keep a steady supply.

Just remember how intense the effect of catnip is on cats, and how powerfully they are attracted to it. You don’t want to replace one pest with another in the form of unwanted felines on your property.

  1. Dragonflies

Why not use a helpful insect to fight a harmful one? In the realm of animals that help maintain mosquitoes, dragonflies are among the most unique. Dragonflies consume a lot of mosquitoes, but sometimes even with the large amount they ingest, they may not seem to to have a significant impact on the problem.

However, their real strength is less in stopping an existing mosquito infestation and more in preventing them in the future. Dragonflies do consume adult mosquitoes, but they have a much greater impact on mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes lay eggs in bodies of standing water, which dragonflies will happily eat up before they have a chance to grow into adults.

Some Tips To Choose A Veterinarian

The Best Vet for Your Pet

As a pet owner, developing a trusting relationship with your veterinarian is an integral aspect of your dog or cat’s health. Just as we put a great deal of thought into choosing our own doctor, we want to have a competent and knowledgeable person whom we trust to care for our pets. Whether starting from scratch and adopting a new pet or simply moving to a new city or state, there comes a point when every pet owner has to choose a veterinarian. For some people, finding the perfect vet is as simple as searching the internet for the nearest office. For others, there are more factors to consider: the veterinarian, the support staff, cost of services and the location of the veterinary office, to name a few.

It’s up to you to weigh all the factors and decide which are most important to you. Perhaps you have a cat or dog who does not tolerate long car rides; therefore, finding a veterinary office that is close to home might take precedence. Many owners will be willing to travel a little farther for a veterinarian they like and trust will make good decisions for their pet. The friendliness of the staff and comfort level of the office are also important considerations. While it’s true that most pets don’t love going to see the veterinarian, you want to make sure to give your pet the most pleasant experience possible.

So how do you choose? Word of mouth is probably your best bet. Having a trusted friend or even an acquaintance that already has an established relationship with a veterinarian can go a long way. If you’re new to the area, visit a local dog park or pet store and ask other owners where they take their pets. You could end up with a great recommendation. If you’re moving, don’t feel shy about asking your current veterinary office for suggestions for a new clinic. I have had clients do this, and, quite often, I have old classmates in the area to whom I can refer them. At the very least, I can come up with a referral through another veterinarian friend.

What to Look for in a Veterinary Clinic

An ideal veterinary office should be clean, well-organized and comfortable. Every clinic has their share of hectic days, but, overall, the staff should conduct themselves in a friendly, helpful and professional manner. They should be attentive and willing to answer your questions and/or accommodate your pet’s needs

Evaluating a New Veterinarian

When evaluating a new veterinary clinic for the first time, take your pet in for a wellness exam, if possible. Assessing a new veterinary office can be much more difficult when dealing with the emotional stress of having a sick pet. Make sure to go prepared with your pet’s medical records, including a full history of his or her vaccinations and a summary of any past health issues. Most clinics, breeders or adoption agencies should be able to provide you with your pet’s pertinent history upon request. The more information you supply for your new veterinarian, the better equipped he or she will be to give recommendations regarding the best care for your pet.

 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Veterinarian

As pet parents, we take great joy in picking out the perfect collar and matching leash, the most comfy bed, and cutest dishes we can find for our pets. It goes without saying, taking the time to choose your pet’s veterinarian is one of the most important things you can do for your pet

What is their philosophy? Does it coincide with mine?

We believe that pets are truly a part of the family dynamic, and that the human animal bond is important. At The Drake Center, we aim to ensure that every human and animal who walks through our doors receives a one-of-a-kind veterinary experience. This unique level of service is based on a dedication to quality patient care called The Drake Center Difference.

How do the veterinarians and staff treat you and your pet? How many doctors are at the practice?

If you’re in the market for a place to take your pets for their medical needs, we encourage you to come in for a “happy visit” and simply meet our amazing staff.

Vet techs and assistants: Do they seem knowledgeable about and sensitive to animals?

We pride ourselves in staffing amazing vet techs, tech assistants, and receptionists. Many have been working at The Drake Center for over 15 years and have a genuine passion for animals. In addition, we strive to make you feel like you are a part of our family from the moment you walk in the door.

Is your veterinary hospital accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

Did you know that only 12% of veterinary practices are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association? AAHA holds animal hospitals to the highest level of care, requiring they pass a 900 point inspection.

 

How To Pick The Best Vet

I once got in a fight with a veterinarian while my dog, Sereno, lay in agony on an exam table. He had “bloated”—his stomach had twisted and filled with air. It was a deadly problem I’d seen many times as a vet tech, and I knew that if we didn’t release some of the air with a stomach tube or get him into surgery pronto, he was going to die.

I was on vacation in rural West Virginia and had just driven 45 miles at top speed looking for a vet. This was the first clinic I saw: tiny, with a broken screen door and a hand-painted sign that said veterinarian. Sereno looked like he’d swallowed a beach ball, and when I tapped his stomach, it made the telltale pinging sound of a bloated dog. But the vet suggested a blood test to rule out kidney failure. I asked her to take an X-ray. She did—I saw what looked like unequivocal bloat on the film, but she wasn’t sure.

That’s when I lost it. I’d helped pump countless dogs’ stomachs as a tech—it’s tricky and takes more than one person, but at that point I was desperate. “Can I just have a stomach tube?” I snapped. “I’ll do it myself.”

First, I asked myself, What do all good vets I know have in common? They didn’t stop learning after vet school—they did internships and took continuing education classes. Most work at clinics accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). So I searched online for AAHA hospitals. I visited each clinic’s website to look at its vets’ educational backgrounds: Multiple internships got bonus points; so did residencies. I also looked for the abbreviation ABVP after the vets’ names, because it means they did extra work to be certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. That narrowed my list of clinics from 170 to 3. Only then did I check what is often people’s first criterion: location.

I made appointments with each clinic, starting with the closest one. I planned to try all three. But then I walked into the first clinic and told the vet—as I always do—that I’m a pain because I’m a former vet tech who asks a lot of questions. He laughed, then spent 45 minutes examining my dogs and talking with me. He referred me to a board-certified dermatologist for my young dog’s allergies and mentioned a new treatment he wanted to try for a problem my older dog’s had for years. I went home and canceled my other appointments.

 

Choosing a vet

How do vet practices work?

Some veterinary practices operate with just one veterinary surgeon and one member of staff. Others may have 15 of more vets with a similar number of nursing and support staff.

Practices may operate on more than one site – the main practice being supported by 3 or more branch surgeries. The branch surgeries may have limited on-site facilities and equipment, but they allow you to see a vet without having to travel long distances.

Facilities do vary between practices. Some may have extensive equipment and facilities on-site, while others contract some services out to specialist firms or labs. Similarly, veterinary surgeons may refer unusual or complicated cases to veterinary surgeons who specialise in a particular species or discipline.

What is 24-hour cover?

Whatever the size of the premises, veterinary surgeons have to make sure that 24-hour emergency cover is available for their clients every day of the week.

They can do this in several ways; a practice may provide this themselves, or some practices get together locally to provide this service, which may mean that you have to travel to a different practice in a emergency

 

How to Choose a Good Vet

Veterinary care is mandatory in your pet’s life. Whether it’s a cat, a dog, a parrot, rabbit, or an iguana. From the moment a new family member of any species arrives home, we should give them all the conditions they need to live happily beside us. Periodic visits to the vet are one of the key points of any animal’s health.

Each species requires specific care that can include de-worming, vaccinations or only periodic visits as preventative measures to ensure that all is well. Many carers only take their pet to the vet when the animal becomes sick. Don’t make this mistake. Even before adopting an animal you should look for a veterinarian

Legalization of the clinic

This is undoubtedly point number 1. Unfortunately, there are many ‘fake vets”and clinics that are not legalized. The role of Justice is to detect these cases of fraud but all carers should be aware and conscious that these cases exist and may be closer than you think.

Only a veterinary doctor that has had the required training and practice needed can perform medical acts with animals. Don’t take your dog to be vaccinated by the worker of the Pet shop, nor to your neighbor to get “cheap shots”. Cheap ends up being expensive and your animal’s health is priceless!

Location

The question of the location of the clinic or veterinary hospital is relative. Ideally, a clinic near your home is the most indicated to avoid the stress of travelling with the animal and the time it takes to get to the clinic in case of emergency. However, driving a few extra miles may be worth it to receive better services. You will always have to assess the pros and cons.

Factors Influencing Bathroom Remodelling

Picking Materials for a Bath Remodel

Before you shop for vanities and choose the material for your countertops, make sure you have a well-thought-out plan for your bathroom renovation. You should identify goals and priorities, with the help of your completed Day in the Life of Your Bathroom Questionnaire and Bathroom Goals Worksheet. You also should have a clear vision of what your new bathroom will look like, after exploring various bathroom designs and layouts.

Now it’s time to drill down to the details of your bathroom remodel. It’s best to choose all of the fixtures, materials and finishes down to the hardware before the project begins. That way, you will have a truly realistic idea of how much the project will cost.(Allowances can quickly get out of hand.)

As you choose among fixtures and materials, visit specialty design showrooms for plumbing, lighting, flooring, cabinets, etc. You’ll get a real feel for what’s available in the market, and you can talk to the professionals who work there about your ideas and what products will achieve your goals.

Choosing Bathroom Flooring

Tile is the surface of choice in the bathroom—natural stone or porcelains and ceramic that mimic natural stone. Floor tile is larger—12×12 or 18×18 inches—and color schemes are neutral. “Rather than putting a lot of color on the floor and drawing your eye down, we’re incorporating subtle designs to complement the room,” says Rick Miller, president, Miller’s Fancy Bath & Kitchen, Louisville, Ky. In general, Miller likes to keep contrast at countertop level, at the sight line.

Ceramic tile floors are designed with more texture than ceramic wall tile to prevent slippage. Honed natural stone will also provide traction when floors get wet—that’s when the surface is ground flat but not polished. Natural stone also can be sandblasted.

 

Choosing a Contractor for a Bathroom Remodel

Ask for Referrals

Word of mouth — hands down, it’s the best way to find a qualified professional to tackle the job. Ask relatives, friends and neighbors whom they have had good experiences with. Also ask what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether he or she would use the same contractor again.

Look at Credentials

With recommendations in hand, do some preliminary research, whether that’s with a phone call or a visit to the contractor’s website. Find out whether he or she holds all the required licenses from the state and local municipalities, as well as designations from any professional associations like the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) or the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Look for contractors who have invested in coursework and passed rigorous tests in order to earn a particular certification. Be aware, however, that all certifications are not created equal. “I would find out what the certification is and what it took to get it,” says Sara Ann Busby, NKBA president-elect and owner of Sara Busby Designs in Elk Rapids, Mich.

Interview Candidates

Narrow down the list of contenders, and set up meetings. What is the magic number of contractors to interview? “Ultimately, the right amount could be one,” says Al Pattison, past president of NKBA, but he recommends talking with no more than three. “With too many quotes, it gets too confusing trying to make a decision.” NARI offers a list of questions to ask potential contractors on its website.

Check References

Once rapport has been established, ask to see some of the contractor’s projects. If they meet with approval, request references and then actually call the contractor’s former customers to check up on them. Ask how the contractor did at executing the project. Was it on-time and on-budget? Were they pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently?

Get it in Writing

After zeroing in on one contractor who seems right for the job, take a look at the documents he or she has prepared. Do they look professional? Scrutinize the contract. Does it seem fair and balanced?

 

Tips for Hiring a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Remodeling a bathroom can be one of the most satisfying home improvement projects of all. Results are immediate and personal—a sparkling new shower or bathtub, a cheerful paint scheme, a bathroom vanity with a beautiful countertop, and more storage than ever. A high-quality bathroom remodel can also pay you back by boosting resale value. One way to ensure the best bathroom remodel is to hire a bathroom contractor with experience who can see your project through to its successful completion.

Interview Three or More Bathroom Contractors

When you speak to just one or two bathroom contractors, you gain only a limited set of viewpoints. If you go ahead and solicit bids from these contractors, the bids might be higher than expected. By increasing the number of contractors that you interview, it is easier to find the contractor who is the perfect fit for your job. Plus, you’ll have a greater range of bids to choose from.

Review the Contractor’s Previous Work

Bathroom contractors typically show up for the interview with a picture gallery of the previous bathroom remodels, either in a picture book or on a screen. You can also view the contractor’s portfolio on their website or on contractor-matching sites that they belong to. Aim to look past the pretty pictures and decide if this bathroom contractor does the type of work that is right for you.

Get Estimates in Writing

Verbal estimates are worth little—for either the homeowner or the bathroom contractor. Numbers get forgotten or misinterpreted or misheard, even if everyone has good intentions. Well-written estimates are understood by all. It is perfectly fine to ask a bathroom contractor for a verbal ballpark figure. Just understand that no one is being held to that figure, and that you should follow up with a written estimate of costs.

Pin Down the Schedule

Before signing the contract, be sure to clarify with the bathroom contractor the date that the remodel can start and the overall duration of the project. Scheduling matters both to you and to the contractor. When both of you are in agreement, then you can proceed with the contract. “Time is of the essence” is a familiar contract clause that defines the amount of time the contractor has to work on the project, along with a payment schedule by the homeowner.

 

MUST-KNOW BATHROOM REMODELING TIPS

Getting ready to start a new bathroom remodeling project? Is this your first time going through a home renovation? It’s an exciting chapter of your life and one that should be approached the right way. We compiled our favorite tips and tricks to help you learn the perfect balance between your creative customization needs and functional design ideas that can help you tie the whole bathroom together.

We all want a bathroom that would be a reflection of our personal style and be able to deliver the comfort we need at the same time. However, aside from that, it’s also important that it has the right fixtures and amenities that are capable of providing function and value as well. Fortunately, through careful planning, finding the right contractors, and choosing the right design, you can have it all.  Here are some of the best tips that could turn your bathroom remodeling dream into reality.

PLAN YOUR BATHROOM

Before you even call a remodeling company for your bathroom remodel, you should first talk with everyone who will be using the space. Try to have a discussion about the fixtures and finishes you are supposed to use and how much of a budget you’re willing to shell out. As you plan for your budget, it’s important to have a little extra, because you never know if there will be some unexpected problems that will increase the cost later on.

This planning would be very helpful and go a long way toward keeping with your bathroom renovation plan as you move along with the project. Once you start with the renovation, you have to know that the process could take around 30-90 days. No matter how long it is going to take, try to resist the temptation of changing your plans unless financial constraints or problems arise. Changing your plans can create more hidden expenses by delaying contractors, ordering new items, and pushing your end date out further and further

How to Design Your Bathroom?

A lot of homes usually have at least one bathroom with a sink, toilet, and bathtub. Then, there are optional extras, such as the shower, and in some cases, a bidet. An extra sink is also a popular choice for most people, especially in households where the bathroom is often used by more than one person.  A master bathroom should especially take into consideration the space required for two sinks, two vanities, and even two medicine cabinets

 

How To Choose a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

What is the biggest mistake people make when choosing a  contractor? Is the old saying is really true, you get what you pay for?! We see this so often in the home remodeling business. If you want quality construction, it’s important to learn how to choose a bathroom remodeling contractor because of the value you will receive, not simply because they have provided the lowest bid. It is impossible for any company in any industry to offer the cheapest price, have the highest quality, and provide the best service all at the same time. You can get high quality and superior service, but rarely will you get both and still get the lowest price. Keep reading to learn a few of the keys about how to choose a bathroom remodeling contractor

Quality

A contractor who always offers the lowest price tends to also offer the lowest quality. You’ve worked too hard and spent too much money on your home. Why throw it away for the few pennies you might save on a contractor? The result could be lower quality materials and or lower quality of service and expertise because of their cheaper price. This often costs you more money and is a false sense of savings

Service

Cheaper contractors can’t and don’t usually stand behind their work if there is a mistake. Sure, other home improvement contractors might do the same project for a little less money, but how will they treat you when there is a mistake? To give you the cheapest price, they usually have inexperienced, lower-wage employees that are not been adequately trained and cannot provide the best craftsmanship of their specific trade.

Is A Family Law Attorney Right For You

Tips For Choosing The Best Family Lawyer

How Do You Find The Best Family Lawyer

Choosing the best family lawyer during your divorce is very important, helping you reach the best outcome, understand the process and make the most appropriate decisions.

Not many people facing a marriage break-up have previous experience in legal matters of any kind, much less in the legal aspects of a divorce, so it can be difficult to know exactly how to go about finding the right person to guide you through the process.

Start Looking As Early As Possible

Deciding which lawyer you want to help you through this significant and often difficult life change is not something you want to do in a rush. As soon as you think you might need a family lawyer, start searching for one that suits your needs.

Ask Around or Check Reviews

Approach the search for the best family lawyer as you would the search for any other professional: ask friends and family members whether they know any lawyers that they can recommend.

Choose An Expert

Family law is complex and constantly changing, with new cases that can set precedents and change how judges respond to other cases in the future.

 

Family Law: Selecting a Good Lawyer

Your divorce or custody battle is as unique as your family’s circumstances. It’s important to find the right lawyer for your particular case. A good lawyer can help you navigate the murky waters of divorce and can help you feel confident about your decisions. By contrast, an ill-equipped or inexperienced lawyer may end up complicating your case. But what kind of lawyer should you hire and where do you start?

What Type of Legal Assistance Do I Need?

If you’re filing for divorce, it’s obvious that you’ll want to hire an attorney who’s experienced in family law rather than personal injury or probate matters. In other words, you’ll want someone who knows how to handle your divorce case and can speak from experience. Yet it’s still important to decide why you want to hire an attorney in the first place. Your reasons for hiring a lawyers will factor into the type of attorney that’s best equipped to handle your case

These are all very different reasons for wanting an attorney on your side, and a different type of attorney will fit each of these circumstances. Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for in an attorney, you’re ready to begin the search.

How Do I Narrow My Search?

While an online search engine or your local bar association are both great places to begin looking, you may need to do more research to find the right attorney for your case. Many online search tools will group attorneys by practice areas and location. Once you’ve found a family law attorney in your area, check out the prospective attorneys’ websites. Do you think the website is tasteful? Does the attorney look professional? It can also be helpful to ask around and see if anyone in your network knows a prospective divorce attorney.

Interviewing Potential Attorneys

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a handful of attorneys, you’ll want to meet with each lawyer in person. Be aware that some attorneys charge an initial consultation fee. You should bring relevant divorce paperwork and information to your first meeting with a lawyer. An attorney needs to understand your circumstances to make an accurate assessment of your case

 

TIPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT FAMILY LAWYER

Finding a family lawyer can be difficult because few people have experience with the legal process. Doing your homework will pay off in the long run when you find a lawyer that is the best fit for your family. Here’s some information to help you get started.

Be Realistic

Your attorney’s role is to represent you in a legal process, not be your therapist.

Stay Focused

Understand your goal, whether it’s divorce, division of property, or adopting a child. Focus on the goal and find a Calgary family lawyer who can help you achieve it.

Consider Your Options

Depending on your goal, there may be other options besides traditional litigation. Mediation and arbitration are a couple other options that are more private.

Identity Potential Lawyers

Ask for recommendations and go online to find a few potential Calgary divorce lawyers to consider.

 

How to Choose a Family Law Attorney

If you are getting a divorce or preparing for a custody hearing, then an experienced family law attorney can be an invaluable asset. Family law attorneys represent clients in court for a variety of reasons. They also draft legal documents, such as parenting plans, prenuptial agreements, and surrogacy contracts. If you need a family law attorney, then you should gather referrals and research the prospective attorneys before scheduling a consultation.

Ask friends or colleagues for recommendations. You should ask people you know if they have needed a family law attorney and if they would recommend their lawyer. Personal referrals are often the best way to get leads

Request a referral from another attorney. A lawyer who does not practice family law is another great source of referrals. He or she should be familiar with the reputations of lawyers in the local community and can point you in the direction of a lawyer who is sufficiently qualified to handle your case

Contact your state’s bar association. Many state bar associations run referral programs. You can search the referral programs for lawyers based on areas of expertise and location. In states where the bar association does not run a referral program, county-wide referral programs are often available

Look at websites. Most lawyers now have websites. You should find the website by doing a web search. For attorneys with common names, you should search “the name” and “lawyer” plus the county or city where the attorney practices

 

Tips on How To Choose the Right Family Lawyer

Family law matters can be some of the most stressful and emotional experiences we go through in our lives. This makes the task of choosing the right family lawyer one which demands careful thought and research.

According to the old adage, “you can’t choose your family.” You can however choose the lawyer or solicitors in family matters. In fact, your choice can determine how smoothly such proceedings can go and can be a critical factor in achieving a successful outcome.

Even for those who have experience in dealing with complex legal matters, family law can be a whole new kettle of fish. As someone who has gone through the family law ‘adventure’ I know what can happen.  For those who have thus far managed to avoid legal matters in their life may panic, hitting search engines with multiple “family law manchester,” or “solicitors newcastle,” or some such search that sees them often too stressed to even capitalise their searches.

Finding the right family lawyer can be a nightmare due to the emotion of what is being dealt with quite apart from sifting through legal profiles and information about ‘great’ family lawyers. When looking for the right firm, patience is truly a virtue. It may also save the hassle of making a rash decision in a panic.

Know exactly what you are looking for: Why do you need a family lawyer? Are you getting a divorce or is there a dispute over child access with your former spouse? If you cannot clearly communicate to a professional what you need, the process may be one which is drawn out more than it has to be.