How to Make Your House Look Clean When Last Minute Visitors Drop By

 woman cleaningThe phone rings. It’s your relatives.

They are in the area and they thought they would drop by to say hello.

Is it OK if they come to visit in about 15 minutes?

You say that is fine and hang up the phone, and then look around in horror at the state of your house. How will you ever make it presentable for guests at such short notice?

While you might keep your house generally clean, there are always times when it is a bit cluttered or grimy. If you have last minute guests on their way and you need to make your house look tidy even when it is not, here are some quick-clean tips:

  • Clean the shiny surfaces of the house, such as mirrors, stainless steel sinks, and stove handles. These shiny objects will make the house look cleaner and will attract attention away from the other not-so-clean surfaces.
  • To avoid streaks on your mirrors, use a squirt of window cleaner and wipe it dry with newspaper.
  • If you need to clear away a lot of clutter quickly before your guests arrive, find a shoebox or some other container and sweep everything into it, then place it out of sight. When you have more time, you can sort out all of the clutter and put it where it needs to go.
  • Your guests will almost always use the bathroom at least once during your stay, so give this room a quick once over. Wipe the sinks and mirrors and give the toilet a quick scrub. Clear away all hair brushes, toothpaste, and other clutter from the counter so that the surface looks more spacious.
  • If you have a pile of dirty dishes and don’t have time to clean them, just hide them in the dishwasher for now. Don’t have a dishwasher? You can hide them in the oven, but don’t forget about them and turn the oven on!

Above all, don’t worry too much. If your guests are stopping by on short notice they will understand if your home isn’t looking absolutely perfect and they will forgive you. Do the best you can, and then relax and enjoy their company.

What The Heck Is South by Southwest?

Austin TexasHave you been noticing a number of people on Twitter writing hash tags for #SXSW and wondering what these letters stand for?

SXSW refers to South by Southwest, which is a huge festival which takes place every spring in Austin, Texas.

This conference lasts for ten days, is one of the biggest events of the year in Austin and includes trade shows, music, film and interactive networking opportunities for innovative and creative people from all over the world.

This year’s festival takes place from March 9-18th, 2012.

The festival brings together the worlds of music, film and interactive media in order to facilitate cooperation and innovation in these fields. Basically, it is a chance for artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, techies, filmmakers and celebrities to collaborate together to create something new and exciting.

Musical Performances

The music component of the festival is one of the largest music festivals in the United States, with more than two thousand bands and performers playing live in more than 90 different venues throughout the city.

This year Fiona Apple will be one of the featured performers and there are rumors that Kanye West and Jay-Z will be surprise performers as well.

New Films

Alongside this is also the SXSW Film Festival, where brand new films by emerging directors are showcased.

One of the much anticipated films to be shown at this year’s festival is “21 Jump Street” which is a comedy featuring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as cops undercover at a local high school investigating a drug ring.

Engaging Lectures

Another fascinating event on this year’s schedule is a lecture by Frank Abagnale, the real life mastermind that the film “Catch Me If You Can” was based on. His stories about cleverly dodging the FBI are sure to be entertaining and intriguing.

These are just a few of the exciting events which will be happening during this year’s SXSW Festival, so why not head to Texas to join in the fun and get connected with creative people from all over the world?

Spring Break Travel Ideas for Families

Spring break can be a great opportunity to spend quality family time with your little ones and enjoy the sunshine.

There are many great destinations to visit during this week off from school and you and your family can enjoy many great activities and attractions.

If you are planning a spring getaway with your family, here are some great ideas of where to go and what to see:

Moody Gardens Swimming PoolMoody Gardens in Galveston, Texas

This family friendly park has everything that children could wish for in a dream vacation: a water park, discovery museum, aquarium, paddle wheeler, and even a rain forest where two-toed sloths and bats can be found!

The enormous swimming pool proves that everything is bigger in Texas and the spa is a nice place for parents to relax while children are busy with the kid’s club activities.


Barbados is a great destination for older children and teenagers, as there are many thrilling water sports for them to enjoy.

You can take a ride deep beneath the sea with Atlantis Submarines and go scuba diving through a sunken ship at Folkestone Marine Park.

You can also explore a subterranean wonderland at Harrison’s Cave, with stalagmites, stalactites and even underground waterfalls.

Washington, DC

Every American child should visit the nation’s capital at least once in their lives, so why not head to the beautiful city of Washington this spring break to take in some of the excellent cultural attractions there?

Spring break will take place in Washington during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and during this festival the thousands of cherry trees which were given to Washington by the city of Tokyo, Japan will burst into bright pink blooms.

The festival has many family activities such as live performances, special bike tours and origami workshops, cumulating in the Cherry Blossom Festival Parade which is one of the biggest events of the year in Washington.

These are just a few of the exciting spring break travel experiences that you can enjoy this year with your family.

What will you be doing for Spring Break 2012?

Bike Week Revs Up in Daytona Beach

Hundreds of thousands of bikers are making their way to Daytona Beach this month to soak up the warm Florida sunshine and celebrate Daytona Bike Week.

This huge motorcycle rally is held every year on the first week of March in Daytona Beach, Florida and the festivities include motorcycle races, parties, live music and street festivals. It is one of the most popular motorcycle events in the United States.

The 2012 Bike Week will be held on March 9-18th.

A Long TraditionVintage Daytona Bike Week

Daytona Beach Bike Week began back in 1937 as the Daytona 200 motorcycle race, which took place around the 3.2 mile pavement and beach course.

The winner of this first race was Ed Kretz from Monteray Park, California who rode an Indian Motorcycle and averaged 73 miles per hour.

Although the event was not held from 1942-1947 due to World War II, it resumed in 1947 and quickly skyrocketed in popularity.

A Wide Variety of Events

There are many great events that motorcycle-lovers will enjoy during the festival. For example, there is the “Alligator Road Tour” which is a guided bike ride that takes participants to a mystery destination.

The Daytona Supercross is also held, where the world champion riders battle a very demanding and challenging course at the Daytona International Speedway.

Some of the best bikes in the USA are on display at the Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show, which is held at the Water Park on Daytona Beach.

There is also live music playing all week long at the Bank & Blues Club, such as Mike Dugan & Dirty Harry, The Razorbacks and Selwyln Birchwood.

This year marks the grand opening of the Museum at the Original Harley-Davidson store on Beach Street. This fascinating museum has a variety of rare motorcycles on display as well as many interesting artifacts from the life of the Bruce RossMeyer who was an important player in the motorcycle industry.

At the end of the week, the grand finale of the festival will be the race that started it all, the Daytona 200. Enjoying America’s most historic motorcycle race on a beautiful Florida beach is truly a dream experience for any motorcycling enthusiast.  

Want to Know How to Get More Battery Life from Your Smartphone?

Battery Life LowYou love your smart phone and you can’t live without it. It’s your little beeping companion who follows you everywhere and updates you whenever you have an email, Facebook post, or reply on Twitter.

However, you sometimes become frustrated because you can’t seem make it through a day without needing to charge your phone.

If you want to make the battery life of your smart phones last longer, here are some tips:

Turn off the Features You’re Not Using

Chances are, right now you have many features of your smart phone running in the background that you are not currently using, such as Wi-Fi, games, Bluetooth and more.

If you leave these features functioning all the time they can eat into your battery life. To make your phone last longer on one charge; turn them off when you are not actively using them.

Watch Out for GPS Apps

There are certain apps on your phone such as weather reports, local news apps, and navigation apps which will always use GPS to find out your current location. This can eat up a lot of battery power, so make sure that these apps are turned off or deleted.

Dim the Lights

Did you know that by dimming the brightness on your smart phone screen you can make your battery life last longer?

Go into your Settings and adjust your screen so that it is dimmer, especially in the daytime when the ambient light around you will allow you to see the screen anyway.

Turn it off

When your computer starts working slowly, it is usually because of the excess of simple tasks which has built up in the background and a simple reboot refreshes it.

The same happens with your smart phone. Turning it off for a while, such as when you are in a meeting, when you are sleeping, or when you are watching a movie, will allow it to clear itself out and start fresh.

When added up together, these little changes in habits should make your smart phone battery last a lot longer than it currently does!

Want more tips?  Check this article out….

Is Your Weight Loss Plan Sustainable?

It’s a never ending cycle.

You start to feel a bit chubby and unhappy with what you see in the mirror. So you throw away all of the junk food in your kitchen and head to the supermarket and buy nothing but lettuce and lean chicken breast.

Diet ScaleYou strictly deny yourself all donuts and forgo your morning late for green tea instead. You buy a gym membership and brand new yoga pants and start sweating it out on the treadmill every single day.

Flash forward to one month later. You are again sitting on the couch in your sweatpants after a hard day at work, eating an entire pizza to yourself and guzzling from a two liter bottle of Coca Cola.

What happened?

If you are prone to going 100% into a fitness routine, and then burning out and resorting to your old unhealthy habits after a short while, it’s time to ask yourself if your weight loss plan is sustainable.

For a change in your fitness to be sustainable, you need to be able to continue it for a long period of time so that it becomes a long term, ongoing habit in your life.

For example, when you strictly limit yourself to 1,200 calories per day and lose 5 pounds in one week to fit into your favorite jeans for a hot date you might have achieved the results that you wanted but this method of weight loss is not sustainable.

If you are starving yourself, you are going to eventually crack and start eating again and all of the weight will pile back on again.

The only way to lose pounds for good is to make changes to your habits which will last for the longer term.

These changes should be:

Achievable: It’s admirable to try to hit the gym twice every day, but you also have a lot of other things to do in your day. Start with every second day instead and your goal will be much more easily achieved, which will help you not give up as easily.

Balanced: Strictly limiting yourself to certain foods will not last long, and this type of withdrawal sets you up to crave a huge junk food binge. You’re not going to give up on ever having another piece of chocolate cake for the rest of your life, are you?  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Allow yourself dessert a couple evenings per week, and a cheat meal on the weekends so that it is easier to stick to your routine. You will crave your guilty pleasures less if you indulge in them every now and then.

Healthy: Eating nothing but salads for a week will make you drop pounds quick, but if you continue that diet for the long term you will become very malnourished. You need protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and even a small amount of healthy fat. Don’t starve your body; treat it right by giving it the healthy meals it needs to survive.

Once you make permanent changes to your routines which are sustainable, you will be able to stick to them for the long term and see fantastic results!

Who Needs a Little Dose of Humility?

You know you are intelligent, gorgeous, talented, hilarious and generally amazing. However, if you go around reminding everyone who you interact with how fantastic you are, you run the risk of sounding conceited and vain.

Being a bit too proud can really be irritating, and it can cause people to respond in a negative way to you. In the contrary, if you can conduct your behavior with a little bit of humility you will become a lot more likeable and find getting along with others much easier.

Pride is boasting about your skills and achievements, and humility is the art of gracefully letting your amazing qualities speak for themselves. Here are some tips for being more humble in your day to day life which still having good self esteem:

  • Admit when you are wrong. Accept that you are not perfect at everything and know where you are weak. Apologize when you have made a mistake.
  • When in conversation with another person, be aware when you have been talking about yourself for too long and switch the attention to them by asking them a question.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. There will always be someone doing worse than you, but also there will always be someone doing better.
  • Appreciate the talents and qualities of others, and tell them honestly and sincerely how great they are.
  • Take compliments with a simple thank you and a smile. Give a compliment back to the receiver.
  • Don’t put yourself down in order to fish for compliments.
  • Put yourself in a situation where you are the student and someone else is the teacher, and be ready to learn something new.
  • When you are in an argument, refrain from calling others “stupid” or “uneducated” because they don’t agree with your political views, philosophy, or ideals. Bite your tongue and instead listen to them explain why they feel that way. You can still question their logic, but try not to attack them personally.

You might be the most amazing person in the world, but no one will want to interact with you until you have learned the very important lesson of being humble.

Want to know more?  Here are 14 Steps to Humility and Grace


So What Really Happened On Leap Year?

Leap YearSo 2012 is a leap year with 366 days instead of the normal 365.  But do you know why?

The ancient Egyptians figured out that the solar year and the man-made calendar year didn’t match up perfectly. 

It’s all caused by the time that it takes the Earth to revolve around the sun – 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to be exact. (Ever wonder who was manning the stopwatch for that one?) 

Therefore, the extra hours and change have to be carried over and every 4 years an extra day was added to the calendar to keep it all even.  Interestingly, there are a number of other intricate rules that they use in the calculation.

So What Has Happened on Leap Years Past?

Well, quite a few interesting things, actually:

1288 – Scotland’s Queen Margaret declared that a woman had the right to pop the question to any man she wished and if rebuffed, the man would be forced to pay a fine to the fair lady.

1504 – Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies.

1704 – Queen Anne’s War: French forces and Native Americans stage a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, killing 56 villagers and taking more than 100 captive.

1916 – Child labor: In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old.

1944 – World War II: The Admiralty Islands are invaded in Operation Brewer led by American General Douglas MacArthur.

1972 – Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract.

1992 – Mr. Big hit it big this day, moving to #1 with, “To Be with You”. It would be the biggest hit in the U.S. for three big weeks.

Now isn’t it refreshing to know all of those things happened on leap year in the past?

What important news will happen today?  Feel free to make a prediction or share an event!





Did You See This Granny Dance?

90 Year Old Grandma’s Dance Tribute to Whitney Houston Goes Viral

A YouTube video which features a frail 90 year old woman busting a move to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” has gone viral, reaching over 800,000 views since Feb 12th. The video is a tribute to singer Whitney Houston who recently passed away.

Houston, a legendary pop diva, was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb 11th of unknown causes. She was one of the best-selling music artists in the world, and has sold over 170 million albums to date.

The song in the following video was one of her biggest hit singles, reading number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released and winning her a Grammy in 1988 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

The death of the famous singer was a huge shock to the music world. Although the official autopsy report of what exactly caused her death has not been released, the police found bottles of prescription drugs in her hotel room.

Her death has spurred many to comment that the problem of drug addictions among celebrities needs to be addressed.

Drug overdose controversy aside, Adam Forgie filmed the heartwarming video of his grandmother dancing to the song in Houston’s memory and it has received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response.

Although she suffers from severe macular degeneration, is legally blind, and has had a steel hip replacement, Forgie’s granny still finds great pleasure in dancing.

The video has been flooded with comments from astonished viewers who could not believe how much energy the dancing senior citizen had.

When I watch the video I can’t help but smile and hope that I still have that much zest for life when I have reached that impressive age.

Although Whitney Houston is no more, it seems that her music will still continue to make people of all ages want to get up and dance for a long time to come.

What to Do on a Long Bus Ride?

Perhaps you have a long commute on the bus, train or subway to where you work, or maybe you are planning a long journey to visit friends or family. Whatever the reason, there are times in your life where you will be stuck in transit and bored for a while.

Rather than sitting there staring out the window or trying to avoid eye contact with strangers, there are many things that you can do with your time.

Some people love taking the bus to work and to the university, because it is a time for to be relaxed and contemplative.

The journey forces one to take time for themselves to read, write, and ponder.

Here are a few ideas of what to do on your long commute to make the most of the trip:

  • Enjoy a good book. You keep saying that you never get any time to read anymore, so hit the library and consume an exciting novel a little bit every day while on your way to and from work. Just don’t get so involved in the story that you miss your stop!
  • Learn something new. Listen to a language learning program, study a textbook, or read an educational book. Why not use your commute to expand your mind?
  • Organize your day. Keep a small day planner or notebook with you and use that half hour in transit every morning to plan out what you will do that day. This helps you to mentally picture how your day will roll out and how you can complete your tasks more efficiently.
  • Brainstorm. Your notebook can also be a place where you come up with ideas and solutions to problems in your life. Trying to decide what to do about a new project or goal? Use your down time on the bus to come up with as many ideas and possibilities as you can.
  • Bliss out. Another great thing to do while you are in transit is to create an ideal environment for yourself and take a few moments to completely relax. Put your favorite song on your headphones, savor a snack or a cup of coffee, and simply enjoy watching the world go by.

When you are stuck in transit for a long time, it doesn’t have to be a terrible ordeal. With these tips, you can use your bus, train or subway time wisely and maybe even make it one of the highlights of your day!