How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Many cleaning products that you buy in the store are made with harsh chemicals, which are hard on your skin as well as the environment. Did you know that you can make your own homemade versions of essential cleaning products which will be completely non-toxic and environmentally friendly? Try these easy recipes to clean your home in a healthier, and much cheaper, way:

Spray Cleaner

To create a multi-purpose spray cleaner, simply mix together one part white vinegar with one part water in a spray bottle. This mixture is great for cleaning countertops, kitchen ranges, bathroom sinks, toilets, shower walls, and much more. The white vinegar is mildly acidic and so it will dissolve the dirt and soap scum on these surfaces. However, it is so gentle that it can be used to clean hardwood flooring. Rather than overpowering odours with a strong synthetic scent the vinegar will absorb them and become odourless when dry. White vinegar is also colourless, meaning that it will not stain grout or countertops.

If you are struggling with really tough hard water deposits or soap scum, try using undiluted white vinegar straight from the jug.

Scouring Powder

To really tackle hard-to-clean grime, you can use simple baking powder as a scouring powder to scrub grimy rings around the bathtub or remove caked on food from the stovetop. Try making a paste of baking soda and water and applying it to the surface, leaving it to stand for 10 to 20 minutes. Baking soda also works to absorb odours.

Glass Cleaner

Try this recipe for a homemade glass cleaner than works just as well as any commercial product: mix one cup of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water, and one tablespoon of white vinegar. The rubbing alcohol can be found in your local pharmacy and works really well for cleaning windows because it evaporates when dry. This mixture can be used on mirrors and chrome fixtures as well, and it will give a shiny finish to ceramic tiles.  

Next time you need to clean your home, avoid the toxic store-bought chemicals and make your own homemade cleaning products instead. You will save the environment and some money too!

How to Write a Resume that Gets You Hired

 

How to Write a Resume that Gets You Hired
If you are applying for your dream job, it is definitely worth it to take the time and make sure that your resume is the absolute best it could be. Your resume is the first impression that your potential employer will have of you, and you want it to knock their socks off so that they have no choice but to invite you for an interview! Writing a killer resume that gets you in the door at your dream position is challenging, but completely worth the extra effort. 
Did you know that the techniques that fiction writers use to make a story more realistic can also be used to improve your resume? If you were writing a fiction story, you would want the reader to envision the scene that you were describing in strong and palpable detail. You would use powerful words and concrete descriptions to create this image in their head. This is no different than crafting a resume, as your goal is to make your potential employer create an image in their mind of you doing the job well. You can evoke this by using powerful words and concrete details. 
Powerful Words
When you are describing your accomplishments on your resume, stay away from stale, passive and cliché words and use “action” words instead. For example, saying that you were “responsible for increasing productivity in the group” is quite boring and doesn’t really say much about what you did. Use a powerful word like “Led” or “Directed” or “Accelerated” to show that you took control of the group. Then, explain exactly why the group was more productive when you were finished with them. Did you motivate them, develop a new organization strategy, or set direct goals and a plan to achieve them? Your final statement will end up saying something like “Accelerated group productivity by creating efficient methods of organization and time management.” That sounds much more dynamic, doesn’t it?
Concrete Details
To truly persuade your potential employer, use concrete details to make your achievements seem more real. Use actual specific numbers to show what you have done. For example, “Managed a profitable department” doesn’t sound nearly as good as “Managed a marketing department of 100 employees at XYZ Industries which grew profits by 56% in 2011.” Instead of just saying that you graduated from your University with a Bachelor of Science, boast about your 3.8 GPA and your $1200 in scholarships. Use stats, numbers, figures and specific achievements to highlight exactly how amazing you are. 
Using strong, active language and concrete facts and numbers will really make your achievements jump off the page. Writing your resume with these tips in mind will help you impress your potential employer and snag that ultimate job of your dreams!

If you are applying for your dream job, it is definitely worth it to take the time and make sure that your resume is the absolute best it could be. Your resume is the first impression that your potential employer will have of you, and you want it to knock their socks off so that they have no choice but to invite you for an interview! Writing a killer resume that gets you in the door at your dream position is challenging, but completely worth the extra effort. 

Did you know that the techniques that fiction writers use to make a story more realistic can also be used to improve your resume? If you were writing a fiction story, you would want the reader to envision the scene that you were describing in strong and palpable detail. You would use powerful words and concrete descriptions to create this image in their head. This is no different than crafting a resume, as your goal is to make your potential employer create an image in their mind of you doing the job well. You can evoke this by using powerful words and concrete details.

Powerful Words

When you are describing your accomplishments on your resume, stay away from stale, passive and cliché words and use “action” words instead. For example, saying that you were “responsible for increasing productivity in the group” is quite boring and doesn’t really say much about what you did. Use a powerful word like “Led” or “Directed” or “Accelerated” to show that you took control of the group. Then, explain exactly why the group was more productive when you were finished with them. Did you motivate them, develop a new organization strategy, or set direct goals and a plan to achieve them? Your final statement will end up saying something like “Accelerated group productivity by creating efficient methods of organization and time management.” That sounds much more dynamic, doesn’t it?

Concrete Details

To truly persuade your potential employer, use concrete details to make your achievements seem more real. Use actual specific numbers to show what you have done. For example, “Managed a profitable department” doesn’t sound nearly as good as “Managed a marketing department of 100 employees at XYZ Industries which grew profits by 56% in 2011.” Instead of just saying that you graduated from your University with a Bachelor of Science, boast about your 3.8 GPA and your $1200 in scholarships. Use stats, numbers, figures and specific achievements to highlight exactly how amazing you are. 

Using strong, active language and concrete facts and numbers will really make your achievements jump off the page. Writing your resume with these tips in mind will help you impress your potential employer and snag that ultimate job of your dreams!

 

Healthy Tricks to Wake Up Your Body on Tired Mornings

 

Healthy Tricks to Wake Up Your Body on Tired Mornings
We’ve all had those mornings when the gravitational pull from your pillow seems to require superhuman strength to resist, and you can barely see your alarm clock through blurry and squinting eyes. You nearly nod off on the train ride to work, and stare at the computer as the words and numbers swirl around incomprehensibly in your tired mind. 
The best way to avoid feeling like this is the mornings is of course to get a good night’s sleep the night before, but sometimes life keeps us up late for whatever reason and we just don’t get the rest that we need. On these mornings we need to jump start our brains so that we can manage to function and make it through the day. 
Perhaps you are using to guzzling coffee or cramming sugary breakfast treats on those zombie mornings, hoping that the caffeine and sugar will make you feel more human. Although you will get a short burst of energy for a while, you will ultimately find yourself crashing down from your sugar or caffeine high soon afterwards and feeling even worse than before. If you really want to wake your body up the natural and healthy way, here are some tips:
Drink a Huge Glass of Ice Cold Water
When you wake up in the morning, get yourself in the habit of downing a nice cold class of water. The icy temperature will send a shock to your system and immediately make you feel more alert. Keep a chilled bottle of water next to your desk all day and keep sipping from it. Being dehydrated actually makes you feel more fatigued, because it reduces your blood volume, so drinking water will help you take on the day. 
Get Up and Move
Doing quick five or ten minute bursts of physical activity will increase blood flow through your body, and this will increase your energy and banish your fatigue. When you first wake up, do jumping jacks, jog in place, or dance around to your favourite tune. Throughout the day when you feel yourself getting sleepy, get up and go for a walk around the office or do some stretches. 
Snack on Fruit
Rather than a sugary donut or pastry, try eating an apple, banana, nectarine or grapes for breakfast. The natural sugars will give you sustained energy, unlike the refined sugar in sweets that will just make you crash. 
Put on a Happy Tune
Listening to lively and upbeat music will keep your brain from getting bored and make it a lot harder to drift off while you are working. Put together a playlist of your favourite high-tempo songs and play them nice and loud in the mornings. Choose songs that inspire you, lift you up, and make you feel like doing something amazing with your day. 
These are just a few healthy and fun ways that you can wake yourself up and get going in the mornings!

We’ve all had those mornings when the gravitational pull from your pillow seems to require superhuman strength to resist, and you can barely see your alarm clock through blurry and squinting eyes. You nearly nod off on the train ride to work, and stare at the computer as the words and numbers swirl around incomprehensibly in your tired mind. 

The best way to avoid feeling like this is the mornings is of course to get a good night’s sleep the night before, but sometimes life keeps us up late for whatever reason and we just don’t get the rest that we need. On these mornings we need to jump start our brains so that we can manage to function and make it through the day. 

Perhaps you are used to guzzling coffee or cramming sugary breakfast treats in your mouth on those zombie mornings, hoping that the caffeine and sugar will make you feel more human. Although you will get a short burst of energy for a while, you will ultimately find yourself crashing down from your sugar or caffeine high soon afterwards and feeling even worse than before. If you really want to wake your body up the natural and healthy way, here are some tips:

Drink a Huge Glass of Ice Cold Water

When you wake up in the morning, get yourself in the habit of downing a nice cold class of water. The icy temperature will send a shock to your system and immediately make you feel more alert. Keep a chilled bottle of water next to your desk all day and keep sipping from it. Being dehydrated actually makes you feel more fatigued, because it reduces your blood volume, so drinking water will help you take on the day. 

Get Up and Move

Doing quick five or ten minute bursts of physical activity will increase blood flow through your body, and this will increase your energy and banish your fatigue. When you first wake up, do jumping jacks, jog in place, or dance around to your favourite tune. Throughout the day when you feel yourself getting sleepy, get up and go for a walk around the office or do some stretches. 

Snack on Fruit

Rather than a sugary donut or pastry, try eating an apple, banana, nectarine or grapes for breakfast. The natural sugars will give you sustained energy, unlike the refined sugar in sweets that will just make you crash. 

Put on a Happy Tune

Listening to lively and upbeat music will keep your brain from getting bored and make it a lot harder to drift off while you are working. Put together a playlist of your favourite high-tempo songs and play them nice and loud in the mornings. Choose songs that inspire you, lift you up, and make you feel like doing something amazing with your day. 

These are just a few healthy and fun ways that you can wake yourself up and get going in the mornings!

 

Sometimes the Best Thing You Can Do for Your Health is to Learn to Say No

 

“I know you have a day off, but can you cover this shift for me?”
“Can you help us sew all of the costumes for the school play?”
“Why don’t you come out to my party? Everyone will be there!”
Sometimes in life we feel ourselves overwhelmed by demands on us from all sides. Our bosses and coworkers expect a lot at work, our friends expect us always to go out and have fun, and our families need us to support them. Eager to please and to avoid disappointing anyone we care about, we push ourselves to the limit to say “yes” to every request. 
However, being a superhero and meeting everyone else’s needs is an exhausting task that can only be kept up for so long. Soon you feel yourself missing sleep, getting overwhelming, and not remembering the last time that you took care of your own needs. 
It’s Not Selfish to Take Care of Yourself
Of course you want to help others, and you might even feel guilty if you say no to requests to give yourself some time off. However, if you cannot help yourself and keep yourself healthy and energized, you will not be able to take care of others at all. Overwork and lack of sleep weakens your immune system, and makes you more likely to get sick. You can’t attend your child’s school play, do overtime at work, or help a friend move if you have the flu! When you run yourself into the ground and then have to spend several days in bed recovering, you are simply no help to anyone!
If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s time to practice saying “No” to some of the requests upon you in your life so that you still have enough time to meet your own needs. Politely decline and let people know that you would love to help but you just have too much on your plate at the moment. Take some time off each week to enjoy a hobby, get some exercise, sleep late, and pamper yourself a little. You will find yourself much less stressed and once you have recharged your batteries you will be full of energy and ready to do more good in the world. 

“I know you have a day off, but can you cover this shift for me?”

“Can you help us sew all of the costumes for the school play?”

“Why don’t you come out to my party? Everyone will be there!”

Sometimes in life we feel ourselves overwhelmed by demands on us from all sides. Our bosses and coworkers expect a lot at work, our friends expect us always to go out and have fun, and our families need us to support them. Eager to please and to avoid disappointing anyone we care about, we push ourselves to the limit to say “yes” to every request. However, being a superhero and meeting everyone else’s needs is an exhausting task that can only be kept up for so long. Soon you feel yourself missing sleep, getting overwhelmed, and not remembering the last time that you took care of your own needs. 

It’s Not Selfish to Take Care of Yourself

Of course you want to help others, and you might even feel guilty if you say no to requests to give yourself some time off. However, if you cannot help yourself and keep yourself healthy and energized, you will not be able to take care of others at all. Overwork and lack of sleep weakens your immune system, and makes you more likely to get sick. You can’t attend your child’s school play, do overtime at work, or help a friend move if you have the flu! When you run yourself into the ground and then have to spend several days in bed recovering, you are simply no help to anyone!

If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s time to practice saying “No” to some of the requests upon you in your life so that you still have enough time to meet your own needs. Politely decline and let people know that you would love to help but you just have too much on your plate at the moment. Take some time off each week to enjoy a hobby, get some exercise, sleep late, and pamper yourself a little. You will find yourself much less stressed and once you have recharged your batteries you will be full of energy and ready to do more good in the world. 

 

Inspiring Lessons You Can Learn From a Wad of Silly Putty

We have all rolled a squishy lump of Silly Putty in our hands as a child and remember the strange feeling of this one-of-a-kind substance. It is bouncy, yet flows like a liquid, and will even break from a sharp blow. It is one of those toys that you spent hours playing with as a child, but did you know that the same brightly coloured wad of Silly Putty can also teach you many lessons for success as an adult?

Here are a few inspiring lessons you can learn from this squishy substance:

Sometimes Accidents Can Be Genius

During World War II the United States War Department needed rubber to produce boots and tires, but imports from rubber-producing countries in the Far East were cut off. The War Department was experimenting with several different methods to create a cheap and flexible synthetic substitute. Instead, they accidently created silly putty. The bouncy substance seemed to have no practical use, until a local entrepreneur named Paul Hodgson bought the recipe for it.

Rather than seeing a mistake or an accident, Hodgson saw potential. He marketed the product as a children’s toy instead and began selling it through a toy-store catalogue. His innovative look at the problem paid off, and Silly Putty became a favourite toy all over the world.

Look at your mistakes in a new way, how can they become solutions?

It Helps to Be Flexible                                   

Silly Putty’s malleability allows a child’s imagination to create it into anything at all. However, Silly Putty is not just used as a toy, as it has been discovered to be useful for many other different purposes over the years. Silly Putty has been used as everything from a lint-picker-upper, drumhead resonance dampener, stress reduction ball, physiotherapy tool for hand injuries, and a masking medium for model building hobbyists. The gooey stuff has even been used by Apollo astronauts to secure tools in zero gravity!

Be versatile. If you can adapt for many different challenges and situations you will be more successful.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

The hint is in the name “Silly Putty”. When this unusual synthetic rubber substitute was branded as goofy and wacky, more people took a liking to it. People are drawn to things that tickle their funny bone, and showing your sense of humour is a great way to win people over both in business and in life.

Don’t be afraid to be a bit silly. People will love you for it!

These are just a few secrets that Silly Putty can teach you about success. I’ll bet you never realized how many life lessons were hiding inside that colourful plastic egg?

How Your Business Can Benefit from a Blog

In the 21st Century information age of Google, Facebook, Twitter and iPhones being connected and having a web presence is a must.  If you have a business whether it be in its infancy or well established opportunities for growth exist online. Every business especially those that provide services to the public, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, Lawyers just to name a few should have a web presence. You need a website to attract customers in the new millennium.  But having a website alone might not be enough? To increase traffic one needs to be engaged in Internet marketing more so than just being listed on Google and placing ads.  Social networking sites are a great way to form a fresh young client base.  Facebook and Twitter are sites consumers are using to connect to their favorite brands.  One of the best ways to provide constant updates on your business, your products or services on social networking sites is to maintain a blog.

A blog? Isn’t that for political and news junkies and teenage girls who follow celebrity crushes and entertainment news?  Is it really for a business?  Absolutely! Businesses are catching on to the world of blogging.  Blogs are for everything and are for everyone!  Many blogs look professional and offer updates on areas of your business’s expertise.  A stock broker or agency may write about the pulse of the market.  Real Estate agents will often give tips and feedback to buyers and sellers, show market trends in the price of houses.  As a business you are offering something free, a sample of your services online to everyone to establish both a rapport and a sense that you are the expert.  The idea is for the consumer to remember this and in return offer you their business.  The goal is to establish a sense of credibility so the next time the consumer whom browses your site needs a service they come to you in trust.

A blog is the best Internet marketing tool because updates and posts can automatically be posted to Twitter and Facebook.  Both Blogger and WordPress are free services that have great hosting abilities and plenty of templates.  In addition with just a click of a button the latest post is added to your Facebook page with a description and picture.  It will even update your Twitter status using the title of the post and link to article.  This is an automatic way to increase traffic.  Twitter is the ultimate free traffic maximizer!  It is a system in which people follow you have your Tweets updated on their homepage.  You could have thousands of people seeing your new post every day.  If you do Twitter right it is easy to get a couple thousand of followers within a few weeks.

Additionally, blogs are great for search engine optimization (SEO) because they often have more posts and constant daily hits due to the updating search engines tend to pick them up faster.  A blog is a must for extreme traffic and sales!

Enhance Social Media Presence with Facebook

Most people have a personal Facebook page set up which allows them to communicate and interact with their friends and family.  However, many businesses are not taking advantage of this marketing tool and setting up a Facebook fan page for their business.  Having a Facebook fan page allows a business to advertise current promotions or upcoming sales and events.  Additionally, fans and followers of the business and products can keep abreast of company activities and add comments to the fan page.

This type of interaction creates a relationship between the customer and business.  Additionally, research reveals that customers are more likely to buy from a business or sales professional that they feel comfortable with and they can trust.

Facebook provides many opportunities to generate interest in a business. By attracting fans, a business can have access to up to 5,000 people. A business can update fans on new products or news and include links to the information they want to spread the word about.  Additionally, a business can send marketing messages, offers and other lead magnets to their target market to persuade them to “like” their fan page. A business will then have access to their target market.

Facebook has some additional benefits that many of the other social media networking sites do not.  Facebook allows users to post pictures, video, links and longer posts.  Additionally, fans will able to access a business’s post for up to five years.

With so many powerful ways to build traffic using Facebook, marketers cannot ignore this medium of generating sales. However, attracting clients and prospects via Facebook can be quite time consuming. Fortunately, there are numerous services and tools that can automate many of the tasks that would take an undue amount of time to complete if they were all being done manually.  Furthermore, Facebook is also a very inexpensive way to promote products or services. A business with a lot of fans will result in simple and easy promotions.

If a business wants to compete in today’s technology driven marketplace then they have to modify their means of communication and way of doing business to accommodate social media interaction.  Social media is used as a tool to stay connected with consumers via the internet; knowing that the internet is a powerful tool for communication. Social media is seen as a means to maintain a sound relationship with existing customers while simultaneously reaching potential customers.

How To Screen For A Good Home Contractor

Home remodeling projects are expected to top $130 blllion this quarter, their highest total since Q1 2008. A likely catalyst is that the average cost of a home improvement project is falling fast.

With the economy loosening up and contractor costs on a downswing, some in Seattle homeowners are choosing to put money back into their respective homes, and making home improvements. If you’re among them, you’ll want to make sure you’ve properly screened your contractor. 

In this 4-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn tips for picking a good home contractor. The advice is mostly common sense, and worth heeding. For example:

  • Only select registered/licensed, and insured contractors for work in your home
  • Don’t automatically select the lowest bid; you may want to discard it instead
  • Communication skills matter. You must be able to express your wants, and have that message understood.

And lastly, if this is your first time working with a particular contractor, be sure to ask for references and follow-through on them, too. Sometimes, past customers can tell you more about a contractor than you can learn yourself.

How Real Estate Agents can Achieve Success with Twitter

Research reveals that people under the age of 40 solely utilize the Web to research information, look up local business information and connect with others.  As a result, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and business owners are advertising through online media sources versus traditional print advertising.  Social media marketing is a term that describes use of social networks, online communities, blogs, or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service.  So what that means is that it is the media we use to be social and connect with customers, prospects and friends.  A popular form of social media is microblogging.  Microblogging is posting messages that are 140 characters or less.  This forces us to be more succinct and get to the point.  Microblogging is like text messaging and a little bit more.  The most popular microblogging site is Twitter. 

Twitter recently reported that it has approximately 200 million users.  Of these users, an average 140 million tweets are sent per day and an average of 460,000 new accounts are created on a daily basis.  With numbers like this, it is obvious that information about a product or service can each millions of users with the click of a mouse.

Using Twitter is a great way for businesses to directly communicate with their prospects and clients.  Additionally, clients can pose questions or easily find out information from the business. Twitter can be used as a low cost marketing tool for communicating business related information, to attain new clients and generate more revenue.

Real estate agents, mortgage brokers and business professionals can harness the power of Twitter by finding prospects and communicating with clients.  However, utilizing Twitter to its full capabilities is more than just creating an account and acquiring followers.  Real estate agents need to consistently post relevant, useful and timely messages to their Twitter account.  Topics can include newly acquired listings, recently sold listings, property price changes, community and neighborhood news, tips on the best neighborhoods to live in and links to information on their website.

The use of social media to connect with prospects and clients is giving businesses a competitive edge.  Those who shy away from such technology will leave the door open for their competition to step in and take over.  Social media is here and it does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  Now is the time to jump on board this new technology train and see how far it will take you.

Wash Your Windows The Eco-Friendly Way

Clean windows the eco-friendly way

Your home’s windows look best when they’re clean on both the inside and the outside. It’s a quarterly housekeeping chore, at minimum, and should coincide with seasonal changes.

But washing windows can be a drag on the environment. Most homeowners use multiple rolls of paper towels to finish the job, and many commercial window cleaners are chemical-loaded.

Fortunately, there’s a way to wash your windows, be environmentally conscious, and still get great results. Here’s how to do it.

First, wait for a cloudy day. Cloudy days are best for cleaning windows because sunny days create more streaking; the sun can dry the windows before you’ve had a chance to polish them.

Next, make your cleaning solution. 

If this is your first time cleaning your home’s windows, in a spray bottle, mix 8 parts water with 1 part each of white vinegar and environmentally-friendly dish detergent. The dish detergent is a necessary additive because it removes waxy buildups from prior washings with commercial cleaners.

Then, for washings beyond the initial cleaning, in the spray bottle, mix 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar for each cup of water instead.

Next, using reusable microfiber cloths, wash one side of the window with horizontal strokes, and the other with vertical strokes. This way, if there’s a streak, you’ll know on which side of the window it is.

Lastly, rinse your cloths often in cold water and be sure to wash top-down.

When you’re finished, your windows will be clean, and you’ll have made a near-zero environmental impact. And remember — you don’t have to wash your windows all at one. You can spread it out over time if that’s easier.