Our Top Picks For Retirement Locations

Retiring is a major step in anyone’s life. It not only symbolizes an era of change and growth, but also affects how you want to live out the rest of your life. For many people, retirement means you are bringing in less income, but the time you have available more than makes up for that. You’ll have time to truly pursue the activities and hobbies that you find enjoyable. It’s vital that when you decide to make the change and retire that you choose a location that suits how you’d like to live. Taking into consideration various conditions such as the weather, cultural scene, educational offerings, and other opportunities such as volunteering or other community-based events is extremely important.

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More often than not, the majority of individuals who are retiring prefer to spend their life in a warm, moderate climate, such as Florida. There’s a reason many people refer to Florida as one big retirement home! The weather is beautiful, and the warm climate can help your entire body feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  In some cases, if you’d prefer retiring, yet having some assistance in your day to day tasks and routines, you may want to consider a city that has a senior care agency, so that you can retire comfortable while also having your essential needs taken care of, especially if you are physically handicapped.

If you’re deliberating between a few choices, take a read over our list of top picks to see how we stack up some of our favorite locations to retire in.

  1. Florida – This is one of the best locations consistently, and for good reason. The very warm climate, enjoyable atmosphere, and peaceful scenic locations make Florida a top choice for retirement, no matter your attitude or retirement needs. Many seniors choose Florida as a place to retire because of the culture, the cost of living, and the climate, all things that are very important.
  2. Texas – Another great choice with plenty of big or smaller cities, based on your preference, Texas offers a beautiful retirement location similar to Florida, but with slightly different changes. Texas is more of a drier climate, compared to Florida’s humidity, which can be a big difference maker to some individuals. The dry heat of Texas is a lot more bearable than the humid, body-drenching heat of Florida.
  3. North Dakota – Our top choice for those who prefer colder locations, or places with more scenic opportunities around them, North Dakota is a great location. Home to beautiful, sprawling plains, and massive, looming mountains, there is a little of something for everyone. Not all seniors who retire want to live in a climate that is hot the majority of the time, and if you’re able to handle the winter-time cold of North Dakota, you’ll be more than happy with the pleasant weather the rest of the year.

No matter the location you decide to pursue to retire in, the most important steps are to take into consideration your various wants and needs, and factor those in to your research of the locations. There are plenty of guides and advice on different retirement locations, but choosing the best one suited for you is important.

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Using Mosaics For Beautiful Furniture

Creating a Mosaic Inlay Table Top: Using Mosaics to Personalize Furniture

Whether looking to add some color and design to a room, refinish an old table, or make a point of interest and conversation in a space, mosaic inlays are a wonderful option. While there are certainly options for sale, it can be simple to create one, either by inlaying a ready made mosaic design, or creating one from loose pieces.

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Preparing the Table

The mosaic is going to need an area to reside in. If the table already has a built up rim around the edge, nothing more will need to be done for this step. If the table does not have a rim, or depression for the mosaic to be set in, one will need to be created.

While it may be possible to carve, or sand out a depression into the table, this does leave a lot of room for error, so leaving the top as is and building a rim is the more feasible option.

Using a thin domed molding in the material that will be inlaid will give the most uniform look, or if no molding is available, use a thin strip of wood molding painted or stained to match the color of the table.

Stone, glass and ceramic can be purchased in thin ½” domed moldings, which can be applied to the outer edge of the table. These will be applied first, before the mosaic, to ensure that the table will be level when complete.

The surface of the table should be clean, dry and sanded to remove any bumps or depressions. Apply the molding by either driving thin nails in at an angle through a wooden molding, or by applying thinset in an even coating to the backside of the tile molding, as well as a thin troweled coating to the edge of the table, and tapping down lightly to even them.

Be sure to line the edges up straight along the table, and wipe away any excess thinset. The moldings can be mitered at the corners for a framed look, or left to over lap.

Choosing the Material and Style

There are several ways of going about inlaying a table top. The first would be to order sheets of ready made pattern or random mixed mosaic. Mosaics are sold on netted or paper-faced sheets of natural stone, ceramic or glass tiles and can be placed onto the table top with little modification if so desired.

Mosaics can also be removed from sheets, or purchased in loose tiles if a more custom look is desired. Purchase single sheets of different colors of material, and use the pieces whole to create patterns, or use tile nippers or glass cutters to break the pieces up to reconfigure into pictures and shapes.

Check with tile showrooms to see if they have odd lot material of mosaics on hand that can be purchased for well below list price. Some showrooms may also have old mosaic samples on hand from discontinued materials that they are willing to give away simply to make space. It never hurts to ask, and many unique and different materials can be acquired this way.

Setting the Mosaic

Once the able top has been prepared, measure how deep the indentation is, as well as the depth of the mosaic. Thinner mosaics will need to be built up with extra thinset to create an even top, while thicker mosaics will need less.

If using sheets of mosaic, trowel on the thinset to the depth required. For glass mosaics, be sure to smooth out any trowel marks before applying the glass, as these marks can be seen through the glass when complete. For thinner materials, try putting thinset on both the table, and the back of the mosaics to create extra height.

For loose pieces of mosaic, have the design pieced together off of the table, first. Apply small areas of thinset to the table and recreate the design one section at a time. Working this way will help keep the thinset from drying out too quickly, and will allow for plenty of time to be sure the design is right.

Wipe away any excess thinset, and remove any paper covering mosaic sheets according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Allow the material to set for at least 24 hours before applying a sanded grout with either a grout float or a sponge, being sure to pack the grout into the spaces between the tiles. To remove grout haze when dry, buff the table top with a dry paper towel. If natural stone tiles have been used, they will need to be sealed prior to grouting, to help ensure easy clean up.

Once complete, protect the surface from stains by applying a sealer to any natural stone or grout. Ornament the table with vases or pictures, or leave bare to display the design. Be sure to place the table where its unique properties and beauty can be enjoyed by all.

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Grocery Shopping Made Easy

Make Grocery Lists to Save Money: Take A Little Time to Prepare and the Savings Will Be Amazing

Lists have become a way of life with many people. One list that will save money all around is the standard grocery list. However, to create a list that really helps a little work should be done ahead of time.

Organize

The first thing to do, is to take inventory of every item on your pantry shelves. Make sure to include everything such as 5 cans of corn or 3 boxes of pudding (chocolate, 2 vanillas). This can easily be typed on a computer and updated evey shopping trip. This also helps to make sure that a product is used before it expires. Print out the list and attach it to your pantry cabinet door. As an item is used cross it off the list. After shopping update the list to eliminate used items and add new ones.

Grocery List

It is very helpful to keep two grocery lists. They can be kept on 5 x 7 index cards. On one index card keep the weekly grocery items; on the other keep the products that are constantly used such as laundry detergent, eggs, milk and other common staples. These lists should be available at all times so that items can be jotted down as needed.

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After you have prepared a weekly list, review the grocery circular. Compare the items on the circular to the list and see if any items are on sale. This is the time to purchase these items. However, be sure to make sure that there are not 10 of these items already in the pantry. Be sure to include items on the circular that might be of interest, if a really good coupon is available.

Next it is time to go through coupons to see if any more savings can be made. Coupons should be organized according to type of product. Cleaning products, canned good, dairy, frozen, meats and miscellaenous are good categories. Many times by creating a running list, regularly used items are on sale and hopefully a coupon is available.

The last step is to make sure that the lists are complete. A trip to the grocery store should only be necessary once a week or every two weeks. It is impossible to run to the store for one item. Most shoppers walk out having spent $40 without batting an eye when just going in for one thing. This is where money is wasted, as items are picked up that are not necessarily needed.

It might seem like a lot of work, but the savings are great for your wallet. As proof try just the lists without taking inventory. Every time a shopping trip is completed, write down the total savings that appear at the bottom of the sales receipt and keep track for one month. The results are pleasantly surprising.