Archive for August, 2012

Cheap car insurance and those black boxes

Over a lifetime, there’s probably a balance in the good and bad surrounding the children we produce. But there are certainly times when we bitterly regret taking the plunge, as it were. There are those times at school or when early experiments with cigarettes and alcohol go horribly wrong. There’s all that attitude we get. But the worst comes when we’re supposed to calmly shell out on driving lessons and then, to add insult to injury, to buy a cheap car for them to drive and to pay for the insurance. The fact finding cheap car insurance for teens is like winning the lottery seems not to occur to them as they assert the divine right to disappear from sight for hours on end, driving who knows where, while all we can do is sit in prayer the next call will not come from the police or hospitals telling us when we can come in to collect the broken bits of body.

Then, suddenly, we might be tempted by the arrival of telematics – not those fuzzy TV characters with rhubarb growing out of their heads, you understand. The Co-op, we can’t go wrong with them, can we? have been running ads for their Young Driver Scheme. Instead of the usual “the sky’s the limit” approach to insuring the young, they will fit black boxes that will watch our kids like a hawk. If their spy finds our children have suddenly converted into angels on four wheels, we will be rewarded with lower premiums. That sounds like such a good deal until we remember our children are more likely to be recorded hotdogging around the local park at 2 in the morning – a stunt that will ensure we never see a premium under four figures for the next however many years until they leave the nest and start paying their own way in life. So although there’s that terrible lure of cheap car insurance for us to pay, we parents have to remember Big Brother watches and sees both good and bad. And the bad can be very expensive for us, if not for our young drivers of the year.

Volunteer Abroad Packing Tips

Volunteer Abroad Packing Tips

“I’m very strict with my packing and have everything in its right place. I never change a rule. I hardly use anything in the hotel room. I wheel my own wardrobe in and that’s it.” – Charlie Watts. How you pack when you leave home for volunteer work, will determine how you get off to work on your project. Many volunteers, especially first time travelers, have a problem in knowing what to carry with them abroad, and how best to do their packing. Add to that the hustles of the airport and being in foreign land where you may not have someone to help you get started. Then, you may end up very confused, during the first few days of your volunteer work. Here is a brief overview off what to pack and how best to do so.

 

The golden rule is to pack light. The best advice is to bring out everything you would like to bring along with you on your trip, and then divide it in half.

Once this is done then you need to pick the lightest suitcase you can find. When packing your suitcase, make sure to put the heavier things on the bottom while the lighter ones go on top, however if you are using a bag pack then you need to put the lighter things at the bottom and the heavier on top, this will aid you in making your luggage lighter to carry around with you, especially soon after arrival.

 

When packing, put plastic bags at the bottom as well as using them as layers, this will help you to reduce wrinkling, another way to make your packing convenient is to put different clothing in different clear bags with a zip lock, this way it’s easier to identify different bags with different clothing when unpacking, it may also come in handy at customs if you need to open up your luggage.

 

Roll your cloths tightly when packing them into a bag pack; it often carries more this way. Make sure you have any necessary medication and essential documents with you on your carryon bag. Along with these, carry a change of clothes with you on your carryon luggage, just in case you need to freshen up after your flight. If you are travelling with a group then you can split up your clothes with other people. This way if any of you lose their luggage while travelling, then you will have a change of clothes for the first few days while efforts are being made to locate your luggage.

 

When doing your actual packing, remember you are packing for comfort, not glamour. The less jewelry you carry with you the better, it will make you less of a target for opportunistic criminals. When it comes to footwear, its best to choose waterproof or oiled footwear. It is not a bad idea to carry sandals or open shoes they may come in handy especially in households where shoes are not allowed. It is better for you to carry clothes that you can hand wash and carry with you some dark or neutral colored clothing.

 

Use small colorless bottles to carry toiletries around, it is better to refill than carry big bottles with you, put socks inside shoes and put the shoes in a plastic bag to avoid any messes. Make sure you carry a hat with you, woolen hats for cold weather and a baseball cap for sunny weather. For the ladies, expect to bring along at least one dress or skirt for going out to restaurants or other occasions, pants may not be commonly allowed in some communities, especially at certain events.

 

Some other things that you may need to carry with you are a small first aid kit, an electrical converter if you plan to carry a laptop or any electronics, raincoat or umbrella for the rain, a flash light with batteries. Also carry with you a money belt or a neck wallet to keep with you at all times, where you may keep your important travel documents, including your passport, money and credit cards.

 

 

 

Organizing Your Closets – Tips on Closet Organizing

Organizing Your Closets – Tips on Closet Organizing

I know you have heard it said before- you only wear twenty percent of the clothes in your closet. I hate to say it again, but it is true. Time and time again I see people with jam packed closets and dresser drawers, but when it comes down to it, they have their two favorite pairs of jeans, the one or two pajamas they wear every night, and the same t-shirt that they work out in because it is the most comfortable they own. Let us not deny that it is true. If you had to give it all up and only pack one suitcase full of clothes that you were allowed to keep, you could do it. Now, I am not saying go throw out all your clothes; what I am saying is simplify your closets and dresser drawers. Be truly honest with yourself and let these be the questions you use to make your decisions while organizing your closet:
-Do I look fabulous in this?
-Does it make me feel like a million bucks?
-Does it fit me perfectly?
-Is it super comfortable?
-Do I wear this once a week or at least every other week?
-Do these shoes make my feet hurt?
-If I missed this, could I replace it and find something similar in the stores?

Of course, these questions apply to different clothing items.

Your socks will never make you feel like a million bucks, but the cocktail dress you are keeping, should. You get the point.

To keep your closet organized, try to go through your closet during each season. If that is too much to ask, every six months can suffice. After simplifying, what do you do with your unwanted clothes? Before you offer them to friends or family, or take them to the nearest charity, there is a not- for- profit organization in Chicago that would appreciate them. Dress for Success (www.dressforsuccess.org) helps women interview and land jobs, not only by educating them but giving them suits or business clothes that can help them along in their job search. Check out their site for more details and the Chicago branch location.

Besides downsizing and simplifying, the right organizational products make a huge difference while organizing closets. I really believe that there are two places in your home where it helps to spend a little extra money on great organizing products. Those spaces are your kitchen cabinets and your closets.

These purse hangers do wonders if you are a purse lover- check out The Closet Purse Hanger at www.closetpursehanger.com

-Over the door pocket shoe organizers are a must for adults and kids. They can not only hold shoes, but scarves, nylons, tights, socks, and just about anything.
-Cap racks are great way to organize your husband’s or son’s collection of baseball caps
-Easily match up your jewelry with the perfect outfit by hanging necklaces and bracelets right inside your closet on the wall.
-Containerize fancy purses or wraps and off season accessories, placing them on high shelves in your closet.

If you have more closet space then dresser space, hanging sweater bags will do the trick. They are cloth pockets that hang from the pole. You can not only use these for sweaters but work out clothes or pajamas. Anything light.

Designate a laundry bag for dry cleaning and mending. Hang it on a hook in the closet or on the back of the door.

Buy different colored hangers for family members if spouses or kids share closets. That makes it easy to identify whose clothes are whose.

Finally, uniform hangers really do make your closet feel clean and organized. Do away with the dry cleaner, wire hangers and spruce up your closet.