outdoor heater

Re-Discover Your Backyard

At a time when even more cruise ships are being built to meet the need of people wanting to get away from it all, many others are re-discovering their own backyard. Families are choosing “staycations” over vacations. Many are choosing to not be taken away from the oasis they have personally built and own.

Backyards have not always been for recreation. Actually up to the 1940s, people who had some small amount of land in the back of the house used it to grow food. The backyard was a place for work not fun. As History Of The Backyard (As We Know It) says “In the late 1800s and up to the end of World War II, even those not living in strictly rural settings used their backyards as spaces to support the economies of their households. This meant food gardens that would support the appetites and nutritional needs of everyone living there. The same went for livestock, with those animals who provided eggs, meat, and milk. Even animals need a place to crash. The backyard was it.”

These days, the backyard is our place of rest and relaxation. We can set up mini versions of a baseball field, a volleyball court and many other recreational activities. We can also build an outdoor living space, like a kitchen or living room complete with a flat screen TV. Our backyard can be just about anything we can imagine.

We want to be in the backyard even if the temperature is cold. To satisfy that requirement, an outdoor heater is just the answer. The Lava Lite KD Patio Heater is a liquid Propane Gas Patio Heater. The Lava Lite KD can be utilized all year-long in the comfort of your outdoor environment. Surrounding the tube are steel grills that never get hot and put a safe distance between you and the flame encased in weather resistant glass. Adding to the appeal of Lava Lite KD are chrome reflectors at each inner corner of the unit, which visually enhance the flame by dispersing the light and adding an ambient glow. Safety is further ensured by the built-in SafeTilt switch, which shuts down the unit if it tilts or falls over.

At AddvantageUSA, we understand the value of staying at home building real life memories with the family right in our own back yard. Call us at 888.601.5527.

 

home remodeling project

How to Choose Your Next Home DIY Projects

Since the holidays are over and Spring is just around the corner, now is time to start planning those home DIY projects. But the question is how to choose which project to do. There are so many on the list.

You need to compile the total wish list and prioritize the projects. Then make sure you have the right tools to get the job done. And keep YouTube close to help you with the How-To part of the projects.

In prioritizing the projects, Veri Construction states in their post called Suggestions on How to Prioritize Your Home Remodeling Projects;

  1. Need – This can be driven by the need to repair your home. There can also be the need that is driven by a new addition to the family, such as a child or a parent.
  2. Desire – There can be that room in your home you never liked and now is the time to consider changing it. The emotional value to you could be very high, such as a larger bathroom shower to help make the morning a more pleasant experience.
  3. Gain in Resale Value – This is the type of remodeling project that is driven by the objective of increasing the value of your property.

Need is a top priority. But desire is important too. If you can add the ingredient of adding value to your home while meeting your needs and desires, you have chosen winning projects.

Now the issue is to choose a first project. One way to choose what project to tackle first is to start with a project that you can finish successfully and within budget. Know your skills, access to knowledge and the tools you will need. The success of a project is greatly effected by the tools you have. Those tools can be expensive. That is when you start to look at alternatives such as reconditioned tools.

DeWALT offers an excellent solution. DeWALT Reconditioned is a brand name owned by the DeWALT company. It is only applied to (1) DeWALT tools that (2) were returned to DeWALT, and (3) reconditioned by DeWALT.

These reconditioned tools have been restored to the same performance standards as new. And, DeWALT backs it up with the same Limited Lifetime Warranty they give with their new tools.

These are the types of tools that can become DeWALT Reconditioned:

  • Store display tools: These are the ones that are placed in stores to show off their inventory. They are routinely recycled back to DeWALT.
  • Customer returns: These are tools that customers return to a store, often because the customer gets the tool home and says, “wait, that’s not the thing I need.” If a tool has had any real use, it does not make it into the reconditioning assembly line.
  • Overstocks: Most DeWALT Reconditioned Tools were inventory for a store that stocked too many tools. Many that aren’t sold are returned to the factory. These tools will be examined and tested, and, if they pass the test they become DeWalt Reconditioned.

All of this means you can depend on DeWALT Reconditioned the same way that you would depend on new tools from DeWALT. Same tool, same company, same warranty, and same great quality.

So, make sure you choose the best projects that meets your needs, desires and increases your home resale value. If you are looking for quality tools that can be paid for over time, look into the Tools at AddvantageUSA. 

 

Mototec Wheelman

The Evolution of Skateboarding to the Motorized Wheelman

If you want to get your young son or daughter out of the house and away from the video games, the newest motorized skateboard called a Wheelman could very well be the solution.

A Wheelman can go over smooth surfaces or off-roading in the grass or dirt. The large wheels gives the rider options of different terrains and surfaces to cruise.

This new generation skateboard has a center mounted engine that can be gas or electric with a frame supported at each end by two-wheel. Your feet are inserted into the two wheels while standing upright. You balance like a traditional skateboard but have much greater flexibility as to where you ride.

Generally consensus says skateboarding began in the 1950’s, although no one can say who developed the first skateboard. Many attached a wooden box to an old pair of roller skates. no one was yet buying a skateboard from a store pre-made. In the sixties, skateboarding was having its first peak as a fun pastime. Skateboard companies began mass producing skateboards as single planks of wood with roller skate type wheels.

The fad faded until it restarted in the mid 70’s and continued strong through the 80’s. The technology took a leap in the way the wheels were made and their design. This catapulted the skateboard from being a pastime to being a recognized sport because of the added tricks that took skill and athleticism. There was a mild pause in the popularity of skateboarding in the 90’s where it lost its momentum. But X Games gave skateboarding the attention it needed to regain its fan base.

The evolution for the skateboard would not stand still. Motors have been added while still maintaining the same physical posture and skills used in the originally designed skateboard. The motor can be gasoline powered or electric. An example of an electric-powered skateboard is the MotoTec Wheelman V2 1000W. Its maximum speed is 20 MPH with a ride time of 1.5 hours. The frame is aluminum with a finger throttle and a cable disc brake. The recommended Age is 16+ years old.

The skateboard continues to get kids out of the house doing an athletic activity that takes practice and is physically healthy. If you are looking to acquire a MotoTec Wheelman on monthly payments while improving your credit, contact AddvantageUSA at 888-601-5527.

Couple buying first home

Consider This When Planning to Purchase Your First Home

Now is the time to start executing those plans you have for the future. The Christmas Holidays are over and all the gifts are bought for everyone else. Now is the time to invest in yourself.

One way to invest in your future is to buy a home for your family. Many families are looking to buy their first home this year. This trend is due to the savings incurred from owning a home over renting. According to Trulia, “Homeownership remains cheaper than renting in all 100 largest U.S. metro areas. In fact, buying is 35% cheaper than renting now, compared with 33% cheaper one year ago.”

The article goes on to say, “Homeownership remains cheaper than renting in all 100 largest U.S. metro areas. In fact, buying is 35% cheaper than renting now, compared with 33% cheaper one year ago. Paradoxically, home price growth nationally has outpaced rents over the past year. So what gives? Two things. First, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate has fallen from 4.5% in 2014 to 3.87% today (as of April 15). Second, the 3.9% home price gain wasn’t much larger than the 3.7% gain in rents. In the past year, these two trends have made homeownership even more affordable compared with renting.

Trulia’s Rent vs. Buy Report assumes a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage with a 20% down payment. But for those looking to buy a home, apartment, or condo with homeowner association (HOA) fees, the extra cost could make renting a more attractive option.”

However, all of that good Holiday cheer and gift buying may have caused a hit on your credit. You may also have less ready cash for those things you would need before moving into you new home.

When buying a home, the interest rate can be greatly impacted by, both, your down payment and your credit rating (FICO Score). AdvantageUSA credit program helps you to get the things you need for your future home and will help you establish personal credit worthiness for your first new home purchase.

The AddvantageUSA credit program or store credit account helps your credit rating the same way that any major credit card or department store account helps you. Think for a second or two about how that works.

  • You want/need to buy something
  • You don’t want to/can’t afford to pay cash
  • The credit program lends you money
  • You buy now and make monthly payments
  • Your credit becomes established

As our Post How does an AddvantageUSA online account help my credit? states, “Don’t blow it. We report the good and the bad. If you use your credit wisely, and if you make your payments on time the way you are supposed to do it, then you will have the chance to create new payment history on your credit reports. Good payment history will definitely improve your credit reputation. That reputation is measured by your credit score. The higher it is, the better your reputation. On the other hand, late payments, defaults, or payments in amounts smaller than the amount due will create negative credit history and bring down your credit score.”

Contact AddvantageUSA for more information and assistance or call us at 888.601.5527

Safe online Holiday ordering

Safe Online Shopping – A Must for the Holidays

It’s one of the busiest shopping weekends ushering in the busiest shopping season of the year, but what if you aren’t up for getting out in all the chaos or what if your life (or the little ones at home with you) make it where you don’t feel like it’s worth the effort? Never fear! You aren’t alone if you decide to avoid the crowds and stay hold up at home. In fact, you are part of what is becoming more and more of a popular trend in this day and age… the online shopping experience!

BUT, if you decide to do your shopping online, make sure you are taking steps to stay safe!

Who is it?

Is this a reputable company you are purchasing from or are you going with some obscure company because they are offering you a deal that is way better than anything you can find elsewhere? It may not be a scam, but if it sounds too good to be true, it may be. Play it safe and make sure you are ordering from a website/company that has a good reputation.

What is it?

What have you ordered and how much did you pay? Make sure to keep records of your transactions, as well as any confirmation numbers. Check your credit card statements or bank account to make sure it is showing up properly. If it is not, address it immediately.

Where is it?

Make sure you are using a secure network and a computer you trust. Avoid using a public computer or free, public Wi-Fi, where hackers can easily break into your system and quickly access your information. Unless you have a program installed that can protect you, it’s better to wait until you are on a secure network to shop.

And how?

How does the company have its payment form set up? If it is not encrypted, you may want to purchase from somewhere else. In the post 9 Tips for Safe Online Shopping it states, “Before you purchase anything from a web site, verify that the vendor has encrypted its payment form. Many sites use SSL (secure sockets layer) technology to encrypt information flowing between your computer and the store’s server.”

Whether you feel calm as you approach holiday shopping or anxious for waiting too long, make your online shopping experience stress-free as possible. Use these common sense precautions to avoid potential pitfalls of shopping online for the holidays.

Are you looking for a company that cares about protecting your online identity, and that can help you find gifts for everyone on your shopping list? AddvantageUSA is able to do just that. Visit us today and let us help you cross off the items you are looking for with ease and peace of mind!

Carving a Turkey

The Keys to Carving a Thanksgiving Turkey are the Presentation and the Cutlery

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michelangelo

If you do not see the relationship of this quote from Michelangelo to the carving of a Thanksgiving turkey, then say “no” when asked to do the honor of the final step in preparing the bird for the feast. Step away from the carving table and let someone whom appreciates the assignment to step in your place.

If you do appreciate the great honor of being front and center during the time of the evening when anticipation is at a crescendo, then read on.

All eyes are on you, judging your skill and watching for any lack of confidence. You must be prepared to embrace the moment. Preparation requires a previously established knowledge of the optimum steps. Never show a kink in your armor by looking up at your Uncle for reassurance in your decisions. Never.

Confidently pick up your carving knife, examine its blade for the appropriate sharpness, and masterfully run the blade across the honing steel. Actually, do this even if the blade is like a razor. You look good when you are doing it.

Now, the real work begins. There are many suggestions on how to carve a turkey. Many suggest that the parts are separated before the breast is carved. This seems logical. But, this is not about logic. This is all about the experience. The fact is that carving the limbs off of a very large bird can be visually disturbing to some people, and, at the very least, boring to most others.

Instead, slowly guide the blade across the breast meat allowing the juice to flow down the browned skin. Even the skirmish will find this action to be delectable. The goal is to have the observers eyes dilated as their mouths salivate.

Pile the juicy white meat slices high on a serving plate. You need only to do one side to achieve the effect desired. Pass the plate of cleanly sliced meat to the middle of the table. All eyes will go to that plate with human sounds announcing group approval. Then proceed to dismember the bird, breaking the thighs away from the body, the legs from the thighs and finishing with the wings. The dark meat eaters will gaze back at your activity in between their passing of the potatoes and vegetables. The dark meat should be piled high on a second plate for distribution. Conversation will be in full swing as you finish up by carving the remaining side of the breast to refill the now empty plate of white meat.

The guests anticipation has been met with your confident culinary skill and understanding of the presentation.

HenckelsThis traditional event of carving the Turkey began with a knife. There is no doubt that the carving knife must be of high quality for success to be achieved. Check out AddvantageUSA cutlery knives to ensure your success at the carving table this Thanksgiving.

 

 

Mom and the Holidays

It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking About the Holidays

Autumn is here, and the start of the new season ushers in many exciting things to come. Kids have settled into their routines at school, along with their many after-school activities. But beyond cooler weather, football games, and pumpkin spice lattes, autumn is full of excitement with holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Let’s be honest though, before the Halloween candy has been removed from store shelves, we start seeing Christmas trees and other holiday decorations overtaking stores in anticipation of the big holiday rush. Why wait for the big rush, when you can start buying gifts for your loved ones now?

In the recent post, One More Thing About Why We Love Our Moms, it discusses how moms are always thinking forward about what is to come. It says, “When the kids are trick or treating, mom is having a great time. But, she is also planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kids will be opening Christmas presents. Mom will be there, heart and soul. But, she also has an eye on the fact that school will start again soon and she has things she wants ready for that.”

So yes, Mom may be thinking ahead about the holidays and what needs to be done, but so can you. In fact it’s never too early to start getting ready for the holidays. How great would it be to have all of your gifts bought ahead and then be able to relax and enjoy the fun of the holiday season!  It would be so much better than feeling the stress of waiting too late and not being able to find the right gifts for the people you love most. In the post, Take the Stress out of Christmas by Planning Ahead, [email protected] agrees. She states, “By making some positive steps toward getting your holiday plans and needs in order now, you can spend more time enjoying family and friends when the season actually arrives.”

So go ahead and start thinking through your lists of who you will be buying for and what you would like to get them. Does your son want the Xbox 360 or has your wife been dropping hints for some time that she would love some diamond stud earrings? Just think how impressed she will be when you surprise her with them and even better when she finds out you put so much thought into it that you bought them months ahead. And again, the more you can get done now, the more time you will have to really take in the true joys the holiday season brings.

Visit AddvantageUSA and see the broad range of gifts we have for all of the people you will be buying for this holiday season. Or talk with one of our representatives to learn about our gifts for children, men, and/or women.  (888-601-5527)

Moms and daughter

One More Thing About Why We Love Our Moms

In the never-ending flow of (often superficial) self-help advice, there are innumerable slogans that tell us to “Live today.” “Be in the now.” “Live the Moment.” Somehow, this advice flows right by our mothers – and thank goodness for that.

Unconstrained by “the now”, moms are the most agile of time jumpers. They can recall when Joey’s first basketball team won its first game and Maria’s first role in a grade school play. Moms know how to join their kids in whatever is going on today with what will be happening in their future. Moms know how to look ahead, over the horizon, and plan for a moment that their kids won’t realize for a month, a year, or a long time from now.

So, we may learn one more way to appreciate the mothers in our lives by appreciating them for the ways they live in the past, present, and future all at the same time – especially the future.

When we are young we move from one big event to the next. We arrive at the first day of school, a birthday party, or a holiday without ever realizing that our moms have been thinking, imagining, and planning for the big day long before we do.

Take the first days of school. The kiddos are oblivious until a few days before the big event when, suddenly, they panic because summer freedom is about to disappear. But mom? Beginning somewhere just past the middle of summer, mom was living the first week of school and thinking of all that she needed to do before it arrived. She had a list: clothes, school supplies, lunches and snacks, carpools, and meeting teachers, along with afterschool activities such as sports, cheerleading, music lessons, dance class, math club, science club– all the things that coincide with the first days of school.

Mom begins to look ahead fairly early in the summer and by the time school starts she is doing a magical thing that moms do better than most anyone else –she’s doing two things at once. Mother is there with her kids, being a part of the moment, doing the practical daily chores, encouraging them to live well, do well, be kind, and enjoy themselves. And, at the same time as the kids are settling in to the new routine, mom is thinking about an upcoming birthday party or Halloween costumes.

Now, apply this magic over a whole calendar. When the kids are trick or treating, mom is having a great time. But, she is also planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. Kids will be opening Christmas presents. Mom will be there, heart and soul. But , she also has an eye on the fact that school will start again soon and she has things she wants ready for that. When school starts, Mom is thinking about a Valentine’s dance or Easter.

We do not mean to suggest that any mother does this perfectly, or needs to. Nor are we suggesting that our moms are automatons working for a future that never arrives. Mothers make mistakes, forget things, and experience moments of failure. Moreover, in the midst of it all, moms are also working, achieving personal goals, and enjoying friendship with other adults.

What we are saying is that mothers can teach us a lot if we look at how they observe the past, present, and future as a whole. For mom, time is something organic and elastic, and she uses it to bring together all of the experiences that make her life and her children’s lives as joyful and productive and satisfying as possible at any given moment, on any given day, during any month or year or lifetime.

The gift that mothers have to live in “the now” while at the same time imagining and planning for the future is not just to be appreciated, but also to be celebrated. This is one more thing to love about our moms.

Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

The Incredible Dragonfly in Art and Jewelry

Dragonflies arouse the imagination and dragonfly mythology has inspired art –poetry, paintings, totems, jewelry– in almost every culture and tradition. They are said to be messengers of joy, prosperity, and renewal. The imagination of the dragonfly arises from its unique characteristics, especially the fact that it transitions from one realm, water, to another, air.

The dragonfly begins its life in water. Dragonfly larvae live under the surface, some of them for as long as four years. There they eat almost anything, including tadpoles, mosquitoes, fish, and other larvae. When they mature, the dragonflies move their heads above the water’s surface and will spend a few hours up to as much as a day adjusting to breathing air.

Once they can breathe they will crawl to land and begin to dry. As they dry their larval shell begins to crack. Eventually the dragonfly unpacks itself. The long body/tail that has been compressed will unfold like a telescope to the long tube-shaped body. Over this it spreads the familiar four translucent wings. Those wings play with light, or perhaps light plays with the wings. In any event, the effect is a rainbow of color that changes from moment to moment as the dragonfly moves.

With a little imagination on our part we can see the dragonfly as a metaphor of our own activities. We pass from our daily lives, “under water,” into moments of revelation and delight as we travel, daydream, pray, and meditate. You might ask yourself, “how are dragonfly art pieces reminiscent of my own spiritual journey?”

 

 

Wearing Dragonfly Jewelry is an old tradition around the world. When you wear dragonfly earrings, are you reminding yourself of the whispers of creativity that arrive when you least expect them? Perhaps, the dragonfly necklace reminds you of the magical feelings in your heart when you have a special insight that was years in the making, something that was percolating inside until it suddenly arrives with a flash of brilliance. It could even be that the dragonfly you wear reminds you of the incredible things that you can do with “wise hands.”Baroque Silver Dragonfly Earrings, Pendant, Ring, Bracelet

If the dragonfly speaks to you, then you know something of this connection. And, if you have never thought of the dragonfly this way, then you may want to give this fascinating creature some thought. You never know how it might inspire you. There are many sites that flit over the top of the dragonfly without considering much about the life it lives.

We suggest you start by thinking of the literal activities of this fascinating creature that is so much more than a “bug.” The Smithsonian has a good page where you can begin to learn more about the incredible dragonfly.

Groomsmen gifts from AddvantageUSA

Getting Married? Tips on Gifts from the Groom

Grooms have a much busier life these days than back in the day when men bought a ring, popped the question, said “I do,” and left for the honeymoon.

Okay, it was never quite that simple, but, if you are engaged to be married, chances are you have already discovered your bride wants you (expects you) to be involved. And, you are okay with that. But, you need to know the rules of the game. You do not want to be surprised – or to be surprising someone else. So, there need to be conditions.

 

First condition: you want clarity on the expectations.

  • What are my responsibilities? (This is the groom’s task list.)
  • What are the “don’t go there” places that are controlled strictly by the bride, mother of the bride, etc? Demand to know the boundaries so you don’t cross them.
  • What are the things you will do together and are expected to do alone?

Second condition: you want participation/consultation. It is not only your bride’s wedding ceremony; it is also yours. Most men are willing to have the bride and her mother plan the majority of the wedding, so long as there is good communication and general agreement about the couple’s preferences.

Third condition: you want to avoid unnecessary drama. Planning a wedding can be stressful. You want to emphasize the joy and fun of your engagement.

Here are a few suggestions to help ensure your happy life starts off on the right foot. We’re keeping it short and sweet.

  1. Keep the romance alive during the planning. Tell her you love her with small gifts and gestures that remind her you love her.
  2. Plan the honeymoon together making sure it meets her dreams.
  3. Choose one person (usually the groom) to be responsible for making the final honeymoon arrangements. Trust, but verify.
  4. Register together at your favorite places.
  5. Plan a bachelor’s celebration of marriage. Think steak dinners, a golf day, poker night, camp out, cigar bar, charter (fishing) boat, you know what you like. Avoid risks that would spoil the celebration, not just for the groom, but for all the men in the wedding party (no drinking and driving, no hospital emergency room). We have all seen the videos of members of the wedding party passing out during the ceremony. We all know how that happens. That is not the wedding video your bride has been dreaming about.

Get memorial gifts for your groomsmen, personal gift for the bride, and something that says “thank you” to her mother and father.  For your groomsman gift set think about engraved tie clips, cuff links, or a small pocketknife.  For her, something personal, perhaps a limited edition of her favorite book, artwork from a favorite artist, or a piece of fun (inexpensive) jewelry she can wear on the honeymoon. For her parents, consider having a graphics designer make a display of some honeymoon photos.

Check out AddvantageUSA for more ideas. Give us a call at 888-601-5527 and let us brain storm with you. We’ve done this before. We can help.