Monthly Archives: March 2015

3 Ways to Turn Your Home Into the Home You’ve Always Wanted

home

homeHome is where the heart is, but sometimes your heart wants more—and there is nothing wrong with that!

You should at least be practical about it, though. Instead of dropping what you already have, why not build from it? It is actually a common phenomenon Down Under. By the last quarter of the previous year, Australia has been crowned the renovation nation as report shows that one in 10 Aussies renovate their home every month.

Seeing that most Australian homeowners are choosing to improve their homes, more people have become happy with their abodes. Taking the first step, be it small or big, can bring you closer to your dream home. What’s stopping you?

Million Dollar Makeovers says renovating your home should not burn a hole through your wallet — it is genuinely up to you how much you choose to do and spend. Here are 3 ways that can transform your turf into your dream living space:

Idea-Y

We’ve all got to start somewhere, right? The ever-present Pinterest and Instagram has helped the lives of many with their DIY projects. From food, to home design, to life hacks, and innovations, it is easy to find projects you can do on your own that can improve the overall feel and look of your home.

Redecoration

If you do not have the time, energy, and money to allot for DIY projects, you can make do with your resources at home. A little rearrangement and such might just do the trick. New perspectives and ways to decorate your home may refresh the way you look at your home—not knowing that everything you are looking for was just in front of you this whole time.

Improve

This often leads to innovation, which is great. Improvising not only lets you use your imagination, but it lets you maximise the use of your belongings. Bring out the frugal person in you and think of all the things you can do with the stuff that you hoard, like empty wine bottles.

While we all want to get our dream home, starting small goes a long way. Major repairs and renovations can follow with the help of professionals.

Planning to be the Next (William, not Paris) Hilton

hotel for sale

hotel for saleThe idea of ‘buying’ a hotel may seem strange. You stay at hotels; you do not buy them. However, the accommodation business can be very lucrative if you do your homework. It helps if you have some experience in the hotel industry, but it is not necessary as long as you have a business plan. You also need to find a suitable hotel for sale, of course.

Resort Brokers Australia offers a brief guide to the more entrepreneurial-minded.

Freehold vs.Leasehold

There are two ways that you can buy a hotel. You can buy the business (leasehold) or the property (freehold). Leasehold means you own the hotel business but not the land, which means you have to pay rent to the landowner. If are buying the property where a hotel is operational, you are buying a freehold going concern (FHGC).

Cost

Any business requires capital. The hotel business is no different and it may take less initial cash than you might think. In most cases, buying a hotel is like buying a house. You need to come up with the down payment and amortise the rest over a prescribed period. The main difference is a hotel can make money for you. When choosing a hotel for sale, you should check if the revenue is enough to offset what you are paying for it.

In general, leasehold requires less money than FHGC because you are not buying the property. This means you can get your money back faster with leasehold than FHGC. On the other hand, you do not own the land where your hotel is located. You will have to give up your hotel at the end of the contract unless you renew it. Of course, hotel leaseholds are usually long term, such as 40 years or more.

The decision to freehold or leasehold will depend on your plans for the future. In a nutshell, if you want to pass on your hotel to your children, then you want freehold. Meanwhile, if you just want to try out the hotel business, you should consider leasehold.

Becoming a Survivalist, Becoming a Survivor

survival kit

survival kitMurphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will certainly go wrong. This adage explains that the world can be harsh and ruthless. It’s true at times. Natural calamities, chaos in the social or political orders, and feared plagues and outbreaks are only some of the scenarios that attest to the axiom.

The consistency of these things has led people to form the movement called survivalism. People who uphold the movement’s principles are called survivalists; they actively prepare for the things.

Deliberate Dynamics explains “Good enough” is for people that hang their hats on what they did yesterday.” Some people view survivalism as a way of life. It helps them view the world in a practical perspective. If you want to be part of this movement, here are some things you need to keep in mind.

 The Provisions

Food should be at the top of your list if you want to survive. This is not only important in extreme cases, such as earthquakes and wars. Extra provisions that are well thought of can be your salvation even during job loss and injuries. There are rations with a shelf life that lasts up to 25 years. Don’t forget to consider your water supply.

The Gear

People should use a bag that has enough room for the essentials. The bag should be lightweight and is placed within the house where you can easily get it in case you need to flee. It should contain the ration, survival knives, ropes, blankets, medicines, flashlights, and batteries. You may also include things that are likely to disappear during national emergencies.

You

You are the most important dimension of survivalism. In the midst of calamities or chaos, you need to have a clear, stable mind and reliable physical strength. Get in shape and train yourself about the basic skills that you may need in the wilderness, such as building a fire, finding a water, and constructing your shelter.

The dynamics of survivalism are actually more complicated than these. For now, these core aspects will ensure your survival in case something happens.

Switching Name Tags: Requirements to Change Your Name

Talk to lawyer

Talk to lawyerThere will sometimes be circumstances wherein people will need to change their names. The Witness Protection Act, political statements, and divorce count among the most common reasons people choose to change their legal identity. But, even though its common practice, the process isn’t as easy as television and movies make it look – not the legal one at least.

The requirements to qualify for a name change are an easy set of rules that would only require time for anyone to accomplish. The requirements listed here are qualifications set by the State of Utah; legislation from other States may have similar items, but it’s better to err on the side of caution regarding such rules.

If there’s confusion regarding the wording or meaning of any of the rules, we recommend talking to lawyers like the ones at buhlerlawoffice.com who specialize in family and immigration law. In order for someone to legally change their name they first need to be at least eighteen, and have been living in the US for at least a year prior to filing the name change.

Easy enough, right? Now for the disqualifications. A person can’t file for a name change if they’re involved in any kind of lawsuit, probation, or parole. Sex offenders are also stuck with their names as per Sec. 77-41-106 of the Utah Code.

Likewise, people can’t change their names for “unworthy motives,” which include avoiding creditors and fines, or committing fraud. In addition, courts will not allow a person to change their name to something that’s bizarre, ridiculous, unduly lengthy, or offensive to common decency and good taste. Better luck next time, Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.

These are just the requirements for people who want to get a name change; the actual process is a completely different story. Don’t confuse this post with legal advice, because there’s literally no advice written here. Talk to an actual lawyer because they know best, or go to a government website for more information.

The Best Timber Floors for Your House

Timber Floor

Timber FloorTimber floors never fail to add a sense of classic elegance to a home. In Australia, timber floors can be seen in more homes than vinyl or any other type of flooring. If you want to have timber floors installed on your new house, you need to know that there are different types of timber swatches that you can choose from.

1. American White Oak

This is a type of domestic hardwood found in the forests North America. Many homeowners prefer this type among the many timber floors for their Perth homes because its whitish hue can give any room a brighter ambience. This would perfectly fit into your home if you have chosen a light theme for your decors, furniture, and appliances. The American White Oak is quite hardy and can withstand a lot of rough treatment with barely a noticeable scratch or dent.

2. French Oak

This is another type of light-hued hardwood, though it is often a bit darker than the American White Oak. French Oak has a more exotic look that is often reminiscent of the old colonial farmhouses. If your chosen home decor brings out the old-world glamour of Perth, timber floors made of French Oak would be the best choice to complement it. This flooring adds a sense of vibrant warmth to the house because of its uniquely worn appearance.

3. Tasmanian Oak

If you want to install timber floors in your home that is made of home-grown hardwood, the Tasmanian Oak is the best choice. This timber flooring bears the unique characteristic of having slightly pinkish hues running along its pale to white brown timber tint. It provides a neater appearance to the any room because its grains run in a straight line along the entire length of the wood. This is the perfect match for modern decors and furniture.

Regardless of the type of timber that you choose, there is no denying the fact that timber floors always add a sense of classic glamour to a house.

3 Most Expensive Carpets that Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Floor Rug

Floor RugRugs can be expensive depending on the materials, design, antique value and quality. Make your rugs last like these most expensive carpets sold in auction.

Ushak Rug

A circa 1600 small medallion Ushak rug closed its value for around $158,000, which is thrice its base estimated value of $40,000. The West Anatolia carpet was a part of a private New York Collection. It is deemed as one of the most expensive carpets of 2008.

Measuring around 4 feet in length and 3 feet in width, this carpet gained its value for having prominent medallion-like embroidery in the middle. Its exceptional brick red base color gives a great contrast to its delicate design.

Silk Isfahan Rug

The circa 1600 silk Isfahan rug originating in Central Persia topped the most expensive rug list in 2008. Auctioned by the same Ushak rug auctioneer, its value was $4,450,000.

Unlike the Ushak rug, this silk rag has subtle colors including cornflower, citrine, taupe, and other greenish yellow shades. Intricate embroideries are formed using teal, peacock blue, black and different raspberry shades.

Its material and embroideries made it among the rarest carpets that have ever surfaced in the market.

Even if you don’t have the money to buy a rare rug, you can find some alternatives that have good embroidery. You will need to care for these, though. Embroideries can easily fade without proper maintenance like going to rug and carpet cleaning companies in Draper.

17th-Century Persian Rug

The 17th-centry Persian rug took the spot away from the silk Isfahan rug after having a closing value of around $33.8 million. The final bidder remained anonymous.

Also having a vibrant brick red base color, this prized carpet has rare vase technique patterns. Other rugs may also have the same pattern, but this is the only one available in red.

Rare carpets are indeed high valued home items. However, even if your rug doesn’t cost as much, you still need to clean it to make it last.

4 Exotic Fruits and Vegetables that You Can Eat Safely

Durian

Exotic FruitsIt is always fun trying out different foods. There are unique tastes and you may find some exotic fruits surprising. Familiarize yourself with exotic fruits that may look or smell weird, but are safe to eat.

Buddha’s Hand

The shape of Buddha’s hand can make people uncomfortable. When viewed at a different angle, its tentacle-like fingers look as if it’s about to attack. However, the citrus fruit is useful in perfume making.

Like the lime, other cultures find it useful for the zest. It got its name for resembling Buddha’s hands while meditating.

Celeriac

This root vegetable is popular in Europe for being a potato alternative during wintertime. It is also a good substitute for potato chips if you want to minimize your starch intake.

Durian

Durian is a favourite fruit in many Asian countries. Its popularity is starting to reach other countries, but you have to experience its unpleasant characteristics before getting to the tasty fruit.

Its exterior has large spikes. Upon tearing through the skin, you will notice its strong smell. Getting through this, however, is rewarding because of the soft and fleshy core inside.

Trying durian in its actual form is the best way of enjoying this fruit, but there are always durian candies if you can’t handle the odour.

Kiwano Melon

This type of melon has an otherworldly appeal with its spines or horns on the skin. Inside the spiny skin is a succulent green jelly core with edible seeds that is citrusy in taste. Typically grown in New Zealand, Southern Africa and California, this fruit was also seen on Star Trek.

Those who enjoy fruits like this may want to take advantage of buying wholesale fruit and veg. Brisbane has white sweet potatoes and passionfruit for the slightly less adventurous.

Ordering exotic produce can be challenging due to their availability. Enjoy regular fruits and vegetables in the meantime.

Roof Repair: 4 Things That Will Stall Your Project

roof repair

roof repairThe roof and the walls form the most important structural aspects of any house. Keeping your roof at its best will protect your loft from leaks and keep it free of damp spots. Since these take longer to show, especially if you have a properly insulated loft, many homeowners tend to ignore roof maintenance.

Here are simple tips to handling all your roof problems the easy way:

Don’t postpone

“I’ll have it done next month, or before the end of this autumn.” This an ancient recipe for disaster. Postponing your roof repair only serves to amplify the problem. That simple leak will soon ruin your entire loft. That loose side shingle will eventually catch the wind and pull neighbouring shingles loose.

Don’t change your mind too often

With the roof repair comes the responsibility of choosing who should do it and what roofing style to model on. Making up your mind before calling in the contractor seals the deal on a definite budget plan. Every change you make after this, no matter how small, will always have a positive impact on the project’s budget and completion time.

Don’t buy your own things

Letting your roof repair contractor handle all the purchases is both time-consuming and costly. A good roof repair expert will have connections. They will most likely get the material at a subsidised cost. But, if you insist on making the purchases, you should consider going through a couple of guides before making your first purchase.

Don’t forget the home’s theme

If you intend to do a complete roof overhaul, remember to go with a roofing style that complements the rest of your house. Every house has a theme. It could be a town house, a villa or an oriental home. Choosing the right roof not only keeps the elements out, but also makes sure that your home looks and feels complete.

Whatever you do, do not start a roof repair project without a complete idea of what you want to do. Get an expert to do a comprehensive roof survey before laying out an elaborate project plan.

The Valley Presents the Best Indie Shopping in Brisbane

restaurant

Fortitude Valley, or The Valley as it is known to locals, was infamously known as Brisbane’s shady and seedy precinct. In recent years however, it has managed to make a name for itself as a home to quirky cafes, up and coming artists, musicians, designers, and indie shopping this side of Australia.

restaurantHere is a sampler of what you can find in Brisbane – including the best restaurants:
Indie Shopping Valley Style

Brunswick Street houses Fallow, a shop featuring the best fashion and accessories in The Valley. You can also find Incub8r and Heidi Go Seek near Fallow for gorgeous handmade wares featuring the best handcrafters in the country. Turning a corner to Ann Street, you’ll find more drool-worthy clothing stores such as Dogstar, Akira, Mai-occhi, Blonde Venus, and Babushka Ballerina where you’ll find stunning gowns.

Across the street you’ll see Downes Shoes, known to be one of the oldest enduring shops in The Valley. It has stood in the same location for over a hundred years. Next up is Winn Street, for those who want to experience the most adorable laneway in The Valley. Here you can visit The Outpost for quirky urban wear, Tym Guitars, and an assortment of small shops like the Sunday Social for vintage finds and Atavist Books, and other popup stores. For the ultimate vintage and retro inspired finds, you can check out Trash Monkey.

Other Things to Do in the Valley

Aside from featuring an indie shopping extravaganza, The Valley is also known to be home to restaurants that make it a foodie heaven. And what better way to cap off a day of shopping than to head out and eat, relax, have a drink (or three), and nurse your tired feet?

In addition, should your shopping trip fall on a weekend, you can check out the popular Valley Markets in Brunswick Mall and Chinatown Mall. This weekly event was founded 20 years ago and after much revamping now features up and coming music, art, food, fashion, accessories, and plenty of vintage and handmade wares.

The Valley is one of the most fashionable spots in an already fashionable city. Drop by and eat your heart out – or drink, whichever takes your fancy.

Expats’ Health Insurance Woes

expatriate

According to a recent study conducted by HSBC, Singapore tops the list of the best countries to be an expat in, then the UAE and US tied for second, followed by Belgium and Hong Kong.

expatriateThe survey showed that Hong Kong attracts high-earning expats, the majority of whom are in the Finance industry and receive an average salary of $200,000 every year. This makes the region the go-to destination for professionals in the field, as many financial jobs all over the world are failing while HK sees a 15% rise.

Now, I am sure all of you are looking for the sign-up sheet, but hold your horses. Do you know what you should prioritise when you get into the expat life? Topping that list should be your health.

Let’s say you’re earning very well, of course you’d like to maximise your money’s worth and spend it on the things you want. How about your needs? Your health needs, to be exact.

Here’s what most expats frequently ask:
What Plan would suit me?

Whether you’re staying until you figure things out or for good, you need a secure plan for your health. There are special health insurance packages for expats in Hong Kong that allows you to choose how you want your insurance to work for you.

These plans may be customised however you want — coverage is totally up to you, checkups, hospitalisation, medical evacuation, etc.

Is it Worth it?

As a foreigner living in an unfamiliar place, there are many health risks from numerous factors like food, environment, and even illnesses. In this respect, you have to understand that your body is working hard to adjust to everything new it’s experiencing.

While it may seem like a good idea to go to a doctor when you feel like it, this limits your visits to the GP.  While it is good to address the problems as they arise, but it is even better to prevent them from going through regular checkups. A regular health check and medical tests  will require money, which is why getting a health insurance plan is worth it.

Sure, living the expat life abroad is great, and earning well is even more so! Nevertheless, this means having more money to better fulfil your needs. As an expat, nothing is for certain, so you have to make sure that you’re covered, come what may.