Vancouver, A Year Round Vacation Destination

Vancouver, British Columbia has consistently been ranked n the top of the world’s most desirable places to live in the world. The openness, quality of life, the diversity of outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains and the ocean at your doorstep as well as the modern cosmopolitan city centre and natural beauty all help to make this world class city truly unique. Not planning on living in Vancouver? Well you should at least visit to see for yourself what all the excitement is about!

Any time of the year you visit this gem of the Pacific Northwest will prove to be a memorable one. In the winter season you have all the mountain activities from heli-skiing to dog sledding in Whistler to snowshoeing or romantic log cabin dining in the Coastal Mountains. Enjoy an authentic Canadian mid-winter evening by catching a National Hockley League game at the Rogers Arena in the heart of downtown as the local Canucks team takes on a visiting challenger. Demand for tickets are extremely high so be sure to book your seats in advance or you can always see what’s available, usually at a premium, outside the stadium right before game time. Dining in Vancouver is wonderful year round; however, it is especially delightful in one of the many cozy restaurants on a brisk night with perfectly prepared local seafood hot out of the kitchen served with wine from one of British Columbia’s growing and acclaimed vineyards. The fireside ambiance in a dimly lit soothing environment really is the perfect evening out.

During the summer season the ocean is made more accessible by the perfectly hot temperatures from June to August but that doesn’t mean the mountains are out play. You can hike on established or less trekked trails throughout the surrounding area of Vancouver and feel as if you are 1000 miles away into the wilderness. You must be careful and take the proper precautions with local wildlife but a single or multi-day trip into the mountains and surrounding valleys is always a rejuvenating and empowering experience. Getting into the ocean by boat or on one of the many world-class beaches that surround the city will give you a real sense of the delights of these West Coast paradise. Sailing, swimming, yachting, kayaking, whale watching or just chilling on the beach, your day with the Pacific Ocean will be unforgettable. Spend the evening in one of the many restaurants of Vancouver or go for a stroll around Stanley Park to watch the sunset. Be sure to check out what festivals and shows are going on in Vancouver while you are there are the city attracts many international events and acts. Annual events that often draw a great deal of attention are the Celebrations of Lights fireworks show, Bard on the Beach Shakespear Festival, International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Sun Run and much more.

When planning your vacation to Vancouver be sure to pick the time of year that best suits what you’re looking for. Also, the city and surrounding area is quite large and the sites are not always accessible through the public transportation system. Consider renting a vehicle for you stay to ensure you get to see everything you want to on your schedule with the efficient guidance of a GPS so you don’t get lost on your way.

Vancouver has established itself as a world-class livable city and since the 2010 Winter Olympic games is establishing itself as a top vacation destination. Any time of the year it provides everything you would want from a relaxing destination holiday or an action packed adventure. Ensure you get to where you want to go in a timely manner by renting a vehicle to eliminate any hassles or unnecessary travel time.

Altadena Real Estate – A Look at the Numbers

The real estate market in Altadena, CA is red hot. Homes for sale in Altadena command high prices and never stay on the market very long. Why? Both realtors and residents will answer that by stating: Altadena is a very special place to live, work and relax.

Altadena is charming community located directly north of Pasadena at the base of the Angeles National Forest San Gabriel Mountains. Altadena is an unincorporated and 14 miles northeast from Downtown Los Angeles. This warm, Mediterranean climate has hot and dry summers that average highs of 91 degrees. The winters are essentially warm and windy with the lowest average temperature of 44 degrees. Altadena averages 21 inches of rainfall annually.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census – Altadena had a population of 42,777 people. With 8.71 square miles to share there were 4,909.6 people per square mile. This is average for Los Angeles County. The population was more diverse compared to other areas of the county with the dominate ethnicity being White at 52.8%, followed by 26.9% Latino, 23.7% Black, 5.4% Asian and 0.7% American Indian.

The population of Altadena is well educated in comparison to the rest of the county with 45.6% of residents aged 25 and up with a four year degree and 87.9% with a high school diploma. In regards to the male population: 57.8% were married, 32.9% had never been married, 7.1% had been divorced and 2.1% were widowed. The female population had53.9% who were married, 24.4% had never been married, 12.4% were divorced and 9.4% were widowed. The average age of Altadena was 37, which is an older average age compared to the rest of Los Angeles County. 9.8% of the people in population were veterans and 20.8% of residents were born in a foreign country. The average commute to work was 27.5 minutes. Altadena has a Walk Score of 48 out of 100 meaning that it is a car dependent city.

The average household size was 2.8 people, which was 9% higher than the national average. Approximately 74.6% of residents owned their homes. This was 10% higher than the national average. 25.4% of the population rented from a house, apartment or condominium. The 2010 Census declared there being 15,518 households with a median household income of $83,917. This is high compared to Los Angeles County.

Altadena real estate isn’t cheap, however. The median price of homes for sale in Altadena is $780,000. This is 226% higher than the national average. However, the average home value is $731,400. The price per square foot is $485. The current housing market “temperature” is neutral. Last year the home values increased by 8.1% and Zillow predicts they will rise only 1.9% within the next year. The average monthly rent is $2,921. This is 53% higher than the national average. The current housing market health is 6.9/10. This is healthy score given by Zillow in comparison to other housing markets across the country.

According to Area Vibes, Altadena has a livability score of 77 – extremely livable. This is higher than the national average of 70. This comfortable, safe community will continue to flourish and grow and produce beautiful homes by its affluent residents. If looking to buy or sell real estate in Altadena, make certain you perform your due diligence and find an experienced realtor who specializes in the area.

Important Facts About National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The Purpose of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Since December is one the busiest months of the year full of winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are a lot more social events and late night get-to-gathers where alcohol is available. Sadly, driving under the influence is quite common during holiday season. Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans. In December, we observe National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to create more awareness on the issue.

Some Important Facts About This Month

It is reported that every year, around 30 million people drive while intoxicated and around 10 million drivers go behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Nearly 25 people a day were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010. Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens.

Young adults (ages 21-34) are much more likely to die in a car crash after drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, 28 people in the United States lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children (ages 0-14), nearly 19% involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drugs other than alcohol are also a factor for traffic accidents.

Effective Preventive Measures

Prevention starts with our sense of personal responsibility. It is high time that drivers, irrespective of their age, start thinking about how they can practice safe driving and re-evaluate their driving habits.

Conducting school programs and educating teens on how important it is NOT to get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence would be an effective solution.

Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders also appears to be effective. Ignition interlocks in cars prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the specified level.

If you come across a possibly drunken driver on the road, immediately contact the police! Your timely action might save someone’s life.

Families play an essential role in putting an end to impaired driving. We should all educate our children about the risks involved in consuming alcohol or illicit drugs and especially how dangerous this is while driving.

If your holiday plans involve drinking liquor, make sure to always plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Every year, a higher volume of vehicles flood the roads. People rush to see their loved ones for the holidays and the odds of getting into a driving accident increase during these periods. While most people are well informed, there are still many other people who are not aware about how this easily avoidable problem could affect their loved ones. It is our personal duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is.

Organize a local awareness campaign to explain the risks involved and how drinking and driving can affect families. Surprise the attendees with customized giveaways. Silicone wristbands are perfect for such campaigns because they are original, durable, long-lasting and inspiring. You can get them in different colors, fonts, sizes and styles. Wristbands carry messages. Choose from “Think and Drive”, “Never Drink and Drive” or come up with something of your own.

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Quick Payback With Cheap EDDM Marketing

Every business needs a marketing plan to be successful. An effective way to get a fast return on promotional marketing campaigns is Every Door Direct Mail, (EDDM), a U.S. postal service for local business that can benefit from targeted zip codes to every house or house and businesses right down to the individual carrier route. Compared to traditional direct mail has very low distribution costs. The cost is $0.183 for each piece. This is cost-effective marketing solution that generates fast sales to new and old customers. Another benefit to EDDM is that it is delivered the day after it arrives at the post office. Direct mail can take weeks to be delivered and you may not know when it is delivered.

There are 6 standard sizes for EDDM: 4.5 X 12, 6 X 12, 6.5 X 12 6.5 X 9, 8 X 6.5 and 8.5 X 7. All sizes cost the same to mail. In addition to cheap mailing fees, there is no need to buy expensive mailing lists and address imprinting. Just select the zip codes in your target areas right down to the individual carrier route. To make this even easier, let your printing service handle the paperwork and delivery to post offices of your choice.

With this EDDM marketing, you can mail directly to local residential customers in the address area of the card. The maximum quantity allowed in this retail program is 5,000 to 25,000 a day at any one post office. Mailers must be bundled in 50 or 100 so they can be quickly distributed to the right carrier.

Put in your target zip codes and choose using breakdowns showing residential, business, total, age 25-44, size, income and cost. This free easy-to-use demographic guide map lets you select the best neighborhoods to give you a fast return on your investment.

You can deliver to other post offices as long as you send a minimum of 5,000 to each. This is so the post offices are not overloaded with EDDM mail. Another advantage is that many printing services offer full service mailing. They do the paperwork, bundling and delivery to your post offices of your choice. Having your printing service do the mailing for you allows you to not pay sales tax as you are not taking possession of this printing.

This quick return marketing plan is best with local businesses such as take out and restaurants, realtors, dry cleaners, retail stores, auto dealerships, contractors and home services, medical professionals, health and beauty services – to name just a few business that can benefit from this promotion.

One very important tip is that this is not a one-time test to see if you can recover your cost in your first mailing. If you offer a valuable discount sale you should get your investment back in a short time. The best way to get high returns is by making your EDDM campaign a monthly mailing to keep you brand in front of people’s eyes so they remember your business.

Using this EDDM program is a great way to get a fast return on your promotional marketing campaigns. It can save you in mailing costs as well as saturate any area you want to concentrate sales. Whether you use full service EDDM printing or do it yourself, this is a successful way to target your audience without spending a lot of money.

Expat Clubs Groups and Associations

Expat Groups are a way for those living abroad to meet and make new friends with like minded people who are living in a country other than their own. Whether you are traveling the world for leisure or working for large or small global corporation, when you first arrive at a new country you can be ‘lost at sea’ and not having any friends can be both daunting and lonely. The challenge is to find and join expat groups, clubs and association to help you adjust to a new way of life, in what may be an exciting move, yet alien and strange at first. Expats, Travel, Food and Hospitality go hand in hand and many expats living abroad crave for their home grown foods and beverages whilst being away from home. Fortunately due to the world of online shopping and web surfing expats can order food and beverage, gift packages, fine wine, premium beers and ales and all kinds of alcoholic beverages and have them shipped directly to their door without having to leave their living room.

Additionally they can search for and find catering companies for their corporate function of social event. Whilst playing tennis and going to movies and enjoying many of the wonders of a new country may be fun, expats often still feel the loneliness, especially when they come to make friends only to find their friends have moved on to work in another county. And so the wheels of the merry go rounds continues to turn and the need for companionship and familiarity can be so powerful that it can often leave you sad depressed and totally alone. This is where familiar food and beverages from home can help to ease that void and Expats from around the world can now find many of the foods from their country of origin here at the worlds first and only dedicated directory for fine food and premium beverages.

Expats can buy directly from global specialty food stores and they can even find local and international logistics companies for all their logistics and transport needs. Be it the need to ship a case of wine from one Australia to China or a whole container load of personal effects. Be sure to visit our logistics platform to search our detailed list of the world’s most reputable and experienced freight forwarders, airlines, shipping lines, customs agents and global removals companies for all your transport needs.

Silver Jewelry – A Must for Your Next Occasion

How often have you browsed through an e-catalog of sterling jewelry diamond jewelry and said, “I wish I could have them all.” Several women love to show off the elegance of such jewels, be it bracelets, earrings, studs, rings, pendants or necklaces.

Jewelry made from silver and integrated with diamonds are high quality and gives off a pleasant shine to make them as valuable as they are. They have the desired qualities of being smooth and delicate and are resistant to wear and tear.

Personal Appeal of Sterling Silver

After years of making its occurrence in the world, sterling silver has maintained its position of uniqueness. It provides a different style statement to make women swoon at its amazing qualities.

The charm of silver is increased when the diamonds become the center of attraction. Oh yes, wherever they are sold, the diamond jewelry pieces will make you look bright and gorgeous.

Evaluating the Quality of Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry, with an exquisite and glossy finish, features a stamp on them. The stamp is a certainty of the quality of these pieces. There are two symbols on the stamp, the first symbol shows the amount of silver in the jewelry piece and the second symbol is the word “silver” or simply “s”. Sterling silver jewels can be as beauty with high quality.

What and when to wear?

Sterling jewelry with diamonds and gemstones are found in the market. A variety of jewelry pieces like earrings, bracelets and brooches are up for grabs at affordable prices. They are perfect for special occasions and daily wear. There are several kinds of vintage rings, cuff links, tie clips and antique rings to select from. Sterling silver can be easily matched semi-precious and precious diamonds and gemstones alike.

Ideal as Gifts

Along with being ideal for everyday wear and special occasions, Authentic silver is perfect for gifting purposes as well. For example, you can have the name of the recipient inscribed into the base of the chain, bracelet or pendant.

Always in Style

Sterling silver is always in style and demand. One of the ideal features of authentic silver is its natural beauty and brilliance. Genuine silver jewelry with diamonds is something you can choose at a blink of an eye.

Conclusion

Most women looking for something exquisite and different prefer sterling silver jewelry. If you are one of them, look no further for the best accessory that compliments your personality.

Know the Pros and Cons of Having Aluminium Curtain Walling

Are you planning to give your premise or business a completely new sphere? Are you thinking of using aluminium as your strong base for the wall?

From Perforated roller shutters to solid shutters, there are various options that are in accordance with the need of an individual.

Aluminium curtain walling has emerged as a popular choice amongst the business houses, as not only it gives any business a new edge but a chance for people to admire its elegance.

Aluminium curtain walling is an outer structure that protects the building frame. It generally is build up of materials like glass and aluminium frames.

If you are planning to start construction of your building and are searching for the best options for protection, then down below are few advantages and disadvantages listed of curtain walls.

Weighing all advantages of Curtain walls

Lighting and elegance

The combination of aluminium frames and glass material together makes it a very classy option to use, also allows the abundance of daylight to walk in, thus leading to less use of power consumption during the daytime.

No UV rays

UV – the ultraviolet rays are very harmful to any skin, as they can cause severe disease in long run. It is necessary to opt for a material that is very friendly in terms of harmful rays. The design of the wall confirms the 99% reduction of harmful and toxic UV rays to the human bodies.

Wind resistant

The structure of the wall is very efficient in keeping away the wind and forces that are acting against the building.

Fire extinguisher

The design of the wall is very helpful in preventing the fire from spreading floor to floor.

Disadvantages of curtain walls

Great Cost and time

These walls are very ineffective in terms of cost and time management. The Huge cost is involved while shipping the material and storing them. The time taken to complete the structure is very long too.

Replacement of sealant

To keep the wind and moisture at vicinity, a sealant is applied to the perimeter of the structure. The sealant needs to be replaced after every 10 years or so.

Peculiar Cleaning

These walls require huge cleaning and maintenance on an everyday basis. As aluminium frames are generally painted or are anodized. It is necessary to make sure that the cleaning near the anodized parts is done very carefully, as cleaning supplies or detergent can clear off the coating from such frames or material.

From curtain walling to perforated roller shutters, there are various options in the market that are very responsive and advanced towards the styling and security of any venture.

Home Improvement Loan or Personal Loan

Personal Loan or Home Improvement Loan? That is the question.

We love decorating our houses.

And there are phases in our lives when maybe we’ve spent too much time watching Food Food or TLC and thus have built castles in the air of visions of turning our kitchen into a chef’s paradise. Or perhaps our master bath is just one shower away from a disaster. For we really do love Italian tiles on our bathrooms.

And if so, then cheers, you’re not alone. Recently, the Joint Center of Housing Studies for Harvard University has investigated and reported that the home improvement industry should continue post record-level spending in 2016. For many people, this means borrowing money to pay for the well planned home improvements and home decorating schemes.

Now, one is ought to face a tough and difficult and perhaps hypothetical question.

So, which home improvement loan is right for you?

Many homeowners and homemakers look to tap the equity in their homes. But home equity loans or home equity lines of credit may not be possible or very practical for some borrowers. In that case, one should consider using a personal loan.

While it is known that one can use a personal loan for a variety of reasons, there are a few reasons why a personal loan can have advantages over home equity loans when it comes to a renovation loan, to be specific.

The application process for a personal loan is usually quite simple and quite straightforward. Your own financial situation-for example, your credit history and earning power; this is often the main deciding factor for whether or not you will be able to get a loan, for how much, and if so, at what interest rate. Some personal loans even boast of having no origination fees.

However, home equity loans or home improvement loans on the other hand, are akin to applying for a mortgage (in fact, home equity loans are sometimes called second mortgages). How much you can borrow depends on several factors, including the value of your home. Because you can only borrow against the equity you already have (i.e. the difference between your home’s value and your mortgage), you may have to arrange – and pay for – a home appraisal.

Let’s now see this case in the case of a home improvement loan. With a home equity loan or a home improvement loan, you can only borrow against the equity you have – which, as a new homeowner, is probably not much. You maybe have not had enough time to chip away at your mortgage and the market has not yet elevated your home’s price. A personal loan lets you start home improvements regardless of how much equity you have. So, that is one benefit of availing a Home Improvement Loan.

With a home equity loan, you use your home as collateral, which means an inability to repay could result in your home going into foreclosure. While failing to pay your personal loan carries its own risks (like ruining your credit and credit score), it is not tied directly to the roof over your head,like a gun on your head. Therefore, it is better and safer to avail of a personal loan.

So, if we were to decide, which one is better and safer and more suitable?

Personal loans may not be right for every borrower looking for a home improvement loan. For example, if you have significant equity in your home and are looking to borrow a large amount, you might be able to save money with lower interest rates on a home equity loan. Also, interest payments on home equity loans and lines of credit can be tax deductible under certain circumstances; but that is clearly not the case with personal loans.

On the other hand, personal loans can make sense for these types of customers:-

• Recent home purchasers.

• Smaller home improvement loans (e.g., bathroom or kitchen as opposed to full remodel)

• Borrowers in lower home value markets (if your home value has barely budged since you moved in, you may not have much equity to draw on for a home equity loan).

• For those who value ease and speed.

• Borrowers with great credit and cash flow.

While home equity loans and lines of credit are a good source of home improvement money if you have already built up equity in your home, a personal loan may be a better alternative if you are, say, a new homeowner and need to take care of a few updates to make your new home, just right and perfect.

Concluding, we conclude that a personal loan is a better option than a home improvement loan,anytime.

How to Make Your Home a Quieter Place

The houses today are constructed on the basis of modern, light-weighted and open-floor plans wherein it becomes difficult to find a little peace and quiet environment. In most of the houses, the walls are removed to increase the available space, kitchens are filled with larger appliances, and rooms are surrounded by home theaters making noise an essential part of our lives. We are the only creators of a noisy environment and we can only help ourselves in reducing it. This is not something that is created by nature it is simply a man-made product.

The evil effects of noise are that it can mess up your sleep, add to your stress, infringe on your privacy and in a nutshell it is hampering the quality of life we are living. Fortunately, we are lucky that there is a number of soundproofing or acoustic treatments that you can take help from to alleviate the problem. The acoustic barriers can efficiently help folks to get rid of this serious issue. Before, we proceed it is also important to know how sound actually works?

The clang of the bell and other physical things sends sound waves rippling through the ear. When these waves reach the ears, they vibrate a sensitive membrane i.e. the eardrum and we hear them as sounds. It is said to be the sound, not the noise. Noise is something that is unpleasing to the ears and is also termed as unwanted sounds.

Here are some helpful techniques for making your home a quieter place:

  • Cut down on noisemakers- Consider buying quiet appliances for your home including house fans, kitchen appliances etc. Buying quiet appliances is even more beneficial if they are to be kept nearby living or sleeping areas. Maintenance of existing appliances is also an important part of the equation. If you find something unusual, get it checked or repaired by the technician as soon as possible.
  • Use sound absorbing materials- The material that helps to reduce and absorbing the unwanted sound are something that every house owner would love to have. There are a lot of things that will work as a barrier that reflects and absorbs the noise entering your house. These acoustic barriers are quite helpful in minimizing the outdoor noises and absorbing the interior sounds. Ensure getting a spec sheet prepared by the tradesman so that you can check and approve it before its installation.
  • Install sound blocking doors- The largest opening in a house is its doorway. And a lot of sounds enters from this way. Thus, it is better to install weatherstrip or solid doors to effectively block the unwanted sound rays entering your house. The solid doors are quite expensive because of their thickness and are also available in a broader selection of elegant designs.
  • Weatherstrip interior doors- The actual sound doesn’t come through the door, it comes around the hollow spaces left between the doors. Thus, it is beneficial to install weatherstripping or door soundproofing to seal that space using adhesive-backed high-density foam tape. This will block the noise coming from outside.

 

Preparing for Cyberspace

While cyber security is an important issue for boards, it has not always been top of mind. Because a major corporation like Equifax had a breach in its IT system, many companies are rethinking how to secure cyber security.

Boards around the world are examining the Equifax case to determine how to best secure their organizations valuable information stored in their IT systems. So who is responsible? Since the CEO has stepped down, it is apparent he was being held accountable. However, where was the board of directors?

In today’s world of cyberspace, corporate boards have to think about more than governance, CEO compensation and strategy.

As it stands, it is in the board’s best interest to ensure the company is not exposed to debilitating risks. Companies have workplace safety standards and sexual harassment policies to mitigate lawsuits. They even have disaster recovery plans in the event of natural disasters or occurrences like the World Trade Center plane crash. These plans and policies are in place to keep business running smoothly and perpetually. It protects customers and employees.

However, with sophisticated computer hackers around the world, it is no news that computer systems and valuable information can be breached and stolen. There are hackers who breach computer systems as a business. They ask for ransom in the amount of tens of millions of dollars. If it is not paid, they threaten to release the companies secure information, which sometimes could contain private email communication from top executives.

While many enterprises as large as Equifax may have disaster recovery plans for their physical operation, they may not have the same plan for cyber breach. The disaster recovery policies would include immediate action steps based on size of the breach, who made the breach, what information was taken, were company smart phones breached, what to communicate to employees, the public and shareholders as well as other important factors.

In some cases, it may make sense to inform the FBI. In other cases, it may be better to pay the ransom. The challenge with calling the FBI is that the hackers could be in countries like Russia. In Russia, the FBI may not pursue them. Why? Because the Russian government is always looking for good hackers. If the FBI exposes the hackers in Russia, the government may hire them, which can present long-term problems for the US. When it comes to paying ransom, it’s tricky. If you pay, they may hack you again as though you are an ATM machine. If you don’t pay, they may expose confidential information. These are also the kinds of challenges that directly involve the board.

What’s most important is that the board is talking about cyber security before there is a problem. There should be constant audits of the cyber security system to mitigate any risks. In addition, as a board, they should hold the CEO accountable for that security. Furthermore, there should be clear policies to guide the board and the executive team on how to handle the various moving parts in a delicate situation. Boards with disaster recovery plans and high accountability with the CEO are more likely to be forward thinking about cyber vulnerabilities and proactive about updating the security system.