“I want to grow old without facelifts. I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I have made.” -Marilyn Monroe
Although Marilyn Monroe tragically never got the opportunity to stay loyal to the face she made, her statement still holds a lesson that all of us can, and should, learn from.
Our society is one that celebrates looking youthful, and scorns age. Our media, whether it’s online, in print, or on TV, is saturated with beautiful, young faces. There are thousands of chemically laden products and procedures that will, so the claims go, smooth away your wrinkles forever. And in spite of the down economy, cosmetic surgery is steadily growing.
Today, we have the ability to predict with more accuracy than ever dangerous tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms, and floods. We know the areas that are prone to earthquakes and areas that are susceptible to wildfires, and we can tell hours in advance whether a tsunami will hit our shores.
However, in spite of all the capabilities for advance warnings, Americans are still quite poor at preparing for these disasters. Many of us really believe that it can’t happen to us.
You might have heard that Americans consume more sugar than any other nation on Earth. It’s a bold statement; after all, there are more than seven billion people on the planet. But it’s true. Americans eat the equivalent of 17 four-pound bags of sugar per person every year. That’s 68 pounds! If you add in the total caloric sweeteners, like high fructose corn syrup, this total bumps to 152 pounds per year, according to the USDA.
Eating 152 pounds of sugar may sound like an astronomically high number. But once you start thinking about our eating habits and the amount of processing that goes into most foods, it becomes easier to see how those pounds add up.
Head into any gas station and you’re likely to pay $1.50 or more for 20 ounces of water. Some of this water is labeled “pure,” but such a distinction can be misleading. It might be spring water, it might have been purified by reverse osmosis, or it might have been steam distilled.
Not only is bottled water more expensive per ounce than gas, it’s also bad for the environment. In fact, according to Mother Nature Network, bottled water produces 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year. All this plastic takes 47 million gallons of oil to produce, and only 20% of these plastic bottles are ever recycled.
Drive around many new neighborhoods, and you often see the same thing: street after street of behemoth homes, most that look like they came off an assembly line. Oddly, these homes are often occupied by small families, spreading everyone out into different rooms, limiting interaction. Even in older neighborhoods, especially in larger cities such as Austin and Atlanta, smaller homes have been torn down, wanted only for the lot they sit on. In their place, gigantic structures are erected.
While the McMansion boom of the last decade appears, for the most part, to be waning, the result is that there are now millions of families living in these large, palatial homes, which often come with enormous mortgages to match.
Think about how much time you spend each day sitting down. You may sit down throughout the entire working day at a desk in front of a computer. You sit during your commute to and from work. And you sit when you’re watching TV in the evening, or surfing the web.
ABC News reports that many of us spend up to 15 and a half hours sitting down every day. Furthermore, research suggests that even if you exercise regularly, this much sitting could have a major impact on your health.
The average child comes down with 6 to 10 colds per year, while the average adult gets 2 to 3 colds each year. Of course, if you have school-aged children, you likely get more than this. These numbers, however, only reflect how often we get the “common cold” – other illnesses, such as the flu, are a different story.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks flu cases and flu strains similarly to how meteorologists watch weather patterns. Wintertime is when the flu most often rears its ugly head, so for this reason, it’s vital that you do what you can to protect yourself and your family during cold weather months.
Since the recession hit, many adults bemoan the tough job market, and with good reason: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the current unemployment rate hovers around 8.3% – and that doesn’t count those who are underemployed.
What many people do not consider, however, are teenagers. Today’s teens now have to compete for entry-level jobs with out-of-work adults, many of whom will take anything in order to keep the bills paid until something better comes along. Teen unemployment is steadily rising: NPR reports it sits at 25%. And some cities, such as Washington, D.C., have a teen unemployment rate of 50%.
We’ve all had it: an aching body, a sore throat, nausea, a fever, and chills. The dreaded flu season is upon us! Yuck.
Getting the flu is awful. Not only do you feel terrible, but it can cost a lot of money too. You might have to miss work or school and go to the doctor. Plus, if you don’t have health insurance, or have an emergency-only healthcare plan, it can mean hefty out-of-pocket expenses.
Imagine walking through your front door into a room the size of a cathedral. Tall, gorgeously designed stained glass windows allow endless rays of light to enter. The ceiling soars overhead. The ancient stone walls could tell you stories of the thousands of people who walked, laughed, and prayed within.
This is just a small taste of what it could be like to live in a church. Some people might think it’s a crazy idea, but plenty of others have purchased churches and renovated them into homes.
Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, rivaled only by early summer. I’m not alone – many people feel happy and invigorated during the fall season.
Yet as much as I would love to spend every afternoon basking in the last of the year’s sunny warmth, I can’t. I have plenty to do to get the house ready for the cold winter season. No matter where you live, winter probably brings a fairly significant change in climate, and homeowners have a long list of tasks to complete to winterize their homes.
With real estate prices at rock-bottom in many places around the country, some people are buying homes as investment properties, hoping that eventually home values will appreciate. If you want to buy a home, either to live in or as an investment property, consider buying a duplex. A duplex is essentially a house or building with separate entrances for two families. The units can either be on separate floors (i.e. two-story house) or side by side.
Duplexes can be great investments for homeowners and landlords. However, owning a duplex has a number of unique advantages and disadvantages, and you should carefully consider them before purchasing one of these two-family homes.
Finding the house of your dreams is often a stressful affair. Searching, haggling, and qualifying for a loan will take a toll on any buyer, no matter how experienced. Once the appraisal comes in and contracts are signed, most buyers are tempted to kick back and wait with excitement for closing day so they can move in.
But there is one final, extremely important thing to do before closing. You need to do a final walk-through.
Many buyers mistakenly use the final walk-through as a means to get one last-look at their dream home before they move in. They start planning how furniture will be arranged and which room will be used for which purpose.
With the real estate market still in a slump, more and more people have decided not to sell their home. Instead, they have chosen to stay put, until things get better. I count myself in this group; I had my own home on the market for two years. My house sold, and the sale fell through, on two separate occasions. As a result, I’ve resolved to stay put until the real estate market improves.
However, now that I’ve decided to stay in this home instead of moving, I plan to make several home improvements to make my home more comfortable (e.g. building a sunroom to combat the dreary Michigan winters, and building a backyard deck).
Can you imagine staying in an Italian villa for $67 per night? What about staying in Paris, within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower, for $75 a night? What about sleeping aboard a houseboat in Amsterdam for $150 a night?
With these prices, you might think the accommodations would be questionable. However, you might find yourself in a garret apartment or cozy room that’s clean, well-decorated, often luxurious, and incredibly comfortable.
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