Friday, December 20, 2013

See your home in a new light

(NC) They call it mood lighting for a reason. Whether it's a cozy and intimate den or a bright and functional work space, choosing the right location, wattage, and fixtures is one of the most important design decisions you can make. 

And with the news that incandescent light bulbs are being transitioned out across the country, now is the best time for a re-evaluation of your lighting needs. According to the experts at The Home Depot, the right lighting for every space is as easy as following these trusted tips. 

Setting the scene: Each room should have a mood that reflects its use. Direct or task lighting focuses on a workspace, like a countertop; and ambient or indirect lighting is used to create atmosphere, for example in a dining area. Remember to vary the brightness levels in different areas of a room to help prevent "lighting fatigue" which often occurs in shadow-less spaces, such as conference rooms.
The layering effect: Using a variety of light sources in a room creates a multitasking space – from under cabinet kitchen lights for prepping meals to pendant lights for homework and casual entertaining. Start with ambient light to evenly illuminate, then spotlight work areas with directional lighting. Accent and decorative lights, such as chandeliers and lamps, bring it all together.
Go for drama: Why not add a crystal chandelier to an ensuite bath or emphasize a wood-beam with focused accent lighting. Creating drama is all about up-lighting to focus attention on important elements like a fireplace, painting, or an architectural detail.
Multi-directional: Consider using directional lightingon countertops, kitchen islands, dressers and seating areas to add interest. Reduce shadows without creating the “office” effect by training recessed fixtures on the table and chandelier in the dining area, or down-lights directly over sinks and vanities.
Dimming for dollars: Dimmers are the quickest fix for setting the mood and won't break the bank. And as the days get shorter and we need more lights on, switching to high efficiency bulbs will help reduce the monthly bills. In fact, why not try out the latest in LED, CFL, or halogen technology? The lighting department at The Home Depot has a wide selection of bulbs including the options from manufacturers like Philips and Cree.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Expert tips for safe and stress-free Holiday travel

(NC)—As the cool weather sets in and the busy holiday season approaches, Canadians have travel on their minds. Before booking, a leading travel and service expert advises would-be adventurers to plan ahead in order to stay safe and stress free while vacationing at any time. 

Gerald Parent, the Director of Membership Travel at American Express Canada has seen first-hand the pain points that can quickly turn a travel dream into an unforgettable nightmare. In fact, last year alone, Amex helped solve 12,732 medical cases overseas. Some emergencies are unpredictable, but the most common causes of travel dilemmas come from those who are less prepared. 

“A vacation away is the highlight of the year for many people, but so often we are blinded by our own excitement, leaving us open to certain dangers and risks,” says Parent. “For a truly stress-free summer vacation, travelers need to do their research ahead of time.” 

Here are three tips for staying safe and stress free while away:

• Be prepared: Be it a weekend away or a month long sabbatical, proper preparation before you leave ensures that you get full enjoyment from your trip while away. Be sure to keep copies of your travel documents, hotel bookings and itinerary so details are always at hand.
• Get insurance: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Travel insurance is available to cover a variety of risk factors such as health and medical, cancellations, delays and accidents. The good news is that some credit card providers, like American Express Canada, offer free travel insurance if you book travel on your card.
• Treat yourself: Upgrading to a better hotel or paying a little extra for a business class flight can make your time away feel all the more special. You don't have to break the bank to experience increased luxury; check out some of the perks offered by your credit card company or frequent flyer program and you might get the V.I.P treatment for free.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to Dress Up Your Smile For THe New Year

More than half of Canadians rank a great smile as the top attraction when meeting new people. Here's how to make your smile a star.

(NC) The New Year is the time for goal setting, personal rejuvenation, and feeling your best. According to a study conducted by Philips Sonicare a great smile is the feature 53 per cent of Canadians find most attractive when they first meet someone. Beauty expert Janine Falcon shares a few tips on spotlighting yours that will help you sashay through the new year. 

• Winter-proof your lips to keep them smile-ready. Buff away dry patches with a washcloth dampened with hot water, then immediately apply a buttery, squeeze-tube lip balm rather than a waxy stick. An emollient formula such as Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 blankets even cracked lips with a soothing layer of conditioning protection.

• Keep teeth in top shape with a solid regimen that includes brushing twice-daily, flossing before bed, and an antiseptic mouthwash every day. Use a high-tech power toothbrush such as the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean, which is clinically proven to deliver whiter teeth in just one week. 

• For those of us who forget to floss on a regular basis, try the Sonicare AirFloss, which cleans between teeth with micro-bursts of air and water. You can do your whole mouth in 30 seconds. Get your mouthwash step in at the same time by substituting it for water in the reservoir.

 Women should wear bright lip colour with a blue undertone to make teeth look their whitest. Try long-wearing Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge #8 Iconic Red, a universally-flattering shade.

• Stash a portable whitening pen in your purse for stealth smile brightening. The Philips Zoom Whitening Pen is ideal to quickly enhance your smile.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Consumer confidence nears year high as Canadians put faith in rising house prices

According to the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, Canada’s economic mood rebounded last week as consumers head into the holiday season buoyed by rising house prices.

The weekly sentiment measure increased to 59.3 in the period ended Dec. 6, up from 58.9 the week before. The index has climbed from 54.8 at the end of May and is approaching a one-year high of 59.8. The share of respondents who think real-estate prices will increase over the next six months rose to 40.3 from 40.0 the previous week, reaching the highest level since March 2012.

“Canadians are poised to finish 2013 with more buoyant consumer confidence which is more likely to be fuelled by increasingly positive views on the value of real estate,” said Nik Nanos, head of Ottawa-based Nanos Research Group. Even though policy makers take steps to cool growth, Canada’s housing market remains strong.

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