Halloween Home Improvement Tips
One of my most favorite times of the year is Halloween. The weather cools off, the houses get decorated and I get to take the kids to get free candy! While most people decorate their homes for the seasons, it’s easy to get carried away and potentially create trouble instead of making your home look great for Halloween. From hanging lights to displays in the yard, I’ve seen homeowners use and abuse their home for displays and decorations. Before you decorate your home for Halloween, be sure to review these tips and prevent costly home repairs and problems.
A lot of people like to hang lights up during Halloween. If you’re going to hang lights from your homes fascia or soffit, invest in a bunch of plastic clips. These will break away first before they damage your aluminum or vinyl soffit/fascia panels. Never drive nails or screws into your soffit or fascia! Water will enter your roofs eaves and cause untold amounts of structural damages. ·
From simple pumpkins to blow-up inflatable Frankenstein’s, yard displays make any yard look great for the Halloween holidays. But no matter what you put out in your yard for your trick-or-treaters to enjoy (or scare) be sure that the area underneath gets reseeded with grass after the display is long gone by adding grass seeds and a layer of hay before you install your spooky yard display.
Many of today’s coolest Halloween displays are in need of some serious electrical power supplies. It’s very important that you use only quality heavy-duty power cords when using extensions cords for yard displays. Also, you should plug directly into a separate circuit breaker outlet when using multiple power cords. You’ll prevent damages to your homes power supply by using a separate circuit that takes any power surges first, instead of your expensive GFCI outdoor circuit. Best of all, you can flip a single switch to shut it all down when you’re turning off your lighted displays at night.
Keeping your carved pumpkin fresh and new after it’s been gutted and chopped up can be difficult at best. To keep mold at bay without removing the moisture is tough to do. There are a wide variety of solutions that people swear by, but the most effective one I’ve used so far has been a solution of borax and water. Mix a few scoops into a spray bottle and fill it with water. Coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin once it has been carved and allow it to dry thoroughly before placing the top back on. Keep real candles indoors and use an LED pumpkin light instead. It will keep the pumpkin fresh even longer and you’ll prevent fire hazards too.
Hair Straightening Tips: How To Get that Head-Turning Pin Straightness
Have you ever craved for that poker-straight do that celebrities like to sport on the glamorous red carpet? Well now you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars sitting at a salon to get that sleek, silky hairstyle. With the help of a few trusty styling tools, you can get that pin-straight hair you’ve always yearned for!
1. Wash and nourish your hair with a straightening shampoo and conditioner. I recommend Frizz Ease Straight Ahead shampoo and conditioner because they can prep and soften your hair very well. To get the most out of your conditioner, squeeze the water out of your hair before conditioning. This will give the conditioner something to cling to and prevents it from sliding right off your hair.
2. Comb your hair to get rid of all the knots and then apply a straightening balm, gel, or mousse using your fingers or a comb. I recommend Tresemme Thermal Creations Straightening Gel as its heat activated system can help you tame your unruly hair. Carefully work the gel into your hair from roots to ends.
3. Towel dry your hair. It is better to blow dry hair when it’s damp rather than when it’s dripping wet. Next, apply a heat protective spray from roots to ends. Take out your trusty blow dryer (the Revlon Ceramic Blow dryer has worked wonders for my hair), some hair clips, and a paddle brush. Start dividing your hair into 2-4 inch sections. Clip up all the sections in the front with your hair clips and start working on the strands in the back as the hair in the back tends to wrinkle easier.
4. Attach an air concentrator to your blow dryer and make sure your blow dryer’s set to medium heat ( a setting too high or low can damage your hair or cause your hair to frizz).With the dryer pointed downwards, hold it above your head and allow the air flow to move down your hair strands. This will help smooth your hair and give it a more silky finish. To anchor your hair, use the paddle brush while you’re blow drying. Cool each strand of hair after blow drying to set in the style. Repeat the process on all sections of hair.
5. To have a balanced blow dry, make sure that all parts of your hair are equally damp. So if one side of your hair dries while you’re working on the other side of your hair, put a bit of hair spray on it to keep it damp.
6. After blow drying, spray your hair with another layer of the heat protective spray you used before the blow dry session. Once again, divide your hair into 2-4 inch sections and clip the strands up.
7. Take your pick of any hair straightened (I recommend one with ceramic plates as these straighteners tend to give a more sleek and shiny finish) and program it to a medium heat setting. Take a strand of hair and slowly slide the straightened down the shaft. You might have to do this several times depending on the texture of your hair. Try to straighten the bottom sections first before moving to the upper sections. Repeat this process until all your hair strands have been straightened. Apply a leave-in conditioner or anti-frizz gel to hold the style.
Voila! You hair should now be straight, sleek, and beautiful and you can stun the crowd with your dazzling hairstyle. Although this method can work wonders on my hair and it’s the culmination of years of experimenting and a great amount of professional advice and research, the effects of it will vary from person to person. However, I can insure you that this method will at least smooth and tame your hair no matter how unruly it is. You don’t have to follow the instructions step for step. Experiment with it and you’ll find the perfect style that’s just right for you!
Guide To Entering The Military
You could be thinking of joining the Military because of these difficult economic times, or possibly it’s your career choice out of high school. I will tell you what I wish I knew when I joined and what to expect during the recruitment process. I’ll tell you about basic training to the best of my knowledge, as I joined the Navy so I can’t really speak to the Marines or Army’s basic training as they are much more rigorous.
Your first step is to find a Recruiter if he or she hasn’t already found you. Your parents or friends may tell you that you need to be wary of the Recruiter. This is not really the case. Your Recruiter, if they do their job correctly is your best friend. They want you to have a positive experience so that you can tell all your friends that the military is the way to go and who they can contact. Another reason they are your best friend is because at any point you can change your mind, they want to keep you focused on joining.
Next you will take an ASVAB test which is a long test. The test is designed to gauge your proficiency and qualify you for a job in the military. You need to do as best you can here because nobody wants to chip paint for a living. I think it would be best to know what job you want before you take this test but some might disagree. Those that would disagree would say that you should take the test and see what you qualify for. I say take the test once you know what you want so that your Recruiter and Detailer don’t make your mind up for you.
Sometimes there are incentives for joining like a bonus or a promotion to E2 or E3 after Boot Camp. Ask your Recruiter about these because you want to take advantage of them. For me it was a promotion to E2 out of Boot Camp if I passed the physical training exam before I even shipped out, which I did.
Next you will go to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) located in your nearest city. You will undergo many physical exams by doctors and be asked several questions. This is the part where you feel like some kind of alien. This process will take an entire day. At the end of this day once you’ve passed all those exams then you will be called in to see a Detailer.
Once you are called in to see your Detailer (this is the person that will place you in a job) you need to be prepared for this person. This person is not your friend and he or she will lie to you and withhold information in order to fill a job that they need filled. This person is who gives your Recruiter a bad name. You need to have your stuff in order and you better know what you want before you walk in. Don’t let him tell you anything. Remember you hold all the cards because you can still walk out. Also be prepared to walk out. This person is like a used car salesman and you need to treat him like such. If you fold or you take what he gave you rather than making him give you what you want then you will spend the next 4 years, or however long your contract is, regretting this very day. I’m not telling you to yell or be impolite so please don’t misunderstand. You should be polite even though you are probably aggravated after all the exams. The two things you need to know before you even walk into this office are what you want to do for a job, and what you qualify for. Because they are not below telling you that you don’t qualify for a position when you do. Ask to see a written list of all jobs that you qualify for. Also it would be helpful to know the most undesirable jobs. The reason this would be helpful is because your Detailer will do everything he can to place you in them, it’s more than likely his area of most need.
After this fun process you are sworn in and off to the airport you go to catch a plane to wherever your Boot Camp is located. For me it was Chicago. Once you arrive be ready because they start as soon as you get off the plane right there in the airport. Listen carefully to everything they say because they are looking for that one person who misunderstood so they can drop them. By “drop them” I mean in pushup position they won’t hit you, at least I don’t think they will I’ve never seen anyone give them a reason to. You will wish you slept on the plane because you will get none on this first night. Of all the forms you fill out and sign pay attention to one called the Montgomery GI Bill Application. This will give you a lot of money for college. Possibly pay your entire tuition. You want this trust me.
The key to get through Boot Camp is to put your pride on the back burner keep your mouth shut and do what you’re told to the best of your ability. Once you do that it’s kind of fun. Your RDC’s (Recruit Division Commander is what we called them) are typically hilarious. For me it was one of the hardest things not to laugh while getting yelled at for “summer creases” on my uniform (“some are here and some are there”). Also remember the Military is not like Boot Camp. Once it’s over you will have great stories to tell your friends at home and others who have experienced the same thing. All I ask is that if you’ve made up your mind to join, serve honorably and you will never regret the decision. Of all the things I’ve done and regret, joining the Navy was not one of them.
Dogs Want To Be With Their Masters
It never ceases to amaze me how little people understand dogs. Some of these people are even dog owners. I don’t claim to be a dog expert. However, one thing I know is that dogs want to be with their owners.
By saying that dogs want to be with their owners I’m not just saying that dogs want to run happily alongside their master. Sure, a dog will do that. What I mean is that a dog will be with their master in situations where a person would think the dog wouldn’t want to go; in fact, the dog will happily go into what it might perceive as an unpleasant situation just to be with its owner.
I would never have believed the extent an animal would do this until I saw our Chihuahua start to make her jump. Thank God I caught her in time! This is how it all happened:
You have to understand that my dog just can’t stand to not be with me. I’ve tried to break her of that by not giving in to her whimpering. I had to go into the hospital one time, and she didn’t eat the entire time I was there. Well, we can’t have that! She’s little enough already – if I’d stayed in the hospital much longer, there wouldn’t have been any dog left! So I decided she had to learn to be more independent.
This did not set well with the dog. Chihuahuas, by their nature, are rather clingy to their masters. I think my dog is even more clingy than usual because she was a rescue dog.
Now, I didn’t ignore the dog all the time. I couldn’t have done that – I love my dog! But I picked a few times of the day where I wouldn’t spend any time with her so that she would develop the ability to go off and entertain herself. One of the times I decided to do this would be when I was in the pool.
I had taught my dog to hate the pool by splashing her. She hates to get wet, so when she’d get close we’d grab her and bring her in the pool with us. We never dunked her – we didn’t want to totally freak her out – but we did get her scared enough of the pool to stay away from the edge. Or so we thought.
So, there I was, congratulating myself that I had broken my dog of being such a momma’s baby. My friend and I got in the pool. We were relaxing and everything was great. And then I felt something on my back. It was my dog! She had jumped from the edge of the pool onto my back! She was so determined to be with me that she was willing to brave the water of the pool, the water she feared, in order to be with me. Thank God I caught her before she slipped off my back!
My friend and I laughed about it, petted the dog, and put her back safely on the concrete. Wait a minute, the dog said to herself, you mean I did that for nothing? Persistence is my middle name!
We got out a lightweight raft. I was just about to get on it when Ker-Plunk! On it jumps my dog! I can’t believe her nails didn’t puncture the thing. This was one of those .99-cent rafts after all!
That was it. She won. We had to let her stay. So now, when we get in the pool, the dog goes too. She still hates the pool. The queen must have the raft, thank you! She isn’t about to get wet!
Dogs want to be with their masters. All the time. Whether the master wants to be with them or not. So you might as well let them do what they want because they’re going to do it anyway. Take it from me. I know!
Could You Work For The CIA?
I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how the CIA recruits new CIA agents and employees. Most of these theories are probably developed from watching bad spy films. I once had a friend tell me that the CIA tried to recruit him as an agent. His story was exactly the same as that Collin Farrell movie about him and Al Pacino working for the CIA. Despite all of the speculation, this information is not very hard to come across if you do a little research. Here’s what it takes to work for the CIA.
First of all, there are a lot of other jobs at the CIA other than being a spy. Yes, being a spy is probably the coolest CIA job, but it’s certainly not the only one. The CIA is often hiring computer scientists, engineers, computer programmers, technology experts, translators, psychologists, economists, and even secretaries. You don’t have to have ten years of hand-to-hand combat experience, or know how to disarm explosives to work for the CIA. The most important thing, is that your smart and well educated.
This might seem overly obvious, but to apply for a job at the CIA all you have to do is go to their website (www.cia.gov) and submit your resume. Yeah, seriously, that’s it. I know, it’s a little disappointing. Anyways, before you decide to apply for a job at the CIA, you should know what to expect. You have to be drug free for at least 12 months, you have to undergo a medical examination, you have to take a polygraph test, you have to be an expert in your field, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you have to be at least 18 years old. That’s it. About 10% of the people who apply to work for the CIA end up getting a job offer and making it through all of the testing.
Although working for the CIA may seem like one of the coolest jobs in the world, it actually has a lot of drawbacks. The CIA is a government agency, so the pay is not that great. Believing that you will make six figures a year working for the CIA is false assumption, to say the least. The CIA does not disclose the salaries of their employees, but you could expect to start out somewhere around $30,000 – $40,000 depending on what position you apply for. On the bright side, they will pay for most of your work related expenses. Another downside to working for the CIA, is that you can’t ever talk about what you do at work. It must be pretty tough to work for an agency like the CIA and never be able to tell anyone what you do. You will most likely be required to move to Virginia. That is where the CIA headquarters are located. So, if you’re pretty attached to where you live, you might want to reconsider working for the CIA.
Becoming a “spy” for the CIA is a bit more difficult than landing one of the more common positions. If you want to become a spy, you will be required to have at least a BA or Masters degree, you have to be younger than 35 years old, and you have to be completely fluent in a foreign language. Nevertheless, you can still apply for a position as a spy for the CIA by submitting your resume directly to the CIA. However, when you submit your resume, don’t say that you’re applying to be a “spy.” The official job title is “Field Operations Officer.” Knowing all of this really makes those spy movies look far-fetched, doesn’t it?