Jul 21, 2017

That Million Dollar Curb Appeal for the DIY-er

This article is originally posted at smoothair.ca. If youwant to read full article, visit http://www.smoothair.ca/home/million-dollar-curb-appeal-diy-er/

April showers bring Mayflowers…or so they once said! Hopefully that English proverb holds true for ushere in the Pacific North West this spring. While it has been dreary outside,long days and warmer weather await!

But what to do with yourfront yard once the weather turns?

Right now it is useless. Itlooks tired. It looks old. The neighbours think the house is abandoned (notactually but you get the point). This spring you are going to make your yardscream modernity – and on a DIY budget no less! Now roll up your sleeves andprepare to transform your tired yard into a magnificently modern masterpiece.

Lawn TLC

The key to a beautiful house isa beautiful lawn. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for lawn repair and abag of turf builder, combined with a regiment of moss killer and weed remover,are quick and cheap options to restore that deep green hue.

Consider borrowing yourneighbour’s push-mower to get that short uniform look and do not forget to edgethe lawn. With proper edging and a close shave, you will have a fantasticlooking lawn all summer – don’t forget to water!

Plant A Tree

A regularly pruned tree ofmoderate height, say…no larger than 7 feet, can be a focal point in yourgarden. It draws eyes from the house itself and provides depth to a wellmanicured lawn that is cut both short and uniform. You can grab a juvenile treefor around $20.

Be Bold: Stain Your Cement

The world of stained cement isa marvelous one. You are only limited by your imagination…and maybe yourbudget. But I know you are a DIY master with a small pocketbook. Fear not! Thepeople over at doityourself have a wonderfulbreakdown of staining that cement, and for as little as 50 cents per squarefoot. Not bad at all!

 Accentuate with Native Shrubs

Small, upright shrubs placed instrategic areas in your front yard provide multiple benefits. Shrubbery helpsto define features by framing or highlighting them and provides privacy whenused as a hedge.

Using native vegetation isbetter because you know it can survive in your yard and requires less maintenanceover time. It can also be cheaper as you can transplant vegetation from a localforest significantly reducing the costs associated with preparing your yard(don’t snag any plants from your neighbourhood park).

Also, using native vegetationwill attract wildlife such as butterflies and birds. Local vegetation can beused to create waterwise gardens too; meaning you can havea garden that looks like a million bucks, and is environmentally friendly!

Modern Lighting for Any Budget

At this point your front yardis most likely the envy of the block. But you can really make this thing pop.Small, stainless steel bollards are a perfect accent to a well manicured yardthat can give that million-dollar curb appeal for under 100 hundred dollars.

There is a HUGE selection ofbollards to choose from, but we are going for an ultra modern aesthetic andshort, stainless steel bollards are all the rage. If you buy solar, you don’thave to pay for electricity or bury any wire! Double Bonus.

I should warn you though.Making these simple, easy changes to your front yard may cause realtors toapproach you with an offer of selling your house. That is the price a successfulDIY-er must pay for their ingenuity.

Credit to Realspace 3D forthis post.

Jul 20, 2017

The Best At Home Espresso Machine

This is article is originally post at MyEspressoShop.com - best at home espresso.
So you're finally ready to upgrade to a professional-grade espresso machine? Congratulations! We know it's a big step, so we're here to help you along the way.

Buying a high-end espresso machine is one of the best investments (if not the best investment) a coffee lover can make. Not only will it allow you to be able to enjoy real authentic espresso, cappuccinos, and 'velvety' lattes in your own home or office, but it will also allow you to save money in the process (win-win!).

We feel it's important to emphasis this point again: With a good machine, you will be able to make your own drinks at a fraction of the cost you would have to pay at coffee shops. With that being said, not all espresso machine are created equal. When you are buying your espresso machine, you want to be sure to choose the right one.

Below, we will be going over some of the different options you can choose from that are currently on the market. (Also, please note that when we say 'best', this is simply our personal opinion. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to features and qualities they prefer in an espresso machine, so we just wanted to share some of our favorites with you!).

Best Manual Espresso Machines

La Pavoni Europiccola Manual Espresso Machine. This particular espresso machine by La Pavoni is arguably the 'top of the line' in the entire market for manual espresso machines. Not only does it feature a classic design with its inclusion of the retro press (which essentially gives you complete control over every aspect of your shot), but it also has a beautiful chrome finish to it.
The machine is completely manual, so it will take some time to get used to. You will need to practicing using it to get comfortable with the amount of pressure you need to use, as well as figuring out the right pulling technique to really get the best possible shot each and every time. Because of the manual nature of this machine, it is more recommended for those that are willing to learn, have patience, and really want full control over the entire process.
This is not the machine to purchase if you are simply looking to find one that does all of the work with the click of a button.

Best Semi-automatic Espresso Machine

The Rocket Espresso R58 Espresso Machine is by far one of the best options if you are looking at semi-automatic espresso machines. Manufactured by Rocket Espresso, the R58 has a level of craftsmanship that absolutely shines. Because it features dual boilers for both steaming and brewing, it is going to provide you with the ultimate level of control.
Along with this, it comes with a plugin PID with a large display that can provide you with the details you need to be able to change the temperature of both boilers at once. You can either utilize the included water reservoir or simply pump a constant supply of fresh water into the machine. While Rocket's R60V espresso machine is also fantastic, it's quite a bit more expensive than the R58. That's why we give Rocket's R58 machine the edge.

Best Automatic Espresso Machine

La Spaziale S1 Dream T Espresso Machine. This was a harder category to choose for, because there are many fantastic options. But the majority of us feel that the La Spaziale S1 Dream T is the number one automatic espresso machine on the entire market. It comes with a fully featured programmable touchpad and features two different boilers which will allow you to both brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.

Jul 19, 2017

Essential Elements to Modern Real Estate Marketing

This article is originally posted at insanelyclevermarketing.com.


When you’re in real estate, you need to be leveraging all the tech you have at your disposal to keep on top of the many changes constantly taking place in your marketing funnel. If you’re looking to refresh your modern real estate marketing strategy, here are some essential elements to think about.

Create a Foundation Before Going Mobile

You’re not going to need to worry about managing various leads when you’re out of the office if you’re not generating enough to develop your business! With this in mind, it’s absolutely essential to build a decent digital marketing foundation for your brand; something to attract your target market, get you seen on SERPs, earns your website clicks, and turn idle visitors into leads.

Start off with a professional grade of real estate web design, ending with a platform that you’ll be able to optimize with ease, adding new posts and photos without the need of any expensive development. From there, most of your efforts should go towards scaling your content creation, and building a system for promotions and ads to dangle your message in front of the right leads.

Nurture Leads with Personalised Messages

As with any modern real estate marketing campaign, the emails you send out to your leads and existing clients need to be carefully drafted. Of course, it’s 2017, and you don’t need to be hunched over a desktop or laptop to do this anymore. As long as you have the right apps and tools in place, you can send automated and manual emails directly from your smartphone.

If your mobile CRM gives you a notification that one of your leads is interested in a particular property, you can start to nurture them from your phone immediately. Start by adding your newest interested leads to automated drip emails through an email marketing interface.

Then, follow this up by manually writing more personalised emails to the hottest prospects.
Many of these interfaces will also allow you to add notes and reminders to get back into contact with certain leads. The best part of this model is that you’ll be reaching them when they’re the most interested, which is essential in the modern marketing arena.

The best part of this model is that you’ll be reaching them when they’re the most interested, which is essential in the modern real estate marketing arena.

Go Real-Time With your Device

This is where your modern real estate marketing really gets fun. Standard office work is inevitable for any business owner, but the real-time, on-the-go side of your marketing can be heaps of fun when you employ the right tactics.

Modern mobile devices have opened up all kinds of opportunities for mobile content creation, such as videos. You could, for example, start shooting little clips and video tours of your open houses, not to mention conversations with clients, walks around town, and various other aspects of your local market, without ever having to sit down at a desk.

Sure, you should have some kind of plan in place for your content, but don’t neglect the power you carry around in your pocket!