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5 Steps To Help With Your Debt

We are living through tough economic times and the simple fact is that more people are struggling to pay their debts. Here are 5 pieces of basic advice.

5 Steps To Help With Your Debt


During these tough economic times, we have all become accustomed to hearing the latest depressing stats regarding the numbers of people who have fallen into financial difficulty because they have been unable to keep up with loan or mortgage repayments.


For people who are starting to regularly miss their loan or mortgage repayments every month there are alternatives to bankruptcy such as an IVA (individual voluntary arrangement), which is a formal agreement with creditors to pay off a percentage of your debts over a fixed period, or a debt management plan which allows you to repay your debts at a rate you can afford. In addition, for those people who are in really serious financial difficulty, there is the last resort option of declaring bankruptcy which will seriously damage their credit rating for years to come.


Most people would prefer not to have to take one of the measures mentioned above, however, and there are things you can do to make sure you never get to that stage. The following tips are five basic measures for anyone who does not want their debt problems to get worse.5 Steps To Help With Your Debt


Don’t increase your debt further


Your debt problem will never be eased if you keep borrowing more money to pay off existing debts. The very first thing you must do to ease your debt problem is to stop borrowing immediately. Using your credit card must be avoided at all costs and taking out another loan to pay off an existing one is a mistake which many people make.


Work out how much you owe


Dig out all of your latest pieces of paperwork for the companies you owe money to and make a full list of what you owe and to which companies. Start with the companies you owe the most money to. List how much the minimum payment required is, along with interest rates and the outstanding balance. The total amount you owe may shock you but will also spur you into doing something about it.


Cut your costs


Take a look at everything you spend money on and work out where you can save money. A good place to start is with your utility providers. See which companies are currently offering the cheapest rates. Switching utility companies is much easier than it used to be. Mobile phone tariffs can usually be changed straight away too. You can also do away with unnecessary luxuries. Do you really need that subscription to cable sports channels? Do you really have to eat out every weekend?


Tackle one debt at a time

Now you have reduced your monthly expenditure you can use this extra money to tackle the debt with the smallest outstanding balance. Once this debt is paid you can use the money freed up from that to pay the next smallest debt and so on. This is the best way to tackle your debts. It is important that you are not tempted to spend any of the money that has been freed up on anything other than the next debt until all the debts are paid off. This will save you interest in the long run. Don’t be afraid to seek help

If there are companies who are threatening to take action against you or you are struggling to meet your payments every month then don’t be too proud to seek help. There are many organizations out there who offer free advice and in most cases, these organizations will be able to help you.

How to Plan Your Kid’s Birthday Party with A Private Chef?

Kids look forward to their birthdays, as much as they look forward to Christmas. It is one day when they get all the attention, dress up the way they want and of course get lots and lots of presents. But as a parent, you know the amount of planning that needs to go into it. The number of people to invite, the decorations, seating, entertainment for the little ones and the most important food. Planning itself takes a lot of time, imagine it being a one-person show.

One person or just the parents entertaining, decorating and cooking for a large crowd and not to forget the cleanup that comes after can be difficult. With time being short for most, it is easier to outsource it to professionals. A third party can provide entertainment and so can the décor.

Stressed on your Kids Birthday PartyHowever, if you want to put things in a budget, the venue can be your house, and you can take care of the decor and party favors. These can be taken care over time. But the food needs to be fresh and must be done closest to the day of the event, so it is easier to get a catering service or a private chef.

Tips for Your Child’s Birthday Party

●     Plan Ahead

Getting any event done at the last minute does not bode well for it. Same goes for a birthday party. Plan ahead and think about things that are important like the number of people to be invited, the number of kids who will be present, the seating arrangements, entertainment options, favors, and cake.

●     Entertainment

The party will have plenty of little guests who do not like sitting in one place. Plan to run off their energy or hold their attention for long periods, if you want the party to go without a glitch. Kids entertainment comes in handy at this time.

Hiring a clown or a princess for entertaining the kids may be a good idea, but if it isn’t within your budget, think of games. Four to five games will keep the children occupied and excited to win goodies. Scavenger hunts, musical chairs or hitting the piñata are popular games to engage children.

●     Venue

Sometimes people have parties at home, but the downside is there is a lot of cleanups left after the event. The upside is the lesser expenditure. Depending on your budget, you can choose the venue for the party. If you prefer your home, be sure to have a little space for kids to run around.

Adults may like being in one place, but kids abhor it. So, give them a place to be free and avoid chaos within your house. Parks are a great place to host a birthday party as it gives children enough space to move around.

●     Time and Duration

It is important to select the correct time in the day when the children will be most able to enjoy a party. Keeping it too late at night makes them sleepy and angry, so be mindful of the time. Also, to consider is the duration. Tiny children will not need more than an hour of fun. But the duration increases with age. Children aged 9 and above may want a party that lasts at least 3 hours.

●     Food

Keep finger food out for the kids to grab when they want. Have small bites and easy to eat snacks around. For children, food needs to be dressed up to look yummy to them. It may not be healthy but must look appealing. Try ideas to sneak in healthy snacks to the little ones.

●     Cake

The cake is the biggest highlight of a birthday party. The birthday boy or girl will look forward to it, and it’s the moment when all eyes are on them. You can either bake a cake yourself, a simple one with colorful frosting if your child is an infant. However, they might want cakes in shapes of their favorite cartoons or superheroes if they are older.

Let the chef do all the cookingBirthday Party and a Private Chef

You are a health-conscious parent, and you want healthy meals for your child too. A birthday party is great, but an excess of sugar may not be the best. You want to throw a party and serve yummy meals or snacks that children love. But at the same time, you want it to be healthy. Parents often do not have the time to cook healthy meals for the home. This is even a bigger problem if, as a parent, you have to cook for a party.

If there are children, you will need to make something that is accepted by children, yummy and nutritious. At such a time your options are a catering service or private chef. Catering service will drop food at your venue, and it is done. But there are certain advantages to having a private chef.

  1. A private chef will ensure that the food served is well liked by the young guests. Many have experience of cooking for picky little eaters and plan the menu accordingly.
  2. Some service providers have birthday packages that come with e-invites, unlimited drinks, recipe cards, DIY meal kit for everyone and cute little aprons.
  3. Some children may love making their snacks. The private chef/instructors will not only cater the food but also bring ingredients for a DIY. Activities can range from cake decoration to serious stuff like topping pizzas.
  4. The private chef can also do a demonstration style meal to entertain your little guests.
  5. Most important is to get the food right. A private chef can ensure that food is nutritious and tasty.

How to Hire a Private Chef?

  • The first thing to do is to look for chefs in your area. If you search online, you can easily find a few who take orders for birthday parties. Not all chefs work birthday parties, so find one that does. In areas like New York, you will find a larger pool of private chefs, as the demand is higher. New York is a business hub, and residents may not find the time to do everything for their child’s party or make healthy meals. Some service providers do offer to cater to a birthday party and children will love the meals created by your Personal Chef NYC.
  • The second thing to decide is the cuisine. Look for chefs that specialize in the cuisine of your choosing. Children love fast food and finger foods to say, but you can always entice them with other dishes. Not to forget the adults that are invited to the party.
  • Talk to the private chef on the terms of service as well prices. Cover what will be included in the package and what not, so you can be prepared.

Birthday parties are memorable events for children, and it can be delightful for the guests too. It isn’t too difficult to please children, and just some careful planning will do the trick.

Deciding When to Replace a Refrigerator

“Refrigerator is a must in every household”. This is a statement that perhaps very few would disagree to unless they have a better alternative. But for the majority, refrigerator plays an important role in keeping your food and beverages fresh. The bacteria can take birth easily at high temperature but storing food at a low temperature can help prevent the growth of bacteria.  The refrigerator does not only preserve your food but helps you with refreshing chilled drinks on a hot day.

Everyone is well aware that refrigerators are quite expensive when compared to other household appliances and hence it is important to know the average life of a refrigerator. It is even important to know whether you should get the refrigerator repaired or get it replaced with a new one if required.

Get rid of your old fridgeThe standard life expectancy of a well-maintained refrigerator is somewhere between 14 to 17 years, depending on size and model. You may want to consider getting the refrigerator repaired within the span of 5 years window and perhaps a replacement after that in case it’s not working at all.

Thinking about upgrading your fridge, but don’t know which one to buy?

The refrigerator is a kind of investment which you may not propose to buy every year as you would use it every single day. The intention here is to make you well aware before you invest your money on buying a new refrigerator.

Before buying a refrigerator, it is important to know your requirement and of course the size of the pocket. There are two types of refrigerators in the market – Compact Refrigerators and Standard Refrigerators. The life expectancy of a Compact Refrigerator is about 14 years, while a Standard Refrigerator will run up to 17 years.

  • Compact Refrigerator

A compact refrigerator is a smaller refrigeration machine and is mostly used by the folks who live in small apartments. It uses less space and is affordable. Compact refrigerators can be set up anywhere. You may place these refrigerators where you spend most of your time as you may easily take out whatever food or drink you want as per your convenience.

  • Standard Refrigerators

Standard refrigerators take up more space, generally running 30 to 34 inches in depth, or 35 to 36 inches when the doors and handles are included. You may have to leave a minimum distance of 50mm (1.9685 inches) of space free around the sides and at the back of the unit, and then at least 25mm (0.984252 inches) space at the top. Since it is bigger in size, it would be higher in amount as well.

Should you get your refrigerator repaired or replace it with a new one?

It is important to know if you should replace the refrigerator before investing your money to get it repaired. Every equipment gives certain signs before giving up completely. Refrigerators even give a few indications that’s it’s wearing out. There are some noticeable indications that may direct to a need of a new refrigerator in the near future.

  1. Excessive Condensation

At times the refrigerators may not give proper cooling. You may observe water droplets, yeast or molds on the rubber sealing around the door. It is only possible when the temperature setting is not operating as it should work. The improper cooling process may spoil the food kept inside the refrigerator.

  1. The Motor’s Running Hot

At times the coils installed behind the refrigerator may produce excessive heat which means that the refrigerator is wearing out. It is advisable to call the technician and get your refrigerator repaired. Having said that, if in case you have an old refrigerator then you should get it replaced with a new one rather than investing money to get it repaired as the repair may not last long and would be of less value to the money.

  1. Your Food Is Rapidly Spoiling

If in case the eatables kept in the refrigerator is getting spoiled easily before it normally would or if in case you observe that the refrigerator is taking a long time to cool down the water (liquor) kept inside the refrigerator, then you should understand that the refrigerator is taking its last breath and may give up anytime. You may waste money on getting it repaired and on electric bills as it would consume more energy. In such a situation, it is advisable to replace the refrigerator with a new one rather than getting it repaired.

  1. Your Freezer Resemble an Iceberg

Everyone defrost their refrigerator when you see the iceberg inside the refrigerator. However, if in case the issue persists and you see the freezer getting excessively freezing, first get it checked by refrigerator and cold unit repairs in Dallas to find out how problematic it would be on the longer run before taking the final call on buying the new one.

  1. You Have a Side-by-Side Fridge

You should replace your refrigerator if it is asking for constant repair and is more than 5-7 years old. It is a big indication that the refrigerator is on its one leg. It should not be avoided as you would save money by replacing it with a new refrigerator instead of investing money in getting it repaired.

  1. You Can Hear Your Fridge Crying Out Loud

Keeping food freshA good running refrigerator should not make loud noise while running. Refrigerators are silent appliances and hence if you notice that it is making a loud noise even after re-plugging then you should look for a technician.

  1. You Notice a Good Deal on a Fridge

If in case your refrigerator is older than seven years and is asking for a technician every time, and you see some good offers, it’s officially time. You may replace the refrigerator under the exchange offer or afford to buy a new refrigerator rather than throwing money to get it repaired every time.

It is worthwhile buying a new refrigerator as the old refrigerator may scream for repair every time its old machinery gives up. You may end up paying more electricity bill as it would consume more energy with less efficiency. Be smart and save money with a new energy efficient refrigerator.

The refrigerator is an essential home appliance for every household. The healthy reason to own a refrigerator is to keep our food and beverages fresh for a longer period. It even slows down the birth and the activity of the bacteria.  You can also store certain drugs which are heat sensitive in your fridge.

You should always buy a refrigerator which has an energy star rating on it. The energy star rated refrigerators reduce electricity usage and costs. You should always remember that no matter what type of or how expensive refrigerator you own, continuing to repair an old refrigerator would cost you a big amount rather than simply replacing it after a certain period of time.

How Budget Friendly Are Meal Delivery Services?

Meal Delivery Services have always been a debatable topic. No matter whether cooking is on the list of your favorite activities or not, the preparation for the meals is a hectic job everyone would wish to avoid. And this is the time when the meal delivery services prove to be a boon for the chefs or people at home. Again, it also helps you by giving the right quantity of every ingredient in your meal that can almost taste like the food at the restaurant.

Yet, the question of such ready to serve meals of being healthy and cost-effective has always been a questionable part. While there are many meal delivery service companies who keep the health on the priority while preparing the food for its clients and offer custom meals for a gluten-free diet, keto diet, etc., the cost-effectiveness is something that can make you decide otherwise.

Do you also ever think whether the delivery services would fit your budget or not? Here are some of the widely observed benefits of food delivery services that would help you figure out your confusion.

Too Tired to Do the GroceryTime Spent in the Grocery Store

Have you ever noticed how many times do you visit the grocery stores or markets for getting the ingredients and other kitchen items? Have you ever wondered what is the approximate time you spend there for getting what you want in your basket? A single visit to the grocery store would consume an average of 30 minutes which can be extended to nearly 2 hours. The food delivery services would reduce this period to a great extent.

All you have to do is decide the meal and look for an online store or contact number and order your meal. There are some stores who would provide you with a complete package of the ingredients while some would provide you ready to eat meals. Hence, the food delivery services are good time savers.

Worried If Healthy or Not?

Of course, health comes first while ordering meals. It is important to look after your health both physically and mentally. While there are some diets that would increase your stress levels, there are some that would come with a great impact on your cholesterol levels leading to serious health issues. Again, some are allergic to specific food items while some need to avoid specific ingredients due to some illness. But wait, with food delivery services, all these are looked after very well.

The services come with groups of meals that are highly preferred by people having diabetes, obesity, etc. Hence, while looking for meals, you just need to find the right category of food items that would help you move to what is healthy for you. If you are looking for ready to eat items, you would be available with the ingredients it is cooked from, while for semi-cooked meals, the services come with surety to serve you fresh and healthy.

Make Your Cooking Convenient

Yes, no matter whether you go for ingredient packages or ready to eat meals, both bring you a good level of convenience. The meals come to your doorstep, and thus, you don’t need to travel all the way to the market or grocery for it. The ready to eat meals have been the biggest help when sudden guests knock at your doors or after you have had a hectic day at work.

To be precise, the meals wouldn’t be from the fast food category, means you would be ordering something healthy for your family and friends. All you have to do is select the dishes, set the table, and enjoy your meals. The food delivery services are also favorable for the youths living alone as they would get a best and quick option than the street food.

Free from Cleaning After Meals

If the answer to this is YES, there is a good option for you. Meal delivery services help you in avoiding all that cleaning part after having meals. Ordering meals reduce the burden of cleaning the kitchen and the table. Even if you order the ingredient packages, they would be perfectly ready to merely cook in the microwave and eat. This means, now you don’t need to prepare the ingredients, spend time on cutting the veggies, prepare the table, and clean the mess after meals.

Simply order your dishes, have them and wind up the packages to throw them in the bin. Again, this has helped in reducing the kitchen stress of the working women and youth living alone.

Does Planning Meals Irritate You?

Cooking is not your passionIf you are not good at planning meals, the meal delivery services would be the best option to go with. There are people who are simply busy with their work and hence, don’t get time to plan weekly meals. Again, there are some who fail for this task too.

For both the situations, the delivery services would not only help you by planning your meals but would also deliver them healthy and on time. Such services are quite amazing in giving you the perfect meal every day while you would still be looking for what you want to have or should have.

For the working class, help in planning is surely acceptable as they would be knowing the days and nights they would be occupied in work. With such delivery services, you reduce this stress to a great extent.

Are Meal Delivery Services Budget-Friendly?

Of course, there are many people who would still be confused about whether this option would fit into their budget. But truly speaking, the answer depends on a number of factors too. There are various things that are to be considered like the number of people, comparison of the price of the ingredients with your local grocery, time value, sorting the leftovers of the meals, etc. Again, the budget for food the family has kept aside also matters here.

Considering all these points, it’s safer to conclude that it would be worth trying the meal delivery services as it gives you healthy food, home delivery at your door, and the meals specially prepared in accordance to your diet to keep away the reactions and allergies. However, if you are literally on beans and rice plans, this might be a good blunder for your budget.

How to Get Noticed as an Actor

With the cut-throat competition in every field in the world, it is a great deal to get noticed and be chosen for an amazing opportunity. If we take a look at the acting industry, there are plenty of fishes in the ocean of acting, swimming around the surface but are not being noticed by the dominant people of the industry. If you think about an actor, you will always picture someone who is hooked onto their phone, waiting for one excellent opportunity to raise the career bar. However, the reality is nothing comes easy. You have to strive hard and put in efforts so that the big names in the acting industry look up to you.

Acting workshop to build good relationsResearchers have found out that most of the people who are interested in the world of acting are frustrated with their lives. They have lost their self-esteem and are struggling professionally and financially. Let us ponder over the problems faced by the people in the acting industry to get noticed and curate some of the tips that can help them out in the long run. Read through the article to get acquainted with some of the tips that will help you out to touch the sky in your acting career.

Connecting with People

Networking is an essential step in the process of climbing up the ladder of success in the acting world.  When you look at different actors and directors, it seems as if a group of adults is interacting with each other over a glass of drink and discussing their passion.

Actors and directors build up personal relations so that they can take their career ahead. Thus, networking proves to be a prominent part of being successful. Therefore, you should try to take part in the premieres happening in the industry and other parties, so that you can get in touch with some good people in the industry and make a name for yourself.

Joining Classes

Classes will help you polish your skills and improve your flaws. They will help you out in identifying your strengths and weaknesses and will hone your skills. On the other hand, you will have a chance of portraying your talent, in front of thousands of people and you might just get lucky.  However, do not get too much into networking at the classes. Your focus should be on honing your skills and giving out your best.

Working at an Independent Theatre

It is not wise to always be a part of the big theatre. Most of the big shots, who are handling large theatre look out for people who can handle the responsibilities of an independent theatre — this way they are able to develop a sense of trust in your abilities. In addition to this, it is really important to look up the history of independent theatre and be a part of plays that will help you yield good results in the future.

Short Films & Web Series

With the advancement of technology, a lot of people are getting inclined towards viewing web shows. These web shows and short films might just help you to come under the limelight. The brighter side of this story is that you might just get injected into a film festival and bag yourself a glitzy trophy.

Curating a Showreel

If you do not have projects in store for you, it will be a good idea to film a showreel of your own. Try to focus on the acting part in the showreel and not the script. The quality of acting is the only thing that will help you uplift your acting career. Thus, new agents might notice the showreel and will then recommend you somewhere. Along with this, people will get to know that you are proactive in the industry and you love your work.

Ponder Over a Nice Headshot

If the headshot is a failure, you will surely go unnoticed. The headshots should always be planned according to the role, and they should portray the real you. For instance, if you have a clean shaved look, then you shouldn’t look like a young guy from school. Your headshot should be able to match up your looks.

Joining a Drama School

A lot of people think that acting is a cakewalk. In reality, it takes in a lot of effort to become an amazing actor. Never be an amateur in the industry and try to aim big. So take a decision of joining the drama school, wherein you will learn the nitty-gritty of acting. Further, you will meet people from the same background and be able to build up contacts for the future. Find more about the acting school in the New York  and enroll yourself for different types of method and classic acting sessions.

Drama school will hone all aspects of the acting craftWork on Your Own

If you are sitting idle for long and you have new work coming in your way, then it is better to prepare something for yourself. The plus point to this situation, is that if your work is successful and good, the spotlight will be on you. Further, you will be applauded for a lot of things apart from your acting, such as your creativity, script writing ability, and direction.

In a nutshell, if you will religiously follow all of these points, then you will be able to shine in the industry. But remember one thing never give up. You might be following all of these points and wouldn’t be getting good work.

For such situations, patience should be your best friend. It is really important to put in all your efforts and then wait for the results. Remember, everyone’s journey through life is not the same. Some of them are born with a silver spoon, some people are just lucky, and others are supposed to slog hard and grab the opportunities that they deserve. But in the end, it is all about patience and perseverance. Eventually, everything will fall into place. Just keep doing what you do the best. Keep pushing in, and one day you will be able to bag accolades for your skills and capabilities. Keep on going!

Visiting an Art Museum is Good For Your Health

In thinking about achieving and maintaining good health, we often think of good nutrition and plenty of exercises. While healthy food and regular workouts are essential to good physical and mental health, what we choose to look at and experience also has a huge impact on my day-to-day mental health. To nourish your soul and psyche, I recommend a visit to an art museum.

Meditate at the Museum

Find a painting, sculpture, drawing or photograph that you feel deserves or needs more looking time. I know that when I walk through an art museum, not all artworks get careful scrutinization. My eye and body tend to linger in front of works that pull me in because I like the artist or subject matter. Perhaps I am intrigued with the color, the way the brush strokes are applied, or the overall mood of a work. Let the artwork grab your attention and keep you longer.

Inside the Baltimore Museum of ArtWhen I go to the Baltimore Museum of Art, I have a favorite painting of Mount Saint-Victoire by the French artist Paul Cezanne. Even though I have seen dozens of paintings by Cezanne of this subject matter, this painting never fails to pull me in for a good long look. This good long look at a beautiful and moving work of art is for me both meditation and inspiration.

My mind goes blank as my eye drifts slowly around this wonderful canvas, and I take in those powerful and brief brushstrokes as well as the blank white spaces that Cezanne chose to keep paint-less. My breathing slows, and I can feel my blood pressure lowering almost immediately, no prescription drugs necessary.

Tips for an Art Museum Visit

Below are some tips to help you make the most of your museum experience:

  • Wear comfortable shoes when you go to an art museum. (As a shoe junkie, I am required to say this.) Museums tend to have uncomfortable floors that are made of cement and marble
  • If at all possible, I recommend that you choose a time to visit the museum that is less crowded, perhaps on a weekday
  • You are not required to like or respond to everything you see in an art museum but do keep negative comments to yourself
  • You may want to perform an art museum recon mission of walking through an entire floor quickly, and then deciding where you want to spend your quality looking and seeing time
  • Many museums these days are free, offer significant discounts to students and senior citizens, or have cost-savings membership packages
  • I like to write down the names of artists I have never heard of but would like to know more about. Then I look them up on the internet when I get home
  • Don’t look too long at art. Just as too much rich food can make you ill, looking at art for longer than two hours (or so) is visually exhausting, so don’t overdo it. You don’t want to give yourself an Art Attack 😉

And no, a team of scientists at a world-renowned university did not receive millions in grant money to prove me right. I just know it is so. Even if you have never been to an art museum, it is not too late to start. Looking at art can stimulate your mind and increase your sense of well being. So get out, go to a museum and improve your mental health!

Playing with Pictures at The Met, New York

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently mounted some photographic exhibitions showcasing 19th-century British photographers, almost all of whom were male.

However, the latest display, Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, is dedicated to the ladies, those accomplished Victorian women who used their ladylike skills to create humorous, often bizarre, photocollage albums.

These albums, created for fun, were just one of the many pastimes of aristocratic ladies of the 19th Century including Princesses, Countesses, Viscountesses and many others.

The display showcases more than 40 album pages shown in frames, together with 13 entire albums exhibited in cases. The individual pages of each album can be viewed on a “virtual album” on nearby computer monitors.

The exhibition shows how the traditional arts of drawing and painting were combined with photography to create unusual, often satirical results. For example, Georgina Berkeley created animals with human heads. Famous, or not so famous personalities were morphed onto everyday household items or fashion accessories, as shown by Victoria Alexandrina Anderson-Pelham, Countess of Yarborough’s Mixed Pickles. A piece by Alexandra, Princess of Wales, provides a social record of every class of Victorian society.

Photography, Photocollage and the Victorians

By the middle of the 19th Century, photography was becoming an increasingly popular activity in England. The studio portrait and the fashion for the carte de visite – a visiting card bearing a photo of its owner – kept the professional photographers busy.

It was fashionable for cartes de visite to be collected by aristocratic ladies, many of whom were also keen amateur photographers. The photos they took, and the cards they collected, provided a rich source of material for their scrapbooks. They challenged the serious conventions of photography, frequently lampooning subjects as varied as the rules and regulations of aristocratic society, theories of evolution, politics and political figures.

Playing with Pictures – Highlights of the Exhibition

When the albums were originally created they were not intended for public gaze, and many have not been publicly shown until now. This is a rare opportunity to explore the scrapbooks of personalities such as Blanche Fournier, creator of the Madame B Album, and Frances Elizabeth, Viscountess Jocelyn, creator of the Jocelyn Album.

Madame B in watercolorBlanche Fournier and the Madame B Album

Based on clues appearing throughout the scrapbook, Madame B has been identified as Marie-Blanche-Hennelle Fournier (1831-1906), known as Blanche, second wife of the French diplomat Hugues-Marie-Henri Fournier (1821–1898).

The album, which shows Blanche to be an accomplished watercolorist, contains more than 140 pages of photographs and watercolors. It provides a record of her life and travels throughout Sweden, Italy, and France. The images are often surreal and playful, such as the untitled page showing a butterfly with human faces.

Diamond Shape with Nine Studio Portraits by Viscountess Jocelyn 1860Frances Elizabeth Jocelyn and the Jocelyn Album

Another album on display was created by Frances Elizabeth Jocelyn (1820-1880), an aristocrat who took up photography in the 1950s. Frances was the step-daughter of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865). One of the pages in her album: Diamond Shape with Nine Studio Portraits of the Palmerston Family and a Painted Cherry Blossom Surround shows nine miniature photographic portraits of the Palmerston family, all taken by Frances at Broadlands, Lord Palmerston’s country home in Hampshire.

In 1862, Lady Jocelyn, a member of the Photographic Society of London, was awarded an “honorable mention for artistic effect in landscape photography” when she entered four photographic views of Broadlands at the International Exhibition in London. Lady Jocelyn’s photographs also appeared at the International Exhibition of 1865, held in Dublin.

Playing with Pictures – Exhibition Catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a 200-page catalog, by curator Elizabeth Siegel, featuring 140 color and 40 black and white illustrations. The publication examines the avant-garde nature, the themes and social meanings of photocollage, through essays by Elizabeth Siegel, Patrizia Di Bello, and Marta Weiss, together with additional contributions by Miranda Hofelt. The catalog is published by Yale University Press for The Art Institute of Chicago.

Playing with Pictures as on show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2010, after which it will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

Keeping the Art Gallery Pest-Free

Art galleries are notoriously famous for housing thousand-to-million dollar artworks ranging from paintings, sketches, sculptures, to mixed art. The need to protect these works is exceptionally high, and the challenge is on for the gallery’s curators.

Art gallery fumigation against termitesDealing with antiques and art may sound exciting. But many don’t realize the many hurdles that come with the job associated with handling them. There are many risks involved in managing a gallery being a director, since you have to maintain stakeholders’ donations and personal collection.

Art galleries are also under the watchful eye of many, especially when high-stake artworks are being put up for sale. Not only is this time a celebratory moment for art dealers. Also, for art stealers who make a living out of original and duplicate works. Gallery and auction securities are put on high alert during busy visiting and auctioning times.

Along with art dealers and art stealers, curators must also watch out for one more group of “stealers” that is even harder to prevent. The threat of pests is one of the most significant challenges that many galleries face. And it is also one of the reasons why galleries need to allow a substantial budget for pest control. However, no matter how much studios spend on prevention. Many times, pests are still able to seep through valuable artworks and antiques leading to their degradation. Galleries then would have to spend for their restoration; but, when it gets beyond repair, they would have to spend millions to pay the art lender, or, declare bankruptcy.

How do you prevent pests in a controlled setting like an art gallery? And how do you make sure that you are doing the right and efficient method?

Here are some tips to help prevent pests from ruining gallery arts and antiques:

1. Carefully inspect each piece of art

Before putting any artwork on display, carefully inspect each piece of art to make sure no hidden pests are finding their shelter on the artwork. There is no use rushing with the display because you might end up paying more with lost time, energy and resources, with having to put pest control treatments to the artwork again.

Clean and pest-free galleries will save you from damageAn inspection must be at least a three-tier process, meaning, at least three inspectors should approve of the artwork before being approved for display. This New York pest control company is definitely acquainted with checking for possible hiding grounds of pests.

2. Do routine weekly inspections

Pests can grow and multiply at an unprecedented rate. So you must think ahead and control them before they take control of the gallery. It may be time-consuming, but it is wise to do weekly inspections on all artworks to make sure no pests are hiding for shelter. And since inspectors can be challenging to find, you can put up a training seminar for gallery staff, so each one is qualified to check for pests on the artworks.

Artwork under maintenancePest prevention is crucial to undertake because pest control treatments end up being more expensive. Not only do procedures put a big risk on the artworks; they also put a significant cost in the gallery. It may be more costly to hire professional inspectors, but it is definitely worth the price since you know you are covered for the long haul.

The Easiest Songs to Play on a Guitar

When you are a new guitar learner, it can be frustrating to learn all the chords and strumming, so you feel like you want to give up. It can even be more frustrating if you can barely play your favorite songs, no matter how hard you practice.

Practicing religiously makes a good guitaristIf you are feeling frustrated, consider this: it takes years of practice to be good with guitar playing. It is not a skill which you can learn overnight. You must be willing to exert extra hours, to have your fingers hurt a little, and to keep on repeating the same chords and strum patterns over and over again until you are happy with the results of your practice. So, to feel discouraged at the start of your guitar learning is fine, as long as you don’t give up.

Let’s say you have been practicing for every day a month now, and you now know the basic chords. How do you step up your game and learn how to play songs that contain these basic chords?

First off, it is essential to consider that before you start wanting to play songs, you must put in the time and effort to learn the chords. You don’t have to learn the power chords straight away; just the basic chords for now. But you have to be super confident in playing these chords before learning a song, because if you don’t get to play the chords seamlessly, then it can be difficult to understand the song. So, before wanting to play a song, know the basic chords first.

Secondly, you must be ready to learn the different basic strumming patterns. Once you learn the chords, it is not that difficult to learn to strum because you already have an idea of the rhythm of the song. Strumming is not the same across the board and is highly dependent on the song, so to be exposed to different patterns is a good start for you if you want to keep on practicing.

Guitar lessons keeps you on your toesThirdly, remember that guitar playing is a skill that takes times to master; therefore, repetition is key. You can’t expect to be better if you practice only once a week. You always have to find time to practice, even if it is just 30 minutes a day. Or better yet train under Music To Your Home guitar lessons, as constant repetition is crucial so guitar playing would eventually turn out as second nature to you.

So, what songs are the easiest to play for beginners? Here are some tips and song examples:

1. Find songs built with basic chords

Almost all of Taylor Swift’s songs are written with basic chords in them, so if you are a TS fan, then this is good news for you. Many pop songs, like those by Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry to name a few, are also built with basic chords, so it’s a great way to get you going with your practice.

An example would be Paramore’s “The Only Exception,” which contains only three chords: G, Dm, Cmaj7. Surprising, isn’t it? So, don’t lose hope!

2. Capo is your friend

Ever wonder what that bar thing is on many players’ guitars? It is the capo, the easiest way to change the pitch of the song. Advanced guitar players can change the pitch through the usage of different chords, but for beginner to intermediate players, the capo is the best way to go. There is nothing wrong with using this because it does not in any compromise the sound of the music you are playing.

You can even play difficult chords and transform them into easier ones using a capo. An example would be Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours.” If you don’t use a capo, you will be using the chords B, F#, Gm, and E. However, with a capo on the fourth fret, you will be using the more straightforward chords, that is, G, D, Em, and C.

There are many ways by which you can play your favorite songs while you are still learning the ropes of the guitar. One is to play songs built with basic chords, and another is to play with a capo if you need to change the pitch. Repetition is critical, too, so always allow some time in a day for practice.

The Korean Gradient Lip Trend: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

When it comes to beauty and skincare trends, Korea is definitely up there along with the pioneers. No longer just a bit-player in the scene, Korea has broken the box and has been consistently and persistently changing the landscape of what we consider beautiful by trailblazing its trends. And, yes, we love every bit of it. From dewy skin to straight brows to over-sized contact lenses, we just can’t get enough of what Korea has in store for us.

hot lip gradient trendOne of these trends, however, has recently caught our eye, aside from the trendy cosmetics for K-Beauty users. It’s fresh, it’s cute, and it’s worth a try. Of course, we’re talking about the Korean Gradient Lip Trend. Also known as cherry lips this trend is now making its way to the Western Hemisphere through the massive influence of Korean stars and idols.

In Korea, though, the gradient lip style is not much of a trend but more of a staple nowadays. First popularized by their internet celebrities, this style is also often paired up with large contact lenses for an overall look that is vibrant, cute, and youthful.

For our tutorial, we’re going to help you recreate the Korean gradient lip style. As in many things in beauty, there really is no one way of doing a particular style. So we’ve compiled three ways for you to achieve this look! Try one or try them all to see what method works best for you.

TECHNIQUE NO. 1: Just lipstick
Difficulty Level: Easy

If you’re new to this trend and would just like to try it out, then this technique is for you. This is also great for girls who are always on the go or girls who would rather get a few more minutes of precious sleep than do their makeup in the morning.

1. Exfoliate your lips. You can use a toothbrush and some warm water to gently scrub your lips free of dead skin cells. Alternately, you can use a lip scrub! Lip scrubs are great because they don’t only exfoliate, they also moisturize. We recommend Tony Moly’s Kiss Kiss Lip Scrub. (link: https://www.peachandlily.com/products/kiss-kiss-lip-scrub)
2. Take your favorite lipstick and apply a thin layer of color on the center of your lips. For a full Korean look, use colors that are light and vibrant such as pink, coral, berry red, or even orange! We recommend Holika Holika’s Honeydrop Lip Tint Stick for its wonderful collection of colors! (link: https://www.peachandlily.com/products/honeydrop-lip-tint-stick)
3. Using a lip brush – or your finger if you don’t own one – gently spread out the lip color towards the outer ends of your lips. Top it off with your favorite lip balm to give it a nice, glossy finish.

TECHNIQUE NO. 2: Concealer on Lipstick
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This technique is best suited for those who have a little bit more experience in applying makeup as it involves a few more products. If you are, however, leaning on the daring side and would like to try something new, try this technique too!
1. Apply a thin layer of concealer on your lips to make your lips match your own skin tone. The concealer might be a bit drying on your lips so remember to exfoliate and dab a small amount of balm as well.
2. Next, apply a small amount of lipstick along the inner area of your lips. For a more precise application, use a lip brush.
3. Smudge the lipstick and spread it towards the outer parts of your lips. Apply a bit more lipstick on the inner area if you feel you’ve lost the gradient effect.
4. For a more dramatic effect, apply a thin coat of lip tint on your inner lips. You can either use the same color or go a shade darker.
5. Lastly, apply some lip balm on the outer area of your lips. This will make your lips more natural looking as well.

TECHNIQUE NO. 3: Lipstick on lipstick
Difficulty Level: Difficult

lip tint techniqureIf you’re looking for a bolder look for your nighttime makeup, this technique is the best one for you. It might involve some trial and error on your part but be patient because the result has an amazing effect that will surely have everyone captivated!
1. Once again, scrub and exfoliate your lips using your favorite lip exfoliator. Dab a bit of balm for added moisture.
2. Choose two lipsticks that are at least a shade or two away from each other. For easier application, we recommend you use liquid lipsticks with a matte finish.
3. Apply the lighter of the two lipstick on your entire lip area. Wait for it to settle and dry a bit.
4. Apply a small amount of the dark lipstick on your inner lip area. Gently blend with your finger. You may have to work fast, depending on how fast your liquid lipstick dries.

And there you have it! These are the three techniques that will help you achieve the Korean lip gradient style. Why don’t you try it on for yourself and see which one of the looks suit you best? Remember, have fun and don’t forget to pose for a photograph!