Gear Buyer’s Guide: Round Out Your Collection with Unusual Instruments

If you’re like most musicians with an interest in gear, you probably have what adds up to a metric ton of the stuff. Most musicians stick with one or two instruments when building a collection though.

While that’s great if you’re trying to perfect a sound or you’re a touring musician, sometimes having more tools at your disposal in the studio or home studio can be beneficial too. Use this guide to help you learn more about instruments you should consider buying.

Whether you find them on the used market or new in the store is up to you, knowing what could help you can make shopping a bit easier. Especially if you happen to find a killer deal while you’re just out and about.

Electric Organ

Electric organs were all the rage in homes across American for 20-plus years. Now, most people simply don’t have room for them when smaller versions are readily available. Still, there’s something unique about older electric organs – especially the models with a real rotating Leslie-style speaker.

Check thrift stores and salvage shops to score a unique organ. You might not find a professional model this way, but you might pick up something pretty cool and useable for the cost of dinner and a movie.

Fretless Bass

Every musician knows how important bass is, and a lot of people, from guitarists to drummers, have on or two on hand to work out ideas or lay down a simple track when recording. Not everybody considers a fretless model though.

While they do take some time to learn, musicians that enjoy the challenge can really sink their teeth into a fretless instrument. You’ll get some amazing sounds once you learn how to play the thing as well.

Look for this type of bass in music stores or online. There isn’t much chance you’ll find a playable model in a thrift store or junk shop.

Lap Steel Guitar

The lap steel guitar is the little brother of the pedal steel. Luckily for you, they’re much more cost-effective and they won’t take you a million years to learn to play.

You can find lap steel guitars online, but make sure you get a chance to play one before you buy. There were a lot of inexpensive older models made and those don’t always stand up to years of abuse or storage.

As long as you have these essentials, you’re well on your way to becoming the new Hendrix on the block.

Exploring and Understanding the Power of Music

Even if the majority of us cannot sit down and write out a scientific explanation of why, every single one of us understands that music affects us. When people are driving in their vehicle, working, or exercising at the gym, a change in music can have a profound effect on how they act and feel. If a fast-paced song is playing on the radio, they are inclined to put their foot down on the accelerator and to drive a little faster, walk a little faster on the treadmill, and work a little harder.

Commenting on the power of music, Frederick Nietzsche said, “life without music is a mistake.” Scientists are only now scratching the surface of the way that music can affect the human brain. One thing that they have learned is that music can affect the way that we see another person’s face. Why? Well, when our brain hears music, it determines whether or not the music is happy or if it is sad. Our brain reacts differently to happy music than it does to sad music. Even after listening to sad music for a short period of time, participants of a study interpreted the neutral facial expressions on images of people that they saw as sad. The same thing happened when they heard happy music and then were showed images of people with neutral expressions on their face. The participants viewed the images they saw as those of happy people.

Music changes both heartfelt emotions and our perceived emotions. This is because when we listen to music, we are able to understand emotions that are being transmitted by the music, even if we are not feeling those emotions at the time. This explains why a person can sit down, listen to a sad piece of music, and thoroughly enjoy it. They listen to the sad music and they don’t feel depressed, yet they understand the emotions that the music is transmitting.

Even though the music that a person listens to may be sad, it does not pose any real threat or danger. People are able to perceive the emotions in a vicarious way without actually feeling them.

Many communities, especially in New York City, have been using the power of music in a positive way. Pop up pianos in New York have served as a way for random musicians to play music that is both uplifting and encouraging to the entire community.

That’s why nothing can stop me from listening to my favorite defunct pop band if it makes me deliriously happy.

Remembering Lost Family Members With Cremation

If you have ever lost a family member, then you know that it can sometimes be difficult to have the money together for a funeral that the person deserves. There are some who make arrangements before they pass away, but if the death is unexpected, then it can leave other family members in a position to make a decision as to how to care for the body. One option that is affordable and still offers some of the same respects of a funeral is cremation.

This is an option for those who might not have a large family and simply want to have a memorial service so that family and friends can say a final goodbye. Even though the body is cremated, you can still have the remains buried in a cemetery with a grave marker. A funeral service can also be held as some cremation services in Virginia can be postponed while the family holds a traditional remembrance ceremony. The person is placed in a casket that is rented from the funeral home so that there is a viewing before a memorial service.

Cremation will save money that is spent on embalming, a casket, cosmetic charges and transportation fees. After the body has been cremated, the remains are placed in a container. This makes it easy to take the person to any location, which can give some family members a peace of mind in knowing that the loved one is with them instead of being in the ground. This is also beneficial for those who plan to move in the future. If the person is buried in a cemetery, then it can sometimes be difficult to visit the grave and leave flowers when you want to compared to if you have the remains in an urn in the home. The process of cremation only takes a few days. An environmental advantage is that there isn’t any land that is disturbed in order to bury a casket in the ground. You can also have the remains placed in a sapling. This is somewhat of a new idea and offers a way for you to plant a memorial that will be seen for years to come.

Crying Over Spilt Breast Milk

And so, it happened.  It’s any breastfeeding or pumping mom’s worst nightmare.  I spilled a good ounce of expressed breast milk all over my office desk.  I clumsily tipped over the bottle of milk, and spilled all that liquid gold on my table.  As any breastfeeding mom knows, this is sheer heartbreak.  It takes a lot of effort to pump out all that milk and to see it all go to waste is simply soul-wrenching.

This provides the perfect backdrop to what I’m going through right now.  Although breast milk has nothing to do with how I feel at work right now, the heartbreak is all but the same.

I feel slightly demoralized at work.  No, my boss didn’t yell at me or anything like that.  I just think that I’m in the wrong profession.  Or I can probably still be a librarian- just at a different institution.    But I have been working in this school for nine years now, so I doubt that’s the problem.

Thoughts are just swirling around my head like a pool of fatty breast milk.  I guess what matters most now are that my job helps me provide for my children’s needs, and that my boobs are the wellspring of nourishment for my baby.  As long as my milk ducts are all good, I’m a happy camper.

As for the spilt breast milk, there’s no use crying over that now.  Besides, there’s more where that came from.

Valentine’s Day Around the World- and What This Day Means to Me

Truth be told, I have always been the proverbial Scrooge of Valentine’s Day. I even remember making it a habit to wear black on this day- mainly just to screw things up for everyone else. But this year, I’m happy to announce that things are going to take a turn for the better. Ever since my baby boy was born three months ago, I have become more optimistic about things- including Valentine’s Day. I now see it as an important day to celebrate love and life.

Anyway, all this outpouring of love has led me to learning about how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world:

In Japan, men are king on Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, it’s the women who spoil their men with chocolates on this day. It was a tradition started by Morozoff Ltd., a confectioner based in Kobe, way back in 1936.

In Canada, children exchange gifts with their friends. On Valentine’s Day, kids put all their gifts or personally crafted cards inside a decorated box that their teacher then distributes to everybody in class.

In Malaysia, single women get a chance to literally “put themselves out there”. They write their phone numbers on oranges and then throw them into the nearest river, hoping that Mr. Right picks one up.

I may be single as of the moment, but this does not deter me from celebrating this day of hearts. I think I might actually outdo myself and send my closest friends some flowers (won’t that be a surprise!). I’ll take the convenient route of buying flowers online. I saw this box of Valentines Day flowers with Lindt chocolates from Fresh Flowers– an online flower shop.

Life has changed dramatically for me. I have been blessed with a new baby, and things are going great. Valentine’s Day finally has meaning. Now, it’s time to spread the love.

Of Gardening With My Daughter and Bingo

One of my little known hobbies all throughout 2015 has been gardening. Although I cannot say that I am among the best at it, I have my fair bit of experience in the field (or rather, my garden). Of course, I have killed a bush that once needed watering, but that hasn’t deterred me from learning more about plants and respecting their existence.

On Sundays, when people look for the ideal entertainment for themselves and their family, I find that there is no better way to spend it than in your very own garden. My daughter and I have grown numerous vegetables together, and on more than one occasion, have had to keep ourselves from plucking tomatoes before they ripened.

Gardening teaches you a lot about yourself and is also considered a good way to meditate. My kid enjoys her time in the garden, which goes to show that she is definitely going to grow up to be a more environmentally sensitive person.

Always let your children find their own interests and be as supportive as you possibly can. There is nothing more pleasing than watching your children explore new possibilities.

After washing off all the soil from my hands- and carefully sanitizing my daughter’s too- I let her run off to her room for a quick nap or whatever else she may want to do. That’s when I pull out my tab and take a look at what has been happening on my bingo account. One of my favorite sites for bingo and casino games has been GameVillage Bingo. The site has many interesting games with massive prizes too.

The bingo games at GameVillage include over 8 different bingo rooms with different games prizes and jackpots, out of which 2 of the rooms are even free. So whenever, you get some time to yourself, try out some of these online games. They are not just entertaining but rewarding as well.

10 Ways to Build Your Child’s Confidence

Building a childs confidence is a job that starts at a very young age, but is as crucial as picking the right school system for him. If you want to make sure that your child will be a confident, happy kid, these top ten tips will help.
  1. Establish a physical bond with your child early on. A close physical bond can help your child feel safe in the world during their formative years. Using something along the line of a baby carrier that supports skin-to-skin contact can help with this once youre past the newborn age.

  2. Allow them to fall down and fail occasionally. Believe it or not, kids will learn that failure isnt the end of the world if you let them make mistakes. In fact, showing them that its important to try again will make them realize that failing is a part of life. They will feel more comfortable with taking risks, which in turn will make them more confident in their ability to recover easily.

  3. Teach them to stand up to bullies. By explaining to them that its okay to stand up for themselves, youre teaching them that its okay to rely on themselves to do the harder things in life. Many parents have noted positive changes in confidence after they enrolled their children in self-defense classes, too.

  4. Be responsive to your child during your child’s early years. When a child cries out for food or milk, its because they need you. Being responsive to your childs needs and cries shows your child that you view them as precious, and as a priority. What can be more confidence-boosting than that?

  5. Be positive. Kids thrive under positivity, and parents that are regularly healthy and happy will make children feel happier, too. Its hard to deny that seeing happy people also happens to be confidence-boosting for adults, too.

  6. Call your child by his name. Oh, what an amazing impact just saying someones name can have! Children who hear their names on a regular basis often have a better sense of identity, and also have a tendency of feeling like they matter. You can never go wrong with saying your childs name. After all, dont you like it when your parents called you by name instead of Here, kid!

  7. Encourage your child to discover his or her own talents. A child who sees that they can do great things is a child who will always be a bit more confident than his or her peers. It doesnt matter if his talent is art, sports, or even video games, either. By encouraging your childs exploration and praising their good work, youre showing them that theyve got value in their talents, and that will build their confidence more than anything else.

  8. Praise your child whenever he accomplishes something difficult. Tossing empty praise at a child can do more harm than good, but that doesnt mean that you should never compliment your kid when he actually achieves something difficult to do. When your child actually has to work for praise, that praise will mean a lot more. It also will give them a more realistic outlook on life, too.

  9. Teach your child to accept other people from different backgrounds. If you want your child to feel confident in a world that may or may not accept her due to circumstances out of control, make an effort to show them that you and those around you accept and appreciate people of different backgrounds. Teaching them to accept others will make them feel more confident around people of other backgrounds, regardless of how old they are.

  10. Keep an eye out for bad influences. Whether its just the possibility of hanging with the wrong crowd in school, or something much worse, a childs exposure to bad influences can definitely eat away at his or her self-esteem. Curbing negative people and lessons in your childs life can be difficult, but it can seriously help them mature in a confident, healthy manner.

Its important to realize that confidence is something that is built up over time. Be patient with your child, and also make a point of it to reinforce their confidence every single day. With hope and hard work, it will pay off in the end.

Author Bio: A parenting writer, Regina empowers women through her writing and parenting tips. If she’s not writing, you can catch her surfing the web for what’s new at Fertile Mind.

Improving the Value of Your Property Before Selling

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If you are thinking about selling your place of residence any time soon then you should start worrying about its appearance today. You would be surprised how much the small investment and a little bit of effort can contribute to the overall value of your house.

With advice from your local real estate agent, you can easily make your house as close to turnkey standards as possible. A turnkey standard home is a house where a purchaser can move right in, without the need for any repairs. Today, many buyers do not want to spend any more money and effort into a house after having gone through a long process of acquiring it.

The list below contains four simple ways that you can approach the turnkey status and improve the value of your property before you put it out on the market.

  1. External Wall Painting

The exterior of your home is usually the first thing the potential buyer sees, so you have to make sure that your house looks its best outside and inside. Homes that look rundown, old or simply mistreated just will not make the cut anymore. A fresh coat of paint will make your house look more appealing, modern and fresh. However, you have to be careful when choosing a color, because distasteful colors such as lime green can make your house stand out for all of the wrong reasons. It is a good idea to consult a designer before you get started; also, there are virtual painting programs online that can give a preview of your coloring choice.

  1. Kitchen Upgrades

The kitchen is the place where people spend much of their time, especially with their families during breakfast, lunch and dinner. This one room can be a showpiece of your house, and it can help you sell it for a good price. Purchasers want a functional workspace that includes good cupboards, taps and bench-tops. It is a common mistake among the sellers to overdo the kitchen upgrades. Some buyers can be turned off by fancy upgrades, because they will automatically assume that the property is more expensive.

  1. Bathroom Repairs

A good bathroom space has to be both functionally and aesthetically appealing. Pay attention to details, small repairs like replacing the tile grout and painting the walls can do miracles. As with kitchen upgrades, you should not go crazy renovating the bathroom space with all new showers, toilets and cabinetry, because it may not be necessary to add value to your house.

  1. Roof and Foundations

Although this may not be apparent to your buyers at first glance as these other factors are, a poor inspection report could potentially break your sale at the last moment. Therefore, you have to have a professional come in to examine your home ahead of time, so you can fix any structural flaws.pic (2)

Getting started

In fact, the best thing that you can do is look for an estimation before you start and a professional agent can tell you how much work is needed for your house to reach a certain value and if it’s worth your time and funds. Experts from Think Conveyancing will evaluate your place of residence and let you know how much is your house worth at this moment, and how much will it be worth after all the work is done.

For now, you should focus on tasks that do not require much financial investment and energy. You should also consult a handy-man before tackling the unnecessary tasks. By the end, you will be confident that you have done everything in your power to increase your home’s value and attract potential buyers.

 

Perfect Planning: How to Have a Successful Event

There are many choices when it comes to planning your perfect event. Whether you are planning a golf outing, wedding or corporate luncheon, there are several steps to take to ensure that your event will be flawless and memorable. From the venue to the food and the entertainment, there are many details that will make your event a success.

The Venue

The first place to start when planning a flawless event is the venue. Your venue will set the tone for the entire event. When your invitations arrive, your guests will know whether you are planning a casual event or a formal, sit-down affair. For a golf outing, the most logical venue is a local course. You can find the right Chicago golf course that will accommodate a party of your size. If you are planning a wedding or corporate event, a golf course provides the perfect backdrop, giving you ample room for mixing and mingling and a scenic view.

The Menu

Your menu will play a huge role in the overall success of your event. Many golf courses have on-site catering services, and can provide a menu that will please even the most discerning guest. You can choose to offer a sit-down meal, appetizers or buffet style dinner. Some venues even offer carving stations and made to order dishes. An open bar makes the party even more festive, and your venue can arrange for you to offer a featured cocktail for your guests.

The Entertainment

The entertainment you choose will largely depend on your event and its level of formality. If you are planning a wedding, a DJ may be just what you need to get the crowd up and dancing. For a golf outing, a five piece jazz band will delight your guests at your cocktail hour. Finally, if you are going for a formal wedding ceremony, a violinist, harpist or orchestra will add a memorable touch that your guests won’t soon forget.

The Decor

One of the best things about hosting your event at a golf course is that it comes with its own natural decor and scenery. Lush greens and open expanse are perfect for getting the right photos and providing you with a backdrop of natural beauty. The interior spaces often come decorated, so there is no need to splurge on expensive decorations for your golf course event.

When it comes to planning the right event, attending to the details will make it memorable.

4 Ways to a Greener Funeral

No one wants to think about the end of life, but it’s an inevitable part of living. Some would argue the brevity of the human life is what makes it so beautiful. That said, you do want to leave the world a better place than you found it. There are a number of ways you can take a more green approach to the end of your life.

1. Avoid embalming.

Many of the chemicals used to delay the decomposition of the body can be toxic to the environment. You can opt to not be embalmed and then become a natural part of the food chain once more. After you die, your body will go on to be a food and nutrient source to a number of plants and insects. In a way, you’ll live on through the life you give to other creatures.

2. Use biodegradable urns.

If you want to be cremated instead of buried, you can be. However, consider purchasing a biodegradable urn; while your family can hold on to your remains for as long as they need to, in time, the urn will decompose and break down, becoming a part of nature once more. It is composed of all natural, long-lasting materials that won’t be harmful to the environment when they’re no longer needed.

3. Leave a living marker.

Rather than having a huge, bulky tombstone put down to memorialize you, consider having a tree planted on your grave instead. The tree will assist the surrounding environment with oxygen production, as well as provide shelter to a number of animals. A small plaque can be installed in the tree to state its purpose. This is a great way to be remembered while still helping the environment.

4. Encourage a green funeral.

Many funeral parlors offer services where only recycled materials are used in the ceremony. This means you won’t be contributing to the carbon footprint anymore when your funeral service arrives. The hymn sheets, programs, and more are made of recycled paper, while the flowers come from local and organic growers. Refreshments can also be purchased locally to help out the local economy.

By following these four steps, you can take your place in the circle of life and help leave the world a better place than you found it.