Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Mother's Day Gift Guide

I hope you are all staying safe. I'm so excited to share this collection of Mother's Day gift ideas. Obviously, there are so many things moms will love that don't require a purchase. The most important thing you can give is love and time. Whether that is seeing them in person (of it is viable and safe) or video calls, phone, text, hand written letters. Anything that shows you are thinking of them.

But, I know a lot of us love to buy gifts too, so I hope this list can help you find something great, for any mom on your list, or for treating yourself. You deserve it!

Paint and Sip Live!

Experience gifts are always some of my favorite. Making memories can be so much more special than collecting 'stuff'. What's wonderful about Paint and Sip Live is that you actually get both. You can give mom the experience of learning to paint something new, the fellowship of doing it with other people (safely via Zoom) and the lasting memento in the form of the one of a kind painting she makes in the process.

Paint and Sip Live will have multiple class times on Sunday, May 8th in honor of Mother's Day. Classes are available at 2pm, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm EST. You can order just a class (for artists who would have their own supplies) or you can purchase a kit, which includes supplies mailed to the recipient.

The classes are so much fun. Any time you can share a common passion with like-minded people, especially now in times of social distancing, it is wonderful. The tutorial is easy to follow and the paintings come out beautiful. If the mother you are shopping for likes art, I highly recommend this special gift.
 

 

Lou Malnati’s Tastes of Chicago

Food gifts are always some of my favorites. I especially love to try things that are new to me, especially regional or foreign foods. Lou Malnati’s Tastes of Chicago fits that need perfectly. I had never tried Chicago pizza before. I used to firmly believe that thin crust (MY style) was the best there is. Now, I am inclined to believe they are separate yet equal. The pizzas are delicious!!

I would never believe this was a frozen pizza had I not prepared it myself. The quality, freshness and flavor are impeccable. And as a mom, I can't help but love the convenience, it's basically as simple as heat and serve. This gift is sure to wow any pizza fan (and let's be real, that's almost everyone.)


GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

For the mom on the go, the GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is the perfect choice for both practical and entertainment use. I often need to work on the go, so this is perfect for that, allowing me to use my laptop from anywhere.

It is also great for mothers of younger children as it is ideal for power tablets in places were WiFi is generally unavailable. Keeping children's tablets and streaming services working can be the difference between stress and sanity, sometimes. This great device really has so many benefits. 


Zaaina 

Pamper mom with incredible face and skin care products. Zaaina products are made with all-natural ingredients, these products nourish skin with nutrient-filled oils, butters, botanicals and herbs. The soaps are so pretty and everything smells wonderful. My skin looks and feels so much better using these. Any mom would be thrilled with these items. The Mother's Day Self Care Spa Box is a great choice, but you can't go wrong with any option. 


Peepers Sunglasses

If you've followed me for any length of time, it should be apparent that I have a small (major) obsession with sunglasses. I am so impressed with Peepers. They have an amazing selection, the styles are all very trendy and the sunglasses are excellent quality, especially for also being such a great value. You can never have too many sunglasses (though my collection will some day test that theory) and they are practical as well as fun and stylish. They also offer readers and blue light glasses, as well as kids styles. 


Xino Sports

Xino Sports has a great selection of fun products for moms and kids to bond over. My favorite are the skates, specifically these super cute roller skates. They have in-line skates, as well and even ice skates. They also have ball bouncers which are great for younger children. Activities done together can be some of the best gifts of all. Memories last a lifetime. 


Activation

I am not usually the most interested in wellness products, but these wonderful things from Activation are likely to change that. These oils can be ingested or applied topically and have a litany of benefits for hair, skin, as well as metabolism support, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and much more. I especially love the Pumpkin Seed Oil and Black Sesame Oil. There is also Magnesium, which is great for relief from cramps and muscle pain.


Filled With Gold

Holidays can be especially difficult when you have lost a loved one, particularly if you are a widow. We recently lost my Father In Law and my Mother In Law is so lost without him. He was her life. Filled With Gold Box is such a lovely gift. Not only does it have the wonderful book "Filled with Gold, A Widow's Story" but he has a collection of self care items that are curated by someone who understand the pain of a widow and the needs that they have. 



 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Being Sick is Not a Crime

I feel like I have touched on some aspects of legal issues and criminal defense on this blog at some point in the past, but I know it is not something that I preach on regularly. However I feel compelled to stand on my soapbox for a moment, so bear with me.

It is always possible to be falsely accused of a crime, and it is important to seek dependable legal counsel if that should happen. However, I am more focused on specific cases of baseless accusations. There are times when individuals make an illegitimate claim, and then there is the issue of a whole system being prejudice toward certain groups, painting them as criminals simply for existing.

One of the most prime examples of this is the mentally ill. Those with mental illnesses often end up in situations that are entirely preventable if they had access to the right care and understanding for their condition, which, make no mistake, is a real, physical illness that can almost always be seen on brain scans. Even when it may not be visible, it is always still valid.

Despite having real illness that deserve treatment and accommodations, they are usually left to fail by the system and sometimes by their own families due to lack of understanding. Being in that situation leads to other problems, like difficulty maintaining employment, which begets homelessness or possible risk of starvation, etc. This can necessitate 'crimes' such as theft or vagrancy.

Still the real crime is leaving these people without support and then acting like they are the ones who have failed society. Being sick is not a crime. No one attacks cancer patients, saying if they "just tried harder" they could overcome their medical condition. You'd never tell someone with paraplegia to "stop making excuses and just walk". Yet those with mental illness are always told to "just get over it" "try harder", etc. It's ableism.

I don't meant to rant or anything, but I have seen these things happen on a global scale and up close in personal experiences and it is never okay. There needs to be more ways to fight these kinds of things, and more people willing to admit that it is happening and that it is wrong.

I am always glad to see when others understand this issue. I noticed a tab while on the Mike G Law website that addresses mental health and substance abuse issues. Addiction is also a genuine form of illness, though too many people stigmatize it and deny that fact.

If you or a loved one is being charged with a crime over charges connected to mental health or addiction related matters, I urge you to seek out an attorney that will understand how that changes the situation and fight to defend you.


Don't forget to defend yourself and the people you love, too, though. When someone has mental health or addiction struggles, it can be very strenuous on your relationship with them, but remember that they are sick, and they can't just choose not to be sick. No one would chose to have such struggles and they are hurting to. Use compassion, always. BEING SICK IS NEVER A CRIME.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Good Times on deck

I have been talking a lot about home improvement lately. I think it is one of many the byproducts of the pandemic and being trapped at home more than usual. When you constantly occupy the same space, it starts to get a lot more boring. Additionally, when work expectations shift to accommodate the pandemic, it can leave you feeling unproductive. Home improvement projects can help with both struggles.

There are so many options to consider for home renovation endeavors. If you read my previous post you would know that we have been strongly considering bathroom renovations. Specifically updating our shower and creating an enclosure.

Aside from that, we don't have much else planned for indoor work, besides changing a few rugs and a bit of re-decorating. But I have a lot of ideas for outside our home. I think I also mentioned my plans to start a vegetable garden. That is something I have wanted to do for years, I just never wanted to take the initiative out of fear of failing. But the real fun is in trying and spending time working toward something and bonding with my children.

The outside needs a lot more work than that, though. Specifically we have an old, rundown wooden swing set. It is falling apart and not big enough (or save enough) to serve my children any longer. First, we will be removing that. Next, I plan to convert the space.

The most likely idea right now is a pool. We don't have enough room for an underground pool. I am not the biggest fan of above ground, because I like them to be level to where we will be walking and sitting. But I have been looking into other options and realized we can build a deck around the above ground pool.

The space we have available is right off the back porch anyway, so it would be perfect to build a deck that is joined to the porch by a small set of steps, essentially giving our pool area the below ground feel that we desire.

Now, planting a garden might be something I can handle (we will have to see when the time comes), but building a deck absolutely is not. Thankfully, I don't have to learn how to do it myself, I just need to know where to go to have it done right. Decks & Docks makes it easy. They offer so many types of construction and renovation services (which you can browse here). 

What catches my interest is the composite decking, which is sure to hold up better than traditional wood only versions for the harsh weather conditions here in Florida. Going back to that wooden swing set that is destroyed by excessive rain and scalding sun. And of course, railings, to make the deck safe for our children and my clumsy self.

arbor-decking_high

If you are in the same pandemic rut as us, not only will changing up your living space make the time you spend there feel less repetitive, it will also give you a goal, a sense of accomplishment to strive for.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Keyfactor Cloud PKI

If you have a (or are planning to start) a digital business, PKI is a vital component in securing your website. If you are new to the term, a public key infrastructure (PKI) is a set of roles, policies, hardware, software, and procedures needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store, and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption.

The purpose of a PKI is to facilitate the secure electronic transfer of information for a range of network activities such as e-commerce, internet banking and confidential email. Even if you don't own or run an online business, digital encryption is can be very beneficial for all internet users, especially parents and/or teens. But when customers, money, etc are involved it goes from mindful to essential. It's something that has to be done.

If you're anything like me, that can be overwhelming. I am moderately proficient with technology and digital services, but I am not fully comfortable taking on such critical jobs on my own. Therefore, I always defer to professionals in matters like this.

Thankfully for me, Keyfactor cloud PKI services are built for enterprise and built and operated bu experts to adhere to industry best practices, ensuring a highly secure and scalable managed PKI combined with end-to-end certificate lifecycle automation.

 


Specially-trained and vetted Keyfactor PKI experts handle the day-to-day support and operations of your PKI, freeing up your team to focus on higher priority initiatives. There are so many features.

  • Continuous service monitoring and 24/7, 365 support
  • CA and CRL renewals handled by PKI experts
  • Patch management, vulnerability testing, backup and recovery
  • Unmatched SLA driven uptime and incident response time
  • Highly available issuing CAs with built-in Cloud FIPS 140 level 3 HSM protection
  • Real-time CRL infrastructure and monitoring services
  • Robust data backup and recovery services
  • Unlimited certificate issuance and no per-certificate fees

These are just a few of the services and features you will get from Keyfactor PKI service. One of the features I am most thankful for is the cost. It is more affordable than many other PKI solutions. This is because there is no expensive hardware to buy, no CA software to install, and no PKI maintenance fees. All the costs are included in the simple subscription.

But, of course, the best feature is the peace of mind that comes from knowing it is done, and done right, and the extra time and productivity that you can be afforded without having to stress over handling it all on your own. Those things are invaluable.

If you or someone close to you is planning to start a digital business, I would highly recommend doing the research on PKI services, starting with Keyfactor. You can put a price on the peace of mind that comes from knowing your information is safe and secure, but that doesn't mean you can't find the best value possible when you have the chance. 

If you are starting an internet business, I have just one last thing to say to you: You can do it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Home Improvement Season

It is nearly the time of your where spring cleaning will start to ramp up. Out with the old and in with the new. I hate cleaning, as most do, but I always find myself wanting to re-organize my home and clear out things we no longer need. This year, though, since we have now lived here for 10 years, I am wanting to go further.

I am now considering larger scale projects like starting a vegetable garden and doing some home renovations. I would really love to do something extreme, like add a second story or knock out walls to expand the bedrooms or living room. While I think that is a bit too much for me to take on, there are still other fun, less drastic ways to make our home nicer.

One thing I have decided on so far is renovating the bathrooms. The toilet in our master bath has been malfunctioning for a awhile. The water continuing to run even when it should auto shut off. Although that is not a major issue, the model of low flow toilet we have is not as  simple to replace the floater and such as it is with more traditional models.

We could simply replace that toilet and leave it at that, but where is the fun in doing that? I have been looking at new vanities and sinks, shelves, lighting, and more. But what really excites me is the prospect of shower replacement

The shower that is currently in the master bath is wheelchair accessible, which is really cool, but it's not something we need. Having no lip around the edge increases the risk of water spilling out onto the rest of the floor, since they drain is only a few centimeters indented.

Max Home can renovate existing showers or build new ones or new enclosures. That is what I need, and enclosure. But they also have wonderful acrylic shower liners that can be overlayed the existing ones allowing a fresh, clean, modern style without tearing up the walls. Not only is that faster and less disruptive, it is also more affordable. 


Knowing that trained installers can do all the work for me makes the decision much easier. I am not the most DIY savvy person, so I always prefer to defer to the experts. Max Home even offers a five year installation warranty. Plus they offer no money down and 12 months no interest. That is pretty incredible.

In addition to a wide selection of shower improvement, replacement, or new construction options, Max Home also offers walk-in tubs. I don't necessarily need a walk in tub, but I still love the concept and would love to get one some day. For now, it is something that my mother in law needs, so I am going to get some quotes for her.

Max Home has multiple locations, so they can serve customers across several states. They offer free quotes, so if you are looking for any bath or shower renovations, you'd be wise to check out Max Home.


Monday, April 5, 2021

Why Screen Spline is Important and How to Choose the Right Size

You probably don’t often think about your window screens, especially when they perform exactly how they should. When a window screen is high-quality and does what it should, we get to throw open our windows and enjoy the fresh air and respite a clean breeze can give our home. But do you know all the components that go into ensuring your window screens work exactly how they should?

Screen spline is an essential piece of what makes screens perform their best. The screen spline is what holds the screen of your window firmly in place within the frame. Without it, a window screen can easily begin to sag, pull away from the corners, or worse, simply be blown away leaving your windows wide open and unprotected.

Screen splines come in a wide range of types and sizes to ensure a very precise and accurate fit of your window screens within a frame, and each type of spline has a specific purpose. That purpose varies according to different window components. So, both understanding why it is important, and how to choose the right size is also essential in keeping your home free of bugs, debris, and anything else that
your window screens are keeping out.

Finding the right screen spline when you discover your old spline may need replacing can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you’ve never had to replace a spline or choose one before. Now that you know why screen spline is important, let's take an in-depth look at how you choose the right size and what types of screen spline is available.

The Different Types of Screen Spline

 

There are many diverse types of screen spline available to you for your window screens. One of the most common materials you will see screen spline made of are vinyl and foam. Vinyl is one of the most common types of screen spline. Vinyl, or polyvinyl chloride, is one of the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymers, making this a long-lasting material to use in screen spline. A good choice, as the spline will be exposed to all sorts of weather and temperatures.
 
Solid core vinyl screen spline is a durable and flexible material. It works well to hold a screen tightly in place if it is the right size. 
 
Splining comes in rolls that look like electrical wire, except it is solid all the way through. 
Foam splining also comes on rolls, but the core is like a foam rubber with very small air bubbles, making it compressible. Both solid vinyl and foam spline are available in sizes measured in decimals of an inch, for example, #140 would be .140 of an inch.

The most common screen splines you will encounter are:
  •  Flat screen spline
  •  Foam core screen spline
  •  Serrated spline
 
When it comes to choosing what type of screen spline to use, as a homeowner you get a bit of leeway, as to whether it is flat, foam, or serrated—each type does its job and does it well. Each type will hold a window screen perfectly taut.
 
When it comes to foam screen spline, a beginner to screen splining is afforded a little bit more leeway than in comparison to flat, solid vinyl. With vinyl, your spline size must be exact. Too small and your screens will not be held in place. Too big, and the spline won’t fit into the screen frame. With foam screen spline it can be compressed, meaning it can fit in many spaces where accuracy is a bit off.

How to Choose the Right Size Screen Spline

 

To ensure that you get the perfect size of screen spline, no matter what type you choose—foam, solid vinyl, or serrated, you need to know what size to pick beforehand. Luckily, there is an easy way for you to make sure you get the right fit. 
 
If you have the old spline from your screens, it is as easy as measuring the old screen spline.
 
  1. Using a tape measure, hold up the end of your old screen spline to measure the diameter or how thick or wide the spline is.

    Write down the number. If your screen spline is missing entirely or too brittle and rotted to be held, you can still find the diameter if you still have the screen frame.                                                
  2.  Using your tape measure, measure the gap, also known as the screen spline groove. The groove is a small opening that runs along with the entire frame that the spline is pushed into. Once you measure this, you have the diameter. Write it down.

Now that you’ve chosen what type you like and found the diameter you need, you are ready to go ahead and order your screen spline. Screen splines come in so many various lengths of rolls that it will be easy to order exactly how much of what you need for this important component to your window screens.