Monday, April 29, 2013

The Moment

In life we give up on our dreams for any number of reasons. Perhaps money issues, not being able to find a job in the field you desire, or the responsibilities of raising a family led to you letting go of your ultimate dream.

On the new show The Moment which airs on the USA network select people are given a second chance to live their dreams.

The Huffington Post highlighted the story of Derek James who always dreamed of being a chef at the White House. In his episode of The Moment, Derek got to work beside the White House executive chefs and apply for a job. He got the job!

Click here to watch full episodes of The Moment, and to remember that it's never too late.

These outcomes of old dreams realized aren't just for television. How can you take  your moment and make set aside dreams a reality now?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Post--Why the Homebuyer Should Utilize Leverage in 2013

People around the nation spend countless hours, days and years working toward the goal of buying a home. It’s part of the American Dream. While people understand that it’s a big deal, the astronomical amount of money required to acquire property in 2013 is still under noticed by most.

This article is an appeal to potential homebuyers that it’s time to utilize leverage. If you are someone looking for a home, you shouldn’t take your own money for granted when you jump into the real estate market. Don’t let a listing fool you, as you are the one forking over the cash. The traditional real estate listing is an advertisement, and to really make a calculated decision, you have to look beyond it.

 With so much money and your personal life at stake, it’s imperative to pick the right home and make sure the features of the property are the level of quality you’re paying for.

Why Leverage?

In most real estate transactions, there are negotiations that naturally cause fluctuation in the asking price. If you are a homeowner, make sure when these negotiations start that you have the leverage. You are in control and you are the one spending money on the ballpark scale of $100,000. It’s so important to not let a real estate agent or a home owner bully you into a higher asking price. There’s always another house you can find that will suit your needs and demands.

Just remember that you are the consumer. You are the one that gets to pick and choose whether a particular property is your dream home. It’s not up to anyone else, and there’s no hurry.

A real estate listing can be deceiving on a number of levels. If you’re a searching for a house, just as you should try and use leverage in price negotiations, it’s important to do so in the property evaluation as well. For instance, you have the right to be curious when it comes to major components of a house. There shouldn’t be anything that isn’t accessible to your eyes when you’re deciding whether or not to buy a home. Some areas to focus on:

1.     Quality and condition of roof: A common housing feature that’s not promoted or discussed in a listing is the roof. The roof is very important to your life and the value of a house. Not only does it provide you shelter from weather, it also protects the entire structure of the home. A faulty roof can lead to irreversible water damage and major renovations.

Not only do you have the right to inspect the roof of a prospective house carefully, but you should make it a priority. With legitimate money on the table, it’s worth it with regards to personal comfort and future financial obligations.


2.     State of floor materials: Regardless of the type of floor material in the house you’re looking at, it’s vital to accurately gauge the upkeep of them. All or parts of the house could be carpet, marble, hardwood or tile. When you’re in the evaluation process, take a hard look at the floors. Does it look like the hardwood has been refinished recently? Is the marble floor in the kitchen stained? Is the carpet in the master bedroom damaged to the point of a possible replacement?

The floors are where you will be walking and living in your new house. Make sure you are more than comfortable with both the style and condition of the floor material throughout the property. This is another example of something that won’t be listed in the advertisement but is very important when comfort and money are concerned. An extensive flooring project in your house will tack on thousands of dollars to your already hefty investment.

3.     Sewer line condition: The sewer line is a feature of any property that often goes unnoticed. They are underappreciated and undervalued. It is common, however, for people to get the sewer line of a prospective house checked out before purchase. You need to make sure to do this. In addition, take note of any large trees or major landscaping that is anywhere near the sewer route. These can lead to major obstructions in the future and can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

In addition to a standard check on the sewer line, look for other factors that may come up in the future. Replacements are expensive, and the road near your house often has to be ripped up when a big problem needs to be fixed.

Buying a house is a big deal even if you find the perfect house and the dream situation. It’s important to focus on both the listing and the features that exist behind the scenes. While scanning a property and applying it to your personal needs and desires, remember that you are the consumer and you have the leverage. It can go a long way in negotiations.


Tim Richmond writes about the mortgage industry, real estate, green building, personal finance and home ownership. He currently writes for the Native American mortgage specialists 1st Tribal Lending.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Post--Music To Get You Motivated


Image courtesy of


Music is a universal experience. We clap our hands and sing songs in grade school to make music and are slowly introduced to more and more bands as we grow older. It affects how we feel, choices we make and people we meet. Beyond that it can enhance the way we experience any number of things. Music is a very powerful thing.  


How Music Affects The Brain


Music literally engages our body’s sympathetic nervous system --the same system responsible for getting us ready for a challenge in our environment. It has the ability to make us feel as though we are the most powerful person on the face of the earth, or the loneliest person in the universe.


Electrical activity in the brain helps us to develop perceptual, cognitive and motor processes --which is why it is suggested that even babies in the womb listen to music. The frontal and parietal lobes enhance neural activity on the top of the brain, literally acting as a changeable variable if whatever activity we are participating in.


5 Ways Music Can Help You


     Relax and fall asleep at night. Many people have trouble falling asleep at night because they have trouble quieting their thoughts. Music is a great way to distract your brain and drift off into a deep slumber.


     Focus on the task at hand --like studying or concentrating at work. Let’s face it, sometimes outside distractions can leave us looking up at and around the office, chatting with those around us and getting zero actual work done for the day. Music helps you center yourself and motivates you to finish your projects in a more timely manner.  


     Get you excited to complete a workout routine. The patterns in music can affect how much energy a person has. Athletes in certain competitions around the world have been banned from listening to music while they compete because it is said to give them a serious advantage. Listening to music while you exercise will give you the boost you need to complete the entire routine.


Photo courtesy of


     Cure boredom. Music is a world in and of itself. There are an endless number of solo artists and bands today and new ones emerge every day. If you go searching for new music you could get lost downloading offline or bouncing from one idea of what to listen to in Spotify for hours.


     Share an experience with a loved one. Music can not only give us a sense of having something in common with a friend, significant other or family member --but our hearts actually slow down and speed up according to how fast the tune of the music is. This literally means your heart is beating in time with the person you’re sharing a music experience with.


     Experience culture. There is more published (and unpublished) music in the world than we even have time to listen to. Cultures from all over the world have their own styles and distinct sounds. More than that, music can help you meet new friends with similar taste or create a deeper connection by understanding the kind of music they listen to.


Adding music to every aspect of your life a great way to get motivated for all the things you need to accomplish. You brain and music paired together have the ability to give you the energy you need when you’re feeling slugging or keep you level-headed when you are feeling down. 




Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area who currently works with Arena, a music streaming company. Though her background is in marketing, she writes on everything from health & wellness, music, gaming, and technology.