There are some rooms in the home that are more important than others. The kitchen stands out as just such an essential space, where a lot of time is spent and where the room itself is put to fairly rigorous use on a daily basis. With such constant use, everything from cleaning to cooking anything that can be done to improve the experience should be done.

It stands to reason a kitchen should be a nice space in which to work. The kitchen is one of those rooms that makes a big difference to how you feel about your home, if only because it is used so much. A nice kitchen, especially one that you can sit and relax in while eating breakfast or talking to your partner while he or she cooks dinner makes all the difference, not just in your home, but in your mood and even your energy levels.

Having kitchen furniture fully fitted, so that all the cabinets fit in like jigsaw pieces and are flush with the walls, is standard practice. It is the usual route taken when decorating a kitchen, though not the only possibility. Major benefits include the fact that the kitchen has more space opened up, more storage space, and of course has a tighter overall appearance.

Asides from the tightly packed fitted kitchen, there are also free standing kitchens. These use individual items of furniture and have the plus that they can be moved around. The downside to freestanding kitchens is that they waste a lot of space. In the olden days, all kitchens followed the freestanding furniture model, but as time progressed fitted kitchens became the standard. Certainly it can detract greatly from the value of your home if the kitchen isn’t fitted due to the way it’s seen by home buyers and agents as being a modern essential.

Being easy to assemble, factory produced kitchen furniture has become very common and can be installed very quickly by trained professionals. It is made from very ordinary materials, which reflects in the reasonable pricing. Usually MDF, dowels and furniture glue are the main components. These come together to form the necessary layout around which the fitted kitchen is based. Mass produced kitchen furniture is not only cheap, but due to being packed flat is easy to ship to location.

More pricey than regular fitted kitchen furniture are bespoke kitchens where a designer will tailor every aspect of the kitchen to the customer’s preference. The only down side to this service is the price.

No fitted kitchen is complete these days without a kitchen cart as a supplement to the more rigid design of the fitted units. Such a cart adds a great moveable feature to what is of course a very static thing.

Not every kitchen is able to accommodate one, but a kitchen island is a tremendously good way to enhance the kitchen, add extra worktop space, and add an ad-hoc dining area to boot. Many of these come with a bar area for people to sit at one side and cabinets on the other. Not to mention the benefits that extra worktop space create.

Kitchens are of course an important part of modern life. We have not yet transitioned beyond them in the imaginative ways envisioned in technology of the future shows circa the nineteen fifties, but instead of becoming obsolete, kitchens have become a more important part of our lives.

Built in 1929 to house the personal collections of Dwight and Maie Heard, the Heard Museum has been a landmark in Phoenix for over 75 years. Encompassing 130,000 square feet of classrooms, galleries and performance spaces, the Heard is a place where visitors from across the globe come to learn about the region’s Native cultures and art.

A little history: According to the museum’s website, in 1895, Dwight Bancroft Heard and his young bride, Maie Bartlett, moved from Chicago to call Phoenix home, hoping that the dryer climate would help Dwight with various health issues. The warm air definitely had a beneficial effect on this young go-getter, because he soon became one of the largest landowners in the Salt River Valley, and the Bartlett-Heard Land and Cattle Company raised cotton, alfalfa, citrus trees and prize cattle. Later, Dwight became president of the Arizona Cotton Growers’ Association and is widely credited with helping to make the Arizona cotton growers industry competitive internationally. He was also involved in publishing, investment lending and real estate development, and Maie actively founded or supported civic endeavors such as the YWCA, Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts and the Woman’s Club of Phoenix.

Maie Heard and other Bartlett family members donated land for the city’s first civic center, which was located at the corner of McDowell Road and Central Avenue. This site is also where the original Phoenix Library and Phoenix Art Museum were located, and is where the Phoenix Art Museum stands today. Nearby, Dwight and Maie built a beautiful 6,000-square-foot house called “Casa Blanca” in what was then considered north Phoenix. Designed around an open courtyard, the home featured Spanish-style architecture and lush landscaping, and in fact, the couple is responsible for the planting of hundreds of palm trees along four miles of roads in Los Olivos, the neighborhood surrounding their home. When you see palm trees around Phoenix, say a silent thanks to Dwight and Maie, because local historians often credit them with introducing the stately trees to Phoenix.

Casa Blanca became quite the social hub of the city, with the Heards hosting a variety of family and friends including Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Marshall Field, Harvey S. Firestone and others. Over the years, they enjoyed collecting American Indian Art and began to acquire pieces that they exhibited in their home. As a result of their travels and contacts with trading posts and Indian arts dealers, their collection rapidly grew, and as time went on, it became evident that a space larger than their home should be dedicated to their acquisitions. Thus, the idea for building a museum was born.

Unfortunately, Dwight died of a heart attack several months before The Heard Museum opened in June 1929. Visitors frequently rang a doorbell of Casa Blanca so that Maie could show them the museum, but she didn’t seem to mind as she loved teaching visitors about the Native cultures that were dear to her heart.

After Maie’s death in 1951, the Board of Trustees worked to ensure the museum’s continuation by hiring several staff members and establishing a volunteer Museum Guild. Events featuring Native artists and food were created that still continue to this day, and major expansions occurred at regular intervals, with the most recent adding three new exhibit galleries, bringing to ten the number of galleries at the Heard. “HOME: Native People in the Southwest” is the museum’s 21,000-square-foot signature experience, housing almost 2,000 objects from the permanent collection.

When decorating or refurnishing your home, furniture is an often expensive purchase and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are several things to consider when buying furniture, besides the usual colors and types of fabric that would work best in your home. You’ll want to decide on a budget, take plenty of measurements of the rooms you are furnishing or replacing furniture in, and do some comparison shopping before deciding on where to spend your money.

Decide on a Budget

It’s always a good idea to have a set budget in mind before actually going to the furniture store or browsing the many sites online. This way you’ll be sure to get everything you need without spending too much on one or two particular items. Also take into consideration how often you’ll be replacing the new furniture, and whether or not the price you are paying now is actually worth the expense.

Plan Before You Shop

Break out the measuring tape and measure not once, but twice to get accurate numbers so you’ll know exactly what will fit where. Be flexible in your design plans so you’re prepared in the event you spot the absolute perfect piece of furniture, but find that it won’t fit in the place you planned on putting it. If possible, having two plans in mind of where you’ll put things definitely opens up more options.

For example, when furnishing a baby’s room, remember that the crib or bassinet will soon be replaced with a bed, so having large pieces of furniture now might work, but will need replaced again before too long. When buying furniture for smaller rooms, or those with little closet or storage space, plan on looking for pieces that do double duty, such as benches that open for storing items, or tables with plenty of drawers. There are also ottomans that serve as extra, hidden storage.

Consider Your Own Personal Style

In addition to the countless colors, fabrics, and patterns available for the home, furniture also comes in a wide array of finishes and types of wood. Some pieces are made from solid wood, while others merely have veneers or wood finishes on the surface designed to resemble wood, which does keep the cost down as opposed to solid pieces, although they aren’t as sturdy and might not last as long as their “real” counterparts.

Besides the type of wood, there are plenty of actual styles and designs of furniture to choose from. Here are just some of the popular styles that are available today:

– Casual

– Contemporary

– Country

– Eclectic

– Formal

– French Modern or Classic

– Modern

– Renaissance

– Retro

– Traditional

– Victorian

Do Your Research

When comparison shopping from home, many furniture stores have web sites that showcase all of their collections and pieces, as well as information about the company, the location of their independent dealers, and their various policies. Some stores may offer free delivery, while others charge for the service but may include set-up or removal of old furniture at no additional charge. The internet is excellent for comparing sales and deals of the numerous manufacturers and dealers, and also offers the perfect way to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when buying furniture for the home.

Whenever, we see an advertisement in daily newspaper referring to Apartments available in 13 Lakhs to 14 Lakhs, we do not try to understand more about it. People rush to the Apartment office or the site office. I myself was very surprised, when I went to the Mero City Apartment office in Hattiban. The site was packed with visitors cars, as if a wedding reception was going on. Inside the office were around 20 Sales girls. All were busy explaining their apartment features to the customers. In fact, when I asked for the brochure, the number of brochure also had finished. The hall was packed with customers and I could see some bookings were done.

The model apartments and the computer aided 3D movie were in display. People were busy viewing it.

The price range of the Apartment was amazing. The price range of the Mero City Apartment varied from Nrs 1,500,000 for 1 BHK (386.45 sq.ft) to Nrs 4,000,000 for 3 BHK (1013 sq.ft)

Similarly Eastern Apartment by Aayusha Developers a subsidiary of Oriental Builders Pvt. Ltd in Kaushaltar also was a huge attraction for Apartment buyers.

The builders have opened the booking for only 348 of the total 448 apartments. However, they were able to sell 50% of the total booking in just first 5 days. The huge response from the customers surged the developer to call all the 448 units on booking.

Due to the huge demand, the developer requested the interested buyers to fill up an application form along with a cheque of NRs 10,000. The applicant would get the apartment on first come first serve basis.

These are the basic strategies for Developers which was already been implemented by Guna Colony for their sale of their Bhaisepati Apartment. Then, they had opened booking for the Bhaisepati Apartment price starting from 13 Lacks. There was huge respondent to the Apartments in Bhaisepati which was organized in the Real Estate Expo in Bhrikuti Mandap, Kathmandu.

Most of these apartment sizes is ranging from 386.45 sq.ft to 548 sq.ft. The apartment size of 300-500 Sq. ft is very small for a family to live in and are similar to Studio Apartments abroad. These kinds of Apartments can adjust 1/2 people in a family to live in. The Rooms are very tight and no space for adding more luxury items.

The customers must not just make their decision by viewing the 3D Modeled video. The actual room and the customers view before buying the apartment might actually just not match.

Another important factor to decide before making the booking is that the customer must check the background of the Apartment Developers. Normally, we must only trust experienced Apartment Developers. These low cost apartments that are coming up in the market have been raising huge amount of funds from the market for the Proposed Apartment/Housing. The delivery and execution of these apartments is a real challenge and we must wait and see, if they can really develop these projects and their handover to their customer. So far, the construction of any of these low cost apartments has not started yet.

Some established developers claim that the price the low cost apartments are offering is suspicious. Some claim that these low cost apartments are very expensive if one calculates the rate per sq ft. Such small apartment size is not feasible for a family to live in.

The Eastern Apartment is the least expensive with price per sq. ft of Nrs 2,890 followed by The Sun City. The most expensive is the Imperial Court. However the target market for both the apartments is completely different as Imperial Court is a Luxury Condominium.

And when we compare the different apartments, all has different facilities. Some important comparison factors of the facilities for different Apartments are as following:

1. Location of the Apartment
2. Number of Lifts
3. Size of the Balcony
4. Project Land Site Area
5. Size of the swimming pool
6. Open Area
7. Distance from the city
8. Quality of finishing goods and specification
9. Developers profile & Construction company associated

The Apartment buyers must also think in mind the extra facilities the Apartment has. Normally, these apartments will have very poor infrastructures and facilities. They might actually come up with a very small swimming pool & very less open space.

And not to forget is the fact that these low cost apartments come with hidden cost. Mero city Apartment comes with cement flooring. If you want a Parke ting or tiles on the floor, you will have to add all the internal decorative items for the Apartment.

Mero City offers the following features:

* Kitchen: Tiles, Sync

* Flooring: Cemented

* Wall: Distemper

Things you have to add by yourself

1. Mostly, the modular kitchen
2. Bathroom sanitary items
3. Electricity bulbs
4. Flooring Tiles or Parke ting

This will at least cost you Nrs 400,000 to 500,000 for the completion of the Apartment. So the Total cost for the 391 sq.ft Apartment is now Nrs 2,000,000 which actually brings the price per sq.ft for the Apartment to Nrs 5115.

Similar is the case of the Eastern Apartments. The Eastern Apartment comes with no finishing in the bathrooms. The buyers will have to finish the bathroom costs & Tiles which will also cost them minimum extra NRs 400,000 to 500,000 for their flats. This will cost the buyers of Eastern Apartment an average cost per sq ft of Nrs 3,608.

This is actually expensive than some of the other Apartments with better facilities. So the customers must be aware of the concept of the low cost apartment that is coming in the market and not be fooled by the price they are offering. One should always calculate the Rate per sq. ft.

Fast food statistics let us know that fast food can be an unhealthy option. A quickie burger is a popular choice among people who don’t want to cook, or who are under time pressures and don’t have time to cook. But instead of buying takeout why not make your own fast meals at home?

What’s in a Fast Meal?

Here is a quick statistic on a fast food meal. A cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake have around 1,000 calories. About 17% percent of those calories are from protein, which is not too bad. But around 39% of those calories are from saturated fat and that’s not good. And around 44% are from refined carbohydrates, which is constipating and fattening.

Too much saturated fat in the diet causes high levels of cholesterol in the blood and risk of heart disease. Children may quickly burn up calories from fat in a typical fast food meal, but for most adults those calories quickly turn to body fat and cellulite.

Nutrition of Fast Food

A regular portion of fries has about 210 calories and 10 grams of fat. A 4-ounce hamburger, without the cheese has around 420 calories and 20 grams of fat, plus a whopping 690 grams of sodium! Yikes that is a lot of sodium for a small hamburger. A medium soft drink boasts about 210 calories and 50 of those calories are from sugar.

Eating fast food is a convenient way to grab a bite, but fast food in undeniably unhealthy in many ways. Fast food does not have any fiber whatsoever, which leads to constipation that can later develop into colon cancer. The saturated fat content of fast food is not healthy for the heart. It’s never a good idea to eat fast food more than a couple of times a month, and for some people, never.

Making Your Own Fast Meal

If you enjoy eating hamburgers once in awhile, the alternative is to make your own. Mix ½ pound ground meat with ½ pound ground turkey. Add seasonings of your choice. Form into patties and broil in the oven. Take two whole potatoes and wash and scrub thoroughly. Cut potatoes into French fry wedges. Toss some olive oil, sea salt and paprika on the potatoes and bake for 45 minutes at 400-degrees.

Time Saving Tips

The rush, rush mentality of society has made many people flock to the nearest fast food joint for meals. But there are healthy eating alternatives. Here are a few tips:

If you live close to your work, simply go home for lunch. If you don’t have the luxury of working close to home, bring lunch to work with you.

If you have to eat out, choose a salad bar, soup, or light sandwich. Bring your own salad dressing with you instead of using those fattening creamy dressings.

Have a well-stocked pantry at home full of healthful foods such as beans, brown rice, pasta and other whole grains. When you cook, make more than you will need and freeze the rest in individual servings for work or when you don’t feel like cooking.

Be prepared. Make lists of what you are going to eat throughout the week. On the night before going to work do most of the prep work, so when you come home from work all you have to do is cook the food.

Cook in your crock-pot. The crock-pot does the cooking for you.