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Landscaping on a Budget

minnesota landscapeYou might have a vision on how you want your garden to look, but turning that vision into reality is not always straight forward. Quite often with landscaping projects the costs start to become too much, which leads to you having to compromise or even abandon the whole thing.

This is why learning to landscape on a budget is so worthwhile, as you are able to keep control of the costs and stay on track to realize your vision.

Plan as much as possible

It really can’t be emphasized enough just how much you need to plan in order to keep everything running smoothly.

A lot of people jump right into a landscaping project with no real idea of what they are going to do next and how much it is going to cost them. No wonder things don’t go as planned.

Buy things together

Let’s say that you want some fencing, decking and a garden shed. If you buy all these together from the same company then you might be able to get a special discount.

As an example, in Australia garden sheds au are very popular, and many of the companies who sell these products also offer things such as fencing and decking, as well as garages and garden furniture.

Hire a professional

While you might think that doing everything yourself will save you money, if you end up making a lot of mistakes then the opposite turns out to be true.

With this in mind, hiring a professional landscaper may very well be the best way forward, especially if they can take control and get the project finished on time and under budget.

Focus on one area at a time

Landscaping a large garden may seem overwhelming at first, especially when you have a lot to do. This is why focusing on one area at a time is highly recommended, and even dividing the project into phases so you only have to buy small quantities of supplies and equipment at once.

Buy at the right time

What you’ll find is that certain things are cheaper at different times of the year, so if you are not in a rush to get your landscaping project finished then you can save a lot of money.

To give you an example, materials such as lumber is generally cheaper during the winter, while things such as trees, shrubs, and soil are less expensive towards late summer or early autumn, so make sure you watch out for this to save yourself some money and keep that landscaping project on course and running smoothly.

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What to Expect When Visiting a Behavioral Health Specialist

liveThey always say that seeking help is the hardest part of recovery. This is definitely true in the field of behavioral health, mainly because a lot of people don’t even realize they have a problem with it.

The first step to recovery could be to see a GP who will then refer you to a behavioral health specialist, or you might want to seek one out directly by yourself.

No matter which route you take to get there, here is what to expect when you make your visit.

Making you feel comfortable

You’ll no doubt be a little bit nervous when first visiting with a behavioral health specialist. This is completely normal, as you don’t really know what to expect.

The specialist makes it a main priority to make you feel as comfortable as possible, so you are able to relax and open up more about yourself and your life.

Get some general information

One of the first tasks during a session is to get some general information. You may be asked to fill out a basic questionnaire and survey while in the waiting room. Then, once in the session the specialist will start to ask about the concerns you have about your behavioral health, as well as seeking information about specific incidents that may have occurred.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you should be as honest as possible when answering questions and giving information, so the specialist is able to help you better.

Detail a course of action

When information has been recorded, the specialist starts to detail a course of action that you can follow during the upcoming weeks and months to get better.

This includes visiting regular sessions with them, as well as going through exercises at home in order to improve your situation. Expect for everything to be noted in a behavioral health ehr for future reference.

Prescribe appropriate medication

As well as having a course of action to follow, a behavioral health specialist will also decide if you should be taking any medication to help with your treatment.

Ultimately, this really is their call, and if they don’t prescribe you anything then don’t get upset, it doesn’t always happen.

If you disagree with their decision then you are free to see a different specialist, but you might want to try a course of treatment without medication first as it is not always required.

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The Pros and Cons of Troubled Teen Programs

teenage girlPerhaps you’re considering a troubled teen program but are still unsure if it’s the right thing to do? It’s good to be concerned, as sending off your son or daughter is no easy decision, which is why you should gather all the facts before making up your mind.

The pros and cons of troubled teen programs…


Proven to work

A recent study showed that 85% of troubled teens that visited a program had a significant change in behavior after only 2 weeks. This really is an impressive number, and just goes to show what can be achieved when everybody really puts their mind to it.

Trained professionals

It is good to know that all the staff on troubled teen programs are trained and have many years of experience dealing with kids of all ages.

Best of all, they can tailor the program to match the problems a teen may be facing, so the chances of success are much higher. For example, if a teen is dealing with alcohol issues, then this can be dealt with specifically.

Making friends

Many people have a vision of these kind of teen programs being a lonely existence, where everybody is kept away from each other and no-one ever speaks. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth, as the kids are encouraged to get together and work on various projects and tasks.



Some troubled teen programs are quite expensive, and can be out of the reach for families that are struggling financially.

That’s not to say all of the programs are out of your reach though, as there is many different options all around the country, which means you could “shop around” to get a more affordable deal. At the end of the day, if your son or daughter really needs help then you’ll find a way to get them there.

Doesn’t work for everyone

While the success rate is high, let’s not forget that troubled teen programs don’t work for everyone. Unfortunately, some kids go straight back into their old behavior and ways as soon as they get home, and this can be quite unsettling for the parents, leaving them wondering what to do next.

A good option could be a long term military style boot camp, where the teens are introduced to a strict way of life in the hope it will change their behavior


Now that you have the pros and cons of troubled teen programs, the only thing left to do is form your own opinion and make a decision Judging by the 85% success rate, we would recommend that you send your son or daughter on a program, at least for a week or two to see what happens.

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5 Ways to Start Eating Paleo

breakfast paleoUnless you’ve been living in the remote wilderness for the last few years, then you will have no doubt heard of the Paleo Diet, which millions of Americans have started to follow in order to lose weight and feel better about themselves.

In a nutshell, eating Paleo is all about going for foods that our ancestors would have enjoyed eating, while keeping away from more recent inventions such as grains, dairy, and sugars.

It’s actually not the hard to start eating a Paleo diet. All you need is some prior preparation and you are good to go. Below are 5 ways to get you started.


Perhaps the most difficult part of the Paleo Diet is finding foods to snack on during the day. The usual suspects, such as cakes and cookies are most definitely out, so what should you be eating? Many people recommend turkey jerky as a suitable snack, mainly because it is high in protein and tastes really good

Meal preparation

If you live a busy lifestyle then meal preparation is going to help you get through the day while making sure everything is Paleo. This helps to stop you going for junk food at lunchtime, and leaves no room for error. Consider cooking all your meals the night before, and then putting them in containers ready to be eaten.


Many people associate the Paleo Diet with meat, and while that is a big part of it, you should also embrace vegetables as much as possible. Organic is definitely the best, although if your budget doesn’t go that far yet any kind of vegetable is suitable, even frozen vegetables. Have fun trying as many different kinds as possible, although don’t overcook them as they start to lose all of their goodness.

Clear the cupboards

When you are 100% committed to following the Paleo Diet, there is no reason to keep other foods around at all. If you keep potato chips and candy in the cupboards then what are you hoping to achieve by doing this? It’s only a matter of time before you start eating them again. Instead, clear the cupboards and make your kitchen completely Paleo.

Keep it simple

The good news is that eating Paleo is relatively simple, and there is no need to bother yourself with complicated recipes. To make rare steak, the only ingredients you require is salt, pepper, and olive oil, and the same goes for a lot of other meat and fish you will be cooking.

You can add some garlic or herbs to vegetables and things like that, but ultimately, it is all about getting used to the real taste of food, rather than eating junk that is heavily processed and covered in sauces.

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The 5 Best Places to Live in California

golden gateOver 40 million people currently live in California, which makes it one of the most popular places to live in the United States. If you’re thinking of joining them in the near future, then you may be wondering where is the best place to live in California?

Here are 5 places we highly recommend:

Costa Mesa, Orange County

One place that gets mentioned a lot is Orange County, mainly because it is low in crime, great for families with good schools and many parks, and has a lot of affluent neighborhoods with below average property prices.

As an example, pool remodeling Costa Mesa companies are everywhere, mainly because even families with average incomes can afford a pool in their backyard.

San Diego

Located in the south of California, San Diego has long been considered one of the best places to live in California. The reason? Well, for one it has stunning beaches with nice weather all year round, which means even you want a picnic on Christmas day you should have no problems.

There are also many attractions, such as Sea World and Lego Land, as well as being close to the Mexican border for people who like to travel and go exploring.


Without a doubt, the main reason to move to Berkeley in California is because of their well known and prestigious university…the University of California.

This means if you have kids and hope they will one day become a student there, it is a good place to be. There is also many outdoor activities to keep everybody happy, with things such as cycling, hiking and visiting parks being high on the list.

San Jose

If you want to find a high paying job in the tech sector, then San Jose in California is a great place to be right now. Even better, housing is very affordable in the suburbs, and there is many sports teams to follow such as the Sharks in NHL and the Giants in MLB.

When you also consider that San Jose receives nice warm weather around the year, it really does make for an awesome place to live.


One city that doesn’t get talked about much is Fresno, although it really should be more recognized because it has many hidden gems. The main reason people live here is because of the lower cost of living than other areas of California, so your money can go a lot further here which is always good to hear.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Yosemite National Park is short drive away, where you can spend countless hours among nature, far away from city life.

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The Sensible Guide to Office Christmas Parties

christmas dinnerWhile office Christmas parties might seem like a good idea (you get to socialize with work colleagues and make a good impression with the boss), in reality they very often end up becoming a disaster (you get extremely drunk and tell everyone exactly what you think of them).

The simple truth of the matter is that office Christmas parties are minefields fraught with danger, and there are many potential pitfalls that need to be avoided.

With this in mind, we present to you the sensible guide to office Christmas parties. Read every word below at least 3 times, and even print it out and put it near your computer at work.

Dress appropriately

Are you tempted to dress in an outrageous costume for the Christmas party? Not so fast, as you could easily end up becoming the center of attention for all the wrong reasons.

Sure, there is nothing wrong with funny clothing such as Ugly Christmas Sweaters but just be careful not to overdo it.

Don’t drink

A lot of people say they are only going to have a couple of drinks at the party…and then they end up having 10 beers followed by telling the boss how much they suck.

If you still want to have a job in January then it’s probably a good idea that you avoid drinking alcohol altogether. Stick to orange juice, or even better, water, and consider being the designated driver for a few of your office buddies.

Talk with your co-workers

Spend the first hour or two going round and talking to as many as your co-workers as possible. At this point most people will still be sober, which means you can have a quick conversation about work and anything else that comes to mind.

Also, don’t forget to speak with your boss and anyone else in management, making sure to give off a good impression.

Leave early

After a couple of hours most of your co-workers will be getting drunk and this is where the trouble usually begins. That’s why you should leave around this time. Get a family member to give you a call at an arranged time and then tell everyone that you have to go right away.

Ignore everything above

Remember, this is the “sensible” guide to office Christmas parties, and should be followed by people who don’t want any trouble and want to be well liked by everyone at the office.

The truth of the matter is that most people are usually ready to let off some steam at the end of the year, and this involves drinking hard and partying even harder.

Whichever approach you decide to take we wish you the best of luck.

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