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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ten Things You Should Never Buy On Black Friday



Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday do represent days when you can get really good deals. But there are a handful of items that top mine and nearly everyone else’s Christmas list that will not be good deals that day or for the rest of this month. To get the best deal, the trick is to wait. Hold off on buying these 10 things until December or January to get the lowest prices of the year.

What pray tell are these items? Like we said they are items that frequently top our Christmas lists. Let’s go through them and examine why it’s better to wait to buy these items till the holiday season is nearly over. 




Toys

You’ll see advertisements in every major retailer shouting they’ve got this year’s hot, new toy for the kids on sale and you should buy from them. Well they got it half right. They probably do have that toy on sale that your child or grandchild asked Santa for. But they’re telling a white lie when it comes to price.

Toys are never a good item to purchase way in advance of Christmas and that includes buying it on Black Friday. Between this Friday and Christmas retailers will mark down toys each week they don’t sell out. To get the best deal on any toy your child wants wait until the week of Christmas to buy it.

Televisions

Every man wants a thinner, lighter, more high-tech television for Christmas that’s why they are such popular gifts each year. It’s also why retailers put so much of their stock on sale on Black Friday.

I want you to take a second look at the ad’s you’ve seen for new TV’s. Are they for brands you know and trust? Probably not. The TV’s that go on sale on Black Friday tend to be ones by third tier manufacturers.  

If you wait a few weeks, till the end of December the name brand TV’s will go on sale and they’ll be at rock bottom prices. Holding off till late December can snag you a brand name TV for 20-25 percent off list price.

As with most things high tech, if you’re buying the latest and the greatest versions on the market, you’re not going to be getting a huge discount. To get the best deal on a new TV look at last year’s models. If you are waiting for a little monetary help from Santa Claus to buy a new TV, don’t worry great post-holiday sales stretch into the first weeks of January. So you don’t need to rush out the day after Christmas to buy.

Jewelry

This is the second worst time of year to be buying jewelry, the only time worse is the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Despite the ad’s proclaiming sales and deals at every jewelry store across America they are anything but right now.

Despite this fact, December is the most popular month to get engaged. If you absolutely must buy a diamond ring or any other kind of jewelry wait until the days just before Christmas, you might be able to get a little bit knocked off the list price.

If you can wait, you’ll get the best deal of the whole year in the summer months. AS you probably guessed there is no demand for jewel encrusted baubles during that time so jewelers hold big sales to try to entice customers to buy.

Cell Phones

Cell phones have become the go-to gift for kids over the last five years. Since Apple released their new iPhone two months ago I’m betting many teenagers will be unwrapping it on Christmas day.

If you plan to give this gift this holiday season hold off until later on in December to buy it. There may be a good deal here and there on Black Friday depending on where you live, but for the most part the longer you wait, the better the deal you’ll probably get. AS with a few other gifts on this list, the last few days before Christmas will net you the best deal on a new cell phone.

The second cheapest month to buy a new cell phone? June. Cell phones have become the go-to gift for graduates.

Holiday Collectibles

Those reindeer mugs and holiday themed dishware you see for sale at department stores are cute, but they are not cheap this time of year. Stores started putting holiday collectibles like china, stemware, dolls, ornaments, and such on their shelves earlier this month.

You won’t be getting any kind of deal on them on Black Friday or anytime in December. You’ll have to wait till after New Year’s for prices to come down off list price. That goes for Christmas decorations too, you have to wait till the season is over for the deals to show up.

The caveat to waiting is that there are no guarantees that the item you want will still be in stock. Holiday collectibles are sold in very limited quantities. So if you see something you just have to have, I recommend you buy it now, just know you are paying full price.

Exercise Equipment

Those of us who are looking to get a head start on our New Year’s resolution to lose weight this year, should resolve themselves to wait till January to do so. As with cell phones a few lucky people may find great deals, but the majority will be found after the New Year rolls in. That’s when retailers know most people buy exercise equipment so they hold major sales to entice customers to purchase fitness gear from them instead of their competitors.

Calendars and Planners

By this time of year you start to realize you need a new calendar. Appointments and kids activities need to be marked down for the next month or two but you need next year’s calendar in order to do so.

Even though we all need a new one, right now is the absolute worst time to buy one. These and other office items are at full price and will stay that way until after New Year’s. By holding off on buying a new one until January you’ll save yourself 20-40 percent off list price. Not a bad deal if you can wait.

Winter Apparel

You’ve probably been receiving tons of coupons over the last week from your favorite retailers. They want you to think you can get a great deal on a coat, boots, sweaters, and other winter apparel if you come to their store on Black Friday. The coupons probably seem like a great deal, most likely you’ve gotten ones advertising 10-20 percent off, along with any sales they’ve promised. But you’ll get an even better deal if you can wait to purchase any of these winter items till mid to late January. By then retailers will have moved most of their winter merchandise to the clearance rack.

Digital Cameras

One thing I know for sure is that every big box electronics retailer will be advertising deals on their digital cameras this Friday. The deals will seem good, but they’ll get even better if you can hold off until February.

You see the Consumer Electronics Show is held every year in January. This is where every manufacturer shows off their new models. After January 10th the show will be over and retailers will begin to mark down their 2013 models to make room for the next generation cameras. The longer you hold off, the better the deal you’ll get. You’ll start to see the deals roll out in January and get better and better through February.

Bedding and Blankets

Who doesn’t love getting a super soft throw blanket to curl up with while the temperatures are dropping? These and other bedding essentials are great gifts, but retailers are not running great prices on them right now.  Bedding and other linens fall to their lowest prices of the year after the holidays during the annual “White Sale” which occurs in mid-January and early February.

While having to wait another week to get going on your Christmas list and find good deals definitely isn’t fun, knowing that you will be getting a better deal than everyone else who is scrambling around on Black Friday sure is! Being a last minute shopper is never desirable, but it can yield you some amazing deals. So if you are dreading fighting the crowds and trying to find parking on Friday don’t feel you have to go out! It pays to wait if you are planning on purchasing any of these 10 items for people on your Christmas list.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Best Almond Croissant Recipe On Earth

Almond Croissant by Fran├žois Payard



Croissant dough:

Pastry flour: 1.7 cups
Baker flour: 1.7 cups
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Salt: 1 1/3 tbsp
Ameliorant: 1 tbsp
Yeast: 2.2 tbsp
Butter: 2 3/4 tbsp
Milk .85 cups
Water .85 cups
Butter for folding: 3 cups

Place the dry ingredients (pastry flour, baker’s flour, sugar, salt and ameliorant), yeast and room temperature butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and water on slow speed until the desired texture is reached. Knead 1 minute on second speed. Make one portion of dough of 1400 g and prepare a block of butter (700 g) for folding. Butter should be flattened into a square. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out. Place the butter (flattened into a square) in the middle of the dough. Fold the four edges of the dough in like an envelope. With a rolling pin give one turn to the dough or one fold. Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Give the dough a second turn. Place in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator. Let the dough proof 2 hours. Take the dough out from the refrigerator and give the dough a third turn. After the third turn, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness or place through the sheeter machine at 2.5. Cut into 30 triangles.

Once you cut the triangles make a little cut in the middle of the base of the triangle and roll every croissant. Place the croissants on baking trays. Allow croissants to proof 45 minutes to 1 hour. Egg wash the croissants twice to give them a beautiful, shiny color. Bake for 12 minutes at 195°C. Once the croissants are cooked allow them to cool. Normally we always use the croissants from the day before to make the almond croissants. They need to be a little drier. The next day we slice the croissants in half and dip both halves in warm syrup (see recipe below). Fill the croissants with a mixture of pastry cream and almond cream.
Close the croissants. On the top we add a mixture almond cream and pastry cream and a few slices of almonds. Place the croissants on the silpat and bake again for 40 minutes at 180°C.

When the croissants come out of the oven we let cool down. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a beautiful and rustic look like my grandpa used to do in the old days.

Syrup:

Water: 2.1 cups
Sugar: 2.4 cups
Rum: 4 3/4 tbsp

This recipe may make a little extra syrup. We always have a little extra because it is difficult to know how much we will need depending on how dry the croissants are. The syrup can be reused the next day.

Almond Cream (1 kg):

Sugar 1.06 cups
Almond Flour 1.06 cups
Eggs 1.06 cups
Flour (all purpose) 2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Rum 2 tsp
Butter 1.06 cups

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Add the almond flour until well combined. Add the eggs in three stages, making sure that the eggs are incorporated before starting the next stage. Add the remaining ingredients. Make sure that the mixture is very smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate.

Pastry Cream (375 g):

Milk: 1.06 cups
Yolks 3 tbsp
Sugar 3 1/3 tbsp
Pastry Cream Powder: 1.6 tbsp
Butter 1/2 tbsp

Heat the milk in a sauce pan. Combine the sugar and the pastry cream powder. Whisk in the yolks to the sugar until they are light in color. Whisking rapidly, add about a ½ cup of the boiled milk to the egg yolks in order to equalize the temperature of the two ingredients. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot constantly with a hand whisk to prevent lumping. Continue stirring vigorously for several minutes over medium high heat until the preparation thickens and boils. Turn off the heat and mix in the butter until it is smooth. Place the pastry cream in a container and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Cool the pastry cream quickly by immersing the container in an ice bath.

The real process of making croissants at Payard is to make all the dough in the morning and then in afternoon we add the square of butter and give the dough two turns before leaving for the day. The next day we turn the dough a third time and then roll the croissants. This insures that the croissants are freshly made and rolled every morning for an incredible quality.

Do's And Don'ts Of Art Collecting

DO some homework. Check out exhibitions, prices, and, most of all, what the artist creates that might interest you. The Internet has changed everything. Most of the time, it is easy to research an artist via a website.

DON'T make a gallery owner your art advisor. Galleries are great places to visit, but remember that gallery owners are in the business of selling. They will be high on their wares no matter what. Avoid the hard sell, the promise of how prices for the artist's work will surely soar, the "better get one now" pitch… that sort of stuff. No one can predict an artist's market.

DO some traveling. There is nothing wrong with living in Kansas and buying art at a local art gallery. But if you strive to put together a collection of beauty, interest, and value, you must go to New York City. Since WWII, Manhattan has been the hub of the art world, and every artist longs to exhibit there. Want to find new and exciting talent? All art roads lead to The Big Apple. Look about the multitude of galleries both old and new, big and small.

DON'T expect the average interior decorator to fill your home with fine art. They are adept at "furnishing" a residence with art objects for a hefty fee. But virtually none will ever be worth anything. Often, for nearly the same budget, the homeowner can become a collector of material of value. So maybe there isn't the sense of immediate gratification. Patience is a collecting virtue.

DO pay heed to the words of art critics and reviewers. Their observations are born of knowledge, objectivity, and an intimate connection with the art trade. If they say some up-and-comer is worth watching, watch that artist. And, if you like the work, consider buying it.

DON'T buy art at a gallery that runs "sales." Prices for viable artists—established artists whose work may or may not appreciate—invariably rise, but they NEVER go down. Never. Steer clear of mall galleries and ersatz art emporiums that are really framing stores in disguise. And those weekend hotel-lobby extravaganzas promising "original oil paintings." If you want to match a painting to the hues in the couch cushions, call your decorator.

DO maintain a sensible art-buying budget. You don't have to mortgage the house to collect quality art. Collecting does cost money, but it is not how much money you spend—it is what you spend your money on.

DON'T "invest" in copies, facsimiles, or reproductions. They are worth nothing—tangibly or emotionally. All collectors, whether or not they recognize it, desire satisfaction in a work of art. Something outwardly bogus will never deliver.

DO develop and follow your own collecting eye, taste, and spirit. Shy away from trends, who celebrities buy or endorse, and who just caused a sensation at the Venice Biennale. Art collecting is one of the most personally rewarding of endeavors if you stick to your own emotional and visual guns.

Don't consider becoming an art collector if any of the previous "do's and don'ts" make little sense. There are always baseball cards, Beanie Babies, and vintage wines to collect.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How To Get A Room At A Sold Out Hotel

Ask the hotel when cancellation penalties will be charged for the date on which you want to arrive. Then call the hotel on the morning of that day. Rooms will usually be available because people have just canceled  their reservations.

Four Shotcuts Doctors Take When Giving You A Checkup

1. Blood Pressure

This vital sign is usually checked in one arm while you're sitting down. But for more accuracy, blood pressure should be checked in both arms while you're lying down. Why both arms? Because a difference in blood pressure between one arm and the other may indicate a blockage in one of the large blood vessels. To be significant, the difference should be 15% or more. Also, if you're taking blood pressure medication, your doctor should check you a third time, immediately after you stand up. If the pressure drops by more than 10%, you may need to change your dosage.

2. Lymph Nodes

Doctors usually check the lymph nodes in the neck, but often neglect the nodes in the groin and underarms. But checking all the lymph nodes is important since swollen nymph nodes may signal infection and other symptoms.

3. Pulse Points

Your doctor may check your pulse in your neck or groin but may skip your feet. If pulse strength differs in these 3 areas, it could be a sign of peripheral arterial disease.

4. Lab Tests

Most docs check your cholesterol, liver and kidney functions and your blood sugar. But other levels  that should be checked are

Magnesium - Low levels of this mineral can cause fatigue, generalized pain and or muscle spasms. It can also increase risk of heart attack.

Zinc - A low zinc  level can lead to frequent infections.

Iron -  Elevated levels of iron can cause iron overload or hemochromatosis.

C- reactive protein, homocysteine and lipoprotein  Elevated levels of any of these 3 substances can pit you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Carpet Cleaning Services

                                         
 How much do you charge?
  

Usually, we don’t know without seeing what you have. There are different types of carpet, floors, drapes and upholstery soil, easy access jobs, hard to access jobs, and a whole host of other things that affect our professional fee. The fairest thing for you is to let us come out and see what you have, which is FREE. The information we gather determines the fee. Naturally, there is no obligation at all. And we don't adjust prices according to your zip code. Every potential client is treated fairly.

Why are you measuring wall to wall when half my carpet is covered with furniture?

Our fees are not based on the dimensions of the carpet or floor we’re going to clean. We take room measurements and use a proprietary formula to arrive upon a fair fee for our services.  The formula takes into account much more than just measurements, and we may even adjust the measurements down once we do some calculations.  Our average ticket for carpet cleaning is reasonable with no hidden fees for our all inclusive service. So there is no reason to fret.

How long does it take my carpet to dry?

Because of our all natural low moisture proprietary cleaning process, most of our carpet cleaning assignments dry in about an hour. So your carpet will be back in service almost immediately.

What do we need to do before you arrive ?

If you decided on our Freshen Up Open Areas Package 1, you need to do nothing since no furniture will be moved. If you decided on our Clean N’ Fresh Package 2, we will move your standard couch, love seat and chairs in the main living area. We will then clean the open areas of any other carpets. However, we do ask that you move smaller pieces of furniture like breakables, antiques, lamps, toys, delicate figurines,  or special medical and dental equipment and roll up small area rugs. We also ask that you do not block the access to toilets, laundry, kitchen or other sinks.

 Do you move appliances?

Since we are not licensed movers, our insurance carrier will not allow us to move or dis-connect washers, dryers, stoves, and refrigerators, freezers or other items that will not easily roll and do damage to floors.
Common sense also dictates that we cannot move pit groups, china cabinets, hutches, entertainment centers, large screen TV’s, pool tables, large antique pieces, wall to wall book shelves, pianos,  computer stations, office filing cabinets or other items that may be damaged by moving or that may cause us personal injury.
To prevent tripping over our power cords and equipment, we also request that children, pets and other family members be kept out of the area while we are working.

Do I need to leave heat or the air-conditioner on?

Yes. Please leave the air-conditioning on in the Summer and the heat on in the Winter.
For stone, no-wax and vinyl floors to properly cure, and for your carpets , drapes and upholstery to properly dry, the air conditioning must be turned on in the Summer and the heat must be on in the Winter. Please do not open windows before our arrival unless it is a clear, sunny Spring day or a warm dry Fall day. If there are circumstances that prevent you from turning on the air conditioning or heat, please let us know and we can schedule your work during the Spring or Fall.


Do we have to be home?

Not really, although it’s a good idea. Mainly because we don’t want to accidentally miss something that was really important to you.
If you have  to be
 somewhere , all we  need is a detailed description of any special concerns, and  your credit card billing information.

Why should I hire you?

First, every time we clean your carpets you get our exclusive 10 step cleaning process. Just click here to review them: 
                                   http://allstatecleaning.com/Carpet-Cleaning-Packages/

Second, no other carpet cleaning company in the area has ever educated consumers like we have on this website. Whether you use us, or someone else, or clean your own carpet, we have told you exactly what you need to know to avoid pitfalls. You get complete transparency from us because we care about you and our reputation in the community. To discover how to choose a carpet cleaner you can trust, click here:


To avoid the most common carpet cleaning scams click here:


 Do you guarantee your work?

Yes, we have the best guarantee in the business : "You Must Be Happy Or Its Free".  So you can hire us without having to worry about lousy service or getting ripped off.

  Our Famous One Full Year Guarantee

Third, every residential carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning or drapery cleaning assignment is guaranteed  ONE FULL YEAR in writing.  So you get 365 days of free ongoing support in the form of our Spot N' Spill warranty. If you spill something on your carpet, upholstery or draperies that you can’t clean up, we’ll stop by and take care of it for free.

For Your Peace Of Mind, You Can Be Assured That Our Equipment Is Always Sanitized

Fourth, we clean and wipe down all our equipment with a natural sanitizer after each job. In addition, all our cotton towels and rags are always washed and fully sanitized with a natural  disinfectant. That's so you don't need to worry about us bringing  previous client's  germs and dirt into your home.

Are you fully bonded and insured?

Yes, we have genuine and real full-coverage liability insurance that covers everything.  Other cleaners with general liability policies only think they are covered, but we assure you they are not. Few people know this, but most liability insurance polices won’t cover damage to property that a service person is actually working on.
For instance, if a cleaner accidently breaks a priceless antique while he or she is cleaning your carpet, that’s covered. However, if the cleaner ruins your family heirloom carpet while cleaning it, most insurance  policies won't cover it. Here at Allstate, our  premium insurance  policy  covers everything.

Is your company criminal and drug free?

Since most of our clients are female, you won't have to worry about having an unfamiliar person in the  your home. That's because we are fully bonded and insured husband and wife team that respects your personal space, home, privacy and family. We  also pledge to be polite, tidy and fast. And for your peace of mind, we warrant that we are criminal, drug and alcohol free family onwed company.

Will your cleaning process disturb my children or my pets ?

Outside of having to use a vacuum cleaner in your home,  we  have the quietest cleaning process on the market and we won't disturb your children or pets.

What method do you use?

We use a proprietary low mositure, all natural , non-toxic  carpet  cleaning system that dries in about one hour. Since we are so conifdent in the effectivness of our cleaning system, we guarantee our residential work for one full year. That means if your spots come back within one year, we'll stop by and take care of your spots for free. 

Are your cleaning solutions safe for my children and pets?

Absolutely. Our main cleaning agent is made from fruit.  And we are a certfied green, all natural organic carpet cleaning company by the Carpet & Rug Institute and Green Seal.


Will you remove all my stains?

Except for extreme pre-existing conditions, our carpet cleaning service includes the removal of every single stain we encounter. But some stains are permanent. And if there’s any chance they’ll come out, we’ll get them out. If we can't get them out, we'll attempt to dye them for you  at no extra charge. Most companies that provide this service charge $75 per spot. But we proivide it to you for FREE. If the dye sites of the fiber will not accept dye, then we won't charge you for the area in question. So using us to clean your carpets is really 100% risk free.

Can you get rid of severe cat or dog urine odor?

Most of the time we are very successful, and we'll try everything available to us from an organic and natural cleaning standpoint. However, if the contamination is severe, you may have to replace the carpet pad, and seal the subfloor. Every case is different, but we’re always willing to give it our best effort. Also, we will point out any special concerns during your free , no-obligation in-home carpet inspection

What can I use to spot clean?

 When you become our valued client, you will receive a bottle of our all natural  spotter absolutely FREE.  It's a $9.95 value, but you'll get a bottle at no cost every time you clean carpets, area rugs, upholstery or draperies  with us. If you have a spot or stain you can’t get out, we’ll come by and take care of it for you at no charge. That's because every cleint is covered by our Spot N' Spill program for one full year. If you're spots come back within one year after cleaning, then so do we!

Are you certified?

Absolutely. Our company is certified by the Institute Of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration, The Certification Registry Board and we are affiliates of the International Institute For The Conservation Of Historic & Artistic Works. We also have an IICRC Certified Master Restorer and Textile/Flooring Inspector on staff. That means we can also provide you with certified textile and flooring inspections, lab analysis and expert court testimony. Like a certified real estate appraiser, it means our opinions on textiles and flooring issues will hold up in court. We also keep abreast of global cutting edge technology and changes in our industry.

  To get a fast ,FREE and easy no- obligation expert textile or flooring consultaion anywhere in Mercer or Bucks counties, just call us right now at

609-586-5833

Or click on the link below and fill out our convenient contact form.We'll get back to you promply
  Click on this link now: