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The Five Best Remodeling Projects for the Money

July 30, 2015 by helgajones   Comments (0)

home improvement, home remodeling, remodeling projects

So you’ve decided this is the year you invest in some home improvement projects. That’s an important step. But it’s nowhere near as difficult as deciding which remodeling projects to tackle. There are plenty to choose from and many considerations to make before you can make a decision.

The first question you have to ask yourself is why you want to remodel in the first place. Is your home looking outdated and in need of some sprucing up? Or are you hoping that a few home improvement projects will raise your home’s value just in time to put it on the market? Whether you plan on staying in your home or not will play a huge role in helping you decide which remodeling projects to take on. If you plan on staying in your home for the foreseeable future, then by all means, do any home improvement project that will make you happier in your home. But if you’re planning on selling, the wrong remodeling projects can be disastrous investments and can even cause your home to lose value.

Here are five of the best remodeling projects for the money. They’re ideal for those looking to boost their home’s value.

1. Window replacement. If you have an older home and the windows are quite drafty, replacing them with new, energy saving windows is a great remodeling project that is sure to recoup costs. According to the Cost vs. Value Report, this project will give you a 105% return on your investment. That’s right, you’ll actually turn a profit.

2. Front door replacement. At a 104% return on investment, replacing the front door is another safe bet. A steel front door is considered an especially safe investment sure to add a lot of value to your home.

3. Stone accent wall. Having an accent wall in your home is becoming quite a trend. Though you could simply choose one wall to paint a different color than the rest of the walls, you could go one step further and choose to make one wall a stone veneer accent wall. You’ll recoup 86% of the cost.

4. Attic bedroom. Adding a bedroom to your home is a surefire way to increase your home’s value. Converting an attic space into a spare bedroom will recoup 75% of the cost.

5. Minor kitchen remodel. Though totally overhauling your kitchen tends to be a poor investment, a minor kitchen remodel is usually a safe investment and will also yield a 75% return on your investment.

Other remodeling tips

The two most popular remodeling projects, a total kitchen remodel, and a bathroom remodel, are actually poor investments with a 68% and a 65% return on investment respectively. Unless your kitchen and/or bathrooms are quite outdated and in desperate need of a remodel in order to sell, you are better off putting the money towards other home improvement projects with better returns.

Other little projects that will add value to your home for very little cost is repainting the home’s exterior and doing some small scale remodeling such as weeding the front yard and planting some new bushes or flowers.

Interior Decorating and Remodeling News Brought to You by

The top digital tools all marketers need

November 8, 2014 by meganfoster   Comments (0)

conversion optimization

Digital marketing tools is a booming business these days, with literally thousands of programs all claiming to boost ROI and improve the quality of leads, but which ones actually work? Which ones have the best customer service? And which ones do marketers really need? These are the questions Louis Gudema, president of Revenue + Associates, set out to answer recently when he started researching marketing technology.

After comparing 351 B2B companies, he realized people really don’t diversify their marketing tools as much as they should. So he compiled a list of the most basic, crucial tools every marketer should use and called it his “Starter Kit.”

Analytics tracking

No marketing strategy is complete without a way to track which pages are getting the most traffic, which links are most successful, and which sources are producing the highest number of qualified leads. Gudema said, “Far and away the most popular website analytics tool is the free Google Analytics, which is used on over 80% of small and mid-market websites.” Yes, something free actually does work, though the larger you get the better it might be for you to get a paid version, such as Adobe Analytics.

Conversion rates

Following close on the heels of analytics as the most important tool to have in your arsenal is a software to help you optimize your conversion rates. There is a variety of ways for doing this, including testing A/B landing pages, developing interactive marketing apps, and providing engaging content for downloading. Digital marketing tools tend only to focus on one of these options, so you’ll need to strategize before choosing one. Gudema recommended Optimzely and Unbounce for testing A/B pages and Ion Interactive for creating marketing apps.

Marketing automation

This category covers a number of technologies, including analytics, email, sale alignment, and personalization of web content. A major way marketers use this technology is to tailor emails to specific audiences. Gudema stressed that when he talks about email marketing he’s talking about “getting people to give you permission to email them additional information, and then sending only valuable content tailored to the person’s interests.” Marketing automation programs like HubSpot, Adobe Campaign, and Silverpop all incorporate email marketing with various other facets, making them invaluable for a business serious about marketing itself effectively.

High quality content

Weaved throughout these crucial technologies is a common theme: the need for high quality content. Digital tools can’t come up with that for you, they can only track how effective or useful it is. Whether you’re blogging, posting to social media, emailing, or hosting webinars, your focus has to be on providing valuable content. A lack in this area couldn’t be rectified by the fanciest digital marketing tools money can buy.

Marketing News brought to you by


long road

September 25, 2014 by mrblu5   Comments (0)

New, convert, judaism, help, friends

I feel a lot of work ahead and I'm being sent to a higher purpose in life..and need some help finding my way... friends welcome
thanks also gets lonely ...I don't have a religious group, but I'm religious thinking of Judaism as an interest for change.

long road

September 25, 2014 by mrblu5   Comments (0)

New, convert, judaism, help, friends

I feel a lot of work ahead and I'm being sent to a higher purpose in life..and need some help finding my way... friends welcome
thanks also gets lonely ...I don't have a religious group, but I'm religious thinking of Judaism as an interest for change.

Tallis on a Chuppah

September 22, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

When Grandpa died before the three young men married, the son who was the father of the three boys, decided to take action. He decided, since he was talented with his hands and building things, he would build each son a chuppah but dangle his father's tallis from a corner. Why he was asked? It had been his father's dream to see his grandsons married and the grandfather wasn't able to be there. Five years later, a tallis dangled for the third and last time from the family built chuppah. It was a powerful statement for this family. Each son had intermarried and yet each daughter-in-law accepted and supported the tallis dangling from the chuppah. It meant so much to each participant. It spoke volumes, as it fluttered in the breeze. Grandpa would have approved. The proud father nodded as the tallis billowed.

The chuppah tallis sitting on my shelf

September 20, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

chuppah tallis

Here's to marrying my children off Jewish. 30 Israeli vendors were brought into our part of the country to sell their wares right after Operation Protective Edge. I selected a tallis that I want to use at my children's Jewish weddings for their chuppah. I didn't ask, nor did I tell them that I was buying this tallis. I just went and did it. I need to believe that they will choose the right person for themselves when the time comes for them to marry. I need to believe that I will be able to marry them under the chuppah in keeping with our Jewish faith. I can pray.

The 4-6 minute wedding ceremony

September 20, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

shortened wedding ceremony

How does one divide up a wedding service so that it is shared equally between two officiants? It can't be done. I noticed that each of us were to be given 12 parts to the ceremony but I backed out of one of them. I had been asked to ask the congregation if it was OK to marry the couple, I explained to the bride and groom that Rabbis don't ask. It is a matter between them and G-d, not the congregation. The couple were taken a back. I think that they have watched too many movies and not attended enough Jewish weddings.
So my part in the service is now a full 4 minutes, possibly a bit longer, if I sing a few lines to a blessing.
One wonders why does an officiant have to go on and on at the ceremony when we know that a Jewish ceremony needs to last tops 15 minutes? What is accomplished by saying more when people want to hear less?
It will be interesting for me to experience a drawn out wedding ceremony and read the audience at its conclusion.
It's a shame that we don't have a dress rehearsal with wedding ceremonies in life. There is only one shot. Here is hoping that we are putting our best foot forward.

Working for G-d, Yah, Aylah, Eloha,

September 20, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

working for G-d, working with G-d

"And Here's God" was my introduction and I shirked. I explained, "I work for G-d, I am not G-d. I speak for G-d when I am asked and directed to. Sometimes I speak because the spirit moves me. But I am NOT G-d. " I was officiating at a wedding and I was asked to step in to speak for G-d, insinuating that G-d was there at the podium.
One wonders how often is that character projected unto the officiant at the wedding and assumed that G-d is stepping into conducting the wedding or other life event.
I am inspired by G-d, or however one describes G-d but I certainly can't view myself as G-d or G-d official designated spokesperson for all times and all occassions.
I am quite comfortable to invite G-d into our midst and welcome the opportunity to have G-d join in with us during the celebration. I hope for G-d's approval and wish the family well, with a life overflowing with blessings.
I can only speak for me and the inspired me at best. I pray to G-d like the best and worst of us. Please remember that I am human and work for G-d with gusto.

Like Minds Marrying in 2014

September 19, 2014 by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein   Comments (0)

interfaith marriages work, right choices, clarifying choices, choosing the right religion

I have just begun performing interfaith marriages. I have been surprised, in a good way, by the people who have sought me out and I will tell you why. I am all for continuing on in our faith and preserving our culture. I think that for those of our people who are not going to observe being Jewish in an Orthodox way, intermarriage offers a positive choice for many people. I would never have said this a few years ago but I have noticed several of the people who I have met are genuinely enthusiastic about supporting our faith and living a Jewish life style. For whatever reasons, the non-Jewish partner has not converted according to the Orthodox way or not converted. Yet, many claim to know more about being Jewish than many Jews do and know. I have seen this time and time again. I have married several who are all for forgoing on their past religions and observing what they can of the Jewish faith. It might be buying challah on Friday afternoon to observing Rosh Hashanah besides Passover or Chanukah. It might be not observing but not observing Christian holiday observances. There are many people out there who have embraced living Jewish in their own ways. One man told me that he has lived with Jews now over 35 years and feels more oonnected to Judaism than he does to his religion. One woman began to convert but was turned off by the Rabbi who was teaching her. She stopped learning but she didn't stop practicing. She is waiting for the right Rabbi to come along. One young man told me that he would do whatever his wife wants Jewishly.
There are those who tell one another that they will figure it out when their children begin to come of age. I worry about the children. I don't think that it is fair to expect children to choose at such a young age what religion will fit them the best. What happens is a Jewish-Catholic version of living that has taken over where all holidays get observed and no one knows why. It resembles a Messianic Jewish lifestyle and that is not what these couples are saying that they want. They know what they don't want. They just don't know what they want exactly.
I am hoping to teach these couples as I meet more of them that there is a Jewish way to figure this out. Our tradition teaches us how to live, if we just give it a chance. In this week's Torah portion we learn that Moses taught us. Joshua taught us. It is up to us.
What we may want in life fits us know, but what about in ten or twenty years from now? It seems to me that we need more people to step up like the ones that I have met and define what living Jewish means to each of them and how we can make these interfaith marriages work. I know that they can work. I have seen it. It is trying to help this younger generation see what they need to clarify and need a vision of what their religious life will look like in the future, when life changes.
I am here to assist those couples who may be struggling with making their future choices. I have now met those who have made it work. I can share from those like minded people's experiences.