Nothing To Post

Where Are Americans Moving? What You Need To know

Mar
26

A Prepared State of Moving

Moving long distances, like state to state or (gasp!) coast to coast can be quite the headache. However, if you stay calm and organized, what for some is often a colossal disaster for you can be a perfectly orchestrated adventure.

Your first task is finding the right moving company, particularly in the case of long-distance moves. Is the company big enough to get the job done? Small enough to understand your needs and pay attention to your individual details? These are the big questions you must ponder in order to get this done the right way.

Why, you ask, would anyone want to make such a move? Well, according to several travel bureaus here are some of the leading reasons people choose to move long distances:   

New Job: Most survey’s suggest work is the number one reason people move out of state. In many cases where a new job is involved moves often remain in-state, but often they are initiated in the hopes of landing a job that has yet to materialize. 

Education: Another popular motivation for people moving across state lines is higher education. College students off to school make up the largest demographic in this category, but it also includes students transferring from one university to another as well as families hoping to move their kids into a better school district.

Retirement: Ahh, the promised land of post work life! Warm weather for many is more than just a pleasure, as it can be vital to personal health, and many seek warmer climates for that reason alone. Many relocate to the northern climes as well, but that’s not a very sexy story. A lower cost of living and greater access to healthcare work also appears to make some states more attractive to retirees.

Amenity Access: All areas have something different to offer and moving closer to those you like can be a huge advantage. Access to healthcare (particularly research hospitals) is perhaps the biggest reason people move to another state. Better schools, more public park space and lower tax rates can all contribute to the decision to relocate to another state (although not likely at the same time!).

Needed Change of Pace: Not everyone has a solid financial or personal reason for relocating to another state. Often moving has less to do with needs and more to do with wants. When life gets a bit stale a change of pace or scenery can make all the difference. 

So just where are Americans moving to these days? Here is as short list of places recently deemed desirable in the 21st Century:

Rochester, Minnesota

Population: 110,275

Rochester’s rise to the top of many Best Places listings has been steady but not surprising. Praise for Rochester’s schools, civil engagement, available health-care and, most notably, its diverse range of affordable housing has given this northern midwest city quite an advantage. Home to the renowned Mayo Clinic, Rochester is experiencing an economic boom that is bringing in thousands of new residents and new businesses and giving those who live there an expanding assortment of entertainment options.

Bellevue, Washington

Population: 134,630

moving to minnesota

Lakes and mountains surround Bellevue, a Seattle suburb of more than 120,000, while a tapestry of lush parks provide residents with abundant outdoor recreation options. Bike paths and sidewalks make getting to and from the city’s many festivals, museums, restaurants and music venues easy. A population that is 40 percent minority provides a diverse range of lifestyles and ideas and Bellevue schools have been recognized to be among the top in the nation.

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison Capitol Building, Madison, USA

Population: 243,122

Not only does Madison have one of the top rated health-care systems in the country, it also has a high performing school system and strong economy. The University of Wisconsin (and a handful of other schools) gives Madison a large student population, but being the state capital also means this city offers some serious culture

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

Population: 90,401

A collection of beaches, mountain views and resorts help make Santa Barbara a popular tourist destination. Great schools, a highly ranked health-care system and strong economy make living in this California city feel like a dream come true. An abundance of farm-to-table restaurants, unique shopping experiences, plenty of outdoor recreation and fantastic weather keep Santa Barbara a top choice for relocation.

Boulder, Colorado

colorado

Population: 103,919

Known as one of the best cities in middle America, Boulder spoils its residents with pristine natural surroundings, a strong farm-to-table restaurant scene and dynamic arts and cultural attractions. Each season features plenty to do in Boulder. Many of the city’s highly active residents plan their days around hikes, rock climbing, mountain biking and fishing. Public Schools, too, are very highly regarded in this mile high city. 

Palo Alto, California

Population: 66,478

Those fortunate enough to live in Palo Alto enjoy a city that surpasses most quality of life standards. A long list of amenities starts with a 31-mile dark fiber ring around the city that provides ultra high-speed Internet. There are many things to do in Palo Alto, like playing in one if its many parks or dining in one of many unique restaurants. Palo Alto’s residents are politically active, socially minded and strongly support the city’s highly rated schools.

Bismarck, North Dakota

Population: 66,980

Located on the east bank of the Missouri River, Bismarck offers residents a large park system with walking and biking trails, a growing economy and attractions like the Dakota Zoo and the Kirkwood Mall in the downtown area. Newcomers find much to like in Bismarck’s affordable housing market and access to excellent hhealthcaresuch as Sanford Health, Bismarck’s largest employer.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor

Population: 116,194

Local schools are a high point when it comes to the quality of life factors that make Ann Arbor among the top cities in the nation. The University of Michigan, with nearly 50,000 students, makes Ann Arbor a perennial candidate for top college town in the nation and plays a big role in the city’s economy and culture. More than 150 parks, the Huron River, a large assortment of restaurants and shops give those who live in Ann Arbor numerous options when it comes to available entertainment.

Iowa City, Iowa

Population: 71,832

Highly ranked schools and a strong health-care system have helped Iowa City become a highly desirable place to live. But to get the full story take a look at the University of Iowa, which helps set the cultural tone. The city’s large assortment of arts and entertainment options draw in new residents and affordable home prices keep them there.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

 South Dakota

Population: 164,341

A range of neighborhoods, great schools and entertainment offerings routinely draw newcomers to a city that ranks high in health care and amenities. The city is defined by its spectacular Falls Park, the local economy is led by hospitals, banks and telecom companies and Empire Mall, a 1.3 million-square-foot shopping center, draws millions annually from across the Midwest.

As you can see, desirable locations abound all across the United States and the only obstacle keeping you from them is your desire to relocate. But be sure you plan well; choose your moving company carefully and be ready to reap the full benefit of a wise choice.

Maintaining the Charm of an Old Home

Oct
30

If you own an older home like I do then you know that constant maintenance and improvement is a must. Love it or hate it, this is merely the price we pay for the charm, quality materials and workmanship not seen in many of today’s contemporary construction practices and materials.

Nearly every facet of your home is in a constant state of flux – this year might present the need for new windows, next year a new roof. In fact, depending on the construction year of your home you know that constant upgrades and repairs are essential to keeping ahead of the curve.

Immediately after purchasing our 1928 home we replaced the roof. A few months later we began the arduous task of replacing nearly every window. This was costly and time consuming, but we agreed it needed to be done. Next we added insulation to the attic floor which, unfortunately, is not accessible for storage purposes (but this made the project that much easier).

Over the next few years we repaired a leak in the roof, solved a major leak stemming from our biggest window AC unit that caused extensive water damage both to the window frame, the ceiling underneath and even led to some issues with the exterior brickwork.

The ensuing years saw us forced to dig out the sewer drain which was located underneath a four inch thick concrete slab … no small feat. A twelve foot hole, nearly eight feet wide was dug directly outside the back door in the middle of January. The inconvenience lasted well into the late spring and we had a perfect mud pit between the driveway and the back door with no alternative route. In desperation we built a makeshift plywood “dock”. Far from perfect, but it did its job and sufficiently eliminated most of the mud.

One of the best rewards you can give yourself is to cultivate a strong relationship with a home maintenance company with whom you trust, both for their workmanship and integrity. Finding such is not always easy – there are far too many to choose from in most communities. But if you are careful and know what your needs are the process can be significantly simplified. Best of luck with your next project!

basement note: info

Is It Really Possible To Fully Waterproof Anything?

Aug
09

Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg

Can You Waterproof?

Is ‘waterproof’ an attainable state? In other words, is it actually possible to either create or modify an object to become completely impermeable to moisture … or perhaps would it be more accurate to suggest that there are levels of waterproof, ranging from ‘water resistant’ all the way to full imperviousness? Some would suggest it’s merely a selling point and or simply untrue, but many industries and products exist today that would have you believe otherwise.

Boats

Most boats today are fiberglass which in its normal state is a porous substance. But where fiberglass boats are concerned relative protection from water absorption is attained by applying a barrier coat of epoxy or epoxy-based paint. Depending on the smoothness required of the finished surface these paints can be sanded before an anti-fouling paint is applied to retard vegetation growth, but all along the point is to keep the porous surface of fiberglass from developing the clear sign of water penetration, blisters. More often than not this approach is successful. In stark contrast, old fashioned wooden boats never truly achieved a watertight state. In fact, caulking or tar was used between the wooden planks to slow, but never truly stop the incoming tide of leakage.  

Clothing

A wise person once declared there was no such thing as bad boating weather, merely poor clothing choices, and he couldn’t have been more right. The old days of oil skins and rubberized foul weather gear has evolved and been slowly taken over by high tech fabrics such as Gortex and polypropylene. Both are derivatives of nylon, and Gortex, the industry standard, is a cloth purported to not only be waterproof but also breathable. This is achieved by incorporating micro-sized holes in the fabric which allows perspiration to exit while also being too small for rain or splash to penetrate. Another advancement is the quick dry nature of synthetic athletic apparel, which also incorporates the ability to “wick” surface moisture to the outside for easy and quick evaporation.

Basements

Nearly all basements are susceptible to water seepage. Whether built in a flood plain or the product of a localized heavy rainfall, water will almost surely find a way to the lower level of your home. 

Waterproofing methods vary, but they usually include concrete coatings such as silicone and waterproofing paint. Occasionally even a plastic sheet/sump pump combination will do the trick. All these methods work for interior and exterior walls and floors. Additionally, with excavation, you can greatly improve the waterproof qualities of the exterior walls through a drainage system.

Outside prevention also includes preparing the ground with sand or gravel around the structure base which serves to direct water away from the structure. In addition, drainage piping is imperative in order for water to be passed through gutters and disposed into the ground through downspouts. But the location of downspouts is also a continual battle. In many older communities these drainage systems drop water directly into city sewerage systems, but in more modern areas this practice has been outlawed. Therefore, proper drainage that directs water away from the structure is even more important.

Interior waterproofing involves the use of waterproof paints such as Drylock or Water Tite. In all cases, proper preparation of the surface has a direct bearing on success.   

Other clear signs of basement leakage include cracked or buckling walls, peeling paint and efflorescence. 

Cracked walls come in various shapes and sizes such as horizontal, vertical, diagonal or even stair-stepped. Widening cracks strongly suggest the presence of severe pressure or structural damage.

Buckling walls are usually caused by hydrostatic pressure and when walls appear to be bowed inward you’ve got a serious problem that likely requires professional attention.

Water seepage through walls also causes bubbling and/or peeling paint along basement walls, and is a sure sign of unwanted moisture.

Efflorescence is a white, powdery residue that appears to grow on basement walls (usually near the floor) that often leads to various types of molds that usually grow in damp, dark areas and are known to cause respiratory problems.

Unfortunately, basement leakage issues are an ongoing problem that appears to be impossible to completely eradicate. 

Electronic devices

Today here are many electronic devices available that boast their imperviousness to water. Waterproof watches were once designed almost exclusively for divers but now they are so common as to nearly be a standard feature. However, don’t necessarily believe that “Waterproof to 100 Feet” marker. Although this feature has become nearly standard also suggests it is often simply not true. However, moderately priced watches with this feature (for real) can be found in Timex, Casio, Armitron and Aposon brands, all which make reasonably priced watches that do actually keep out the water.   

The advent of smart phones, once led by Apple’s iPhone, ushered in a new era of needed waterproof electronics, particularly personal cellphones. But protection, although available, often proves illusive. Protective cases from makers such as Pelican and Otter provide multiple levels of protection ranging from water resistant to full waterproof. As with all specialty products, form, style and function provide options ranging from soft bags to form fitted boxes designed specifically for particular models. With this in mind, the ability of the product to keep the water out relies on you to purchase the correct product. However, I still would not recommend total submersion as a test.

In short, the pursuit of waterproof items, ranging from clothing to boats, basements and electronics is largely a matter of degrees and compromises. However, so long as your expectations are realistic and you’ve done your homework, a remedy can readily be found to meet your needs.  

How To Draw Caricatures Seminar

Feb
18

Below are six YouTube Videos about how to improve your caricature artist style and ability. Each instructor has their own style and method of teaching the art of caricature drawing.

There are a lot of artists who draw independently to make a living. Others like to work with larger caricature companies. Maybe you prefer to draw for fun. Whatever your reason, the videos below will help you develop you skills.

About Cashmere Video Seminar

Jul
28

If you are interested in cashmere you have come to the right place. Here, at nothingtopost.com, we’ve decided to share a few thoughts and videos about cashmere. This is like an online cashmere seminar.

Cashmere is wool from the Cashmere goat. Actually, it’s hair from the goat and it is highly desirable. Cashmere clothing such as Ponchos have become rather popular. Toppers, scarfs and wraps are always handy on cool days. Dress jackets are a favorite among men.

The videos below give you various perspectives on cashmere goats, processing the material, products and how to care for cashmere. By the time you are done watching these videos you should have a good undertstanding of cashmere.

About Cashmere

Fashion

A historical fashion perspective

Care for Cashmere

How to fix a hole in your cashmere

Funny

Nothing but…A little Change

Jun
18

Best Practices and Process Improvement

Why are business professionals publically in favor of terms such as Best Practices and Process Improvement, but silently dread them in private?

One would think identifying the top methods in their industry would have great appeal. Improving procedures would be near the top of all professional’s on-going education.  Yet, far too many of these individuals revel in putting major stumbling blocks for transformation between them and the success they ultimately seek.

We often encounter these business professionals fighting this change every inch of the way, with arms folded and heels dug in. Fears include increasing costs, demonstrating competency and sustaining quality.  The ego of leadership can also be a major stumbling block. Past failures with innovation can make a company shy about new efforts. Yet, none of these are valid excuses.

Many organizations lack the brutal honesty to deal with changes in policies, processes and procedures. Only when laws are passed and mandates are made will these companies react to these better practices. Trusted, tried and true methods often have with them a perceived safety net effect. If it worked in the past, many rationalize that it still has to be relevant.

A young equipment leasing sales rep once reported that he was calling on a capital equipment dealer and his contact was the company’s general manager, a man many years his senior. His company appeared perfect for leasing and finance programs. When he would ask the general manager questions about financing options for their customer, the prospect would reply, “Steve wouldn’t like it.”  Each question would inadvertently boil down to the same response, “Steve wouldn’t like it.”  About forty minutes into the sales call, the young account manager asked the sales manager, “I keep hearing you say that Steve wouldn’t like it. May I talk to him and find out what he really thinks?” The general manager responded, “Steve died in 1977.”  The tried and true methods from preserving “The Legacy of Steve” had won out over offering their customers payment plans and finance options.   The account manager reported the company was sold eighteen months later.

Leading and innovative organizations know differently. They are part of the disruption culture. They fully understand that if they don’t look to the horizon and watch what’s coming, they will be found out of style, obsolete or part of the past just like a Montgomery Ward’s catalogue. Having an empowered team of professionals who do the right thing every time, see their part in the picture and can adapt to new tools, techniques and thoughts on how their industry works is critical to maintaining long term success.

In today’s evolving business marketplace, companies need to respond with every best possible method to leverage efficiencies, protect margins, improve process and remain responsive to competitive pressures. The idea behind studying and implementing Best Practices and Process Improvement is crucial. Organizations who perceive change as a strategy to avoid are as outdated as continuing to manage one’s operations by the Gospel according to Steve, circa 1977.

Nothing but…A Little History

Jun
04

Major events and steaks just seem to go together and there’s seemingly no more of a classic American meal than steak and potatoes. This means that steakhouses have become American, and particularly Midwestern, staples. It of course was not and has not always been this way. So, how did these oh-so delicious establishments come to be popular?  How are they being reinterpreted for the modern palette? Let’s explore.

In the 1800s, the popularity of red meat was on the rise, and those seeking the best cuts were located in New York City, the home of the first steakhouse. Because of the demand in the city for quality products, restaurants opened in order to cater to that need. Thus, the steakhouse was born.

They started, though, as food establishments that served meat along with beer and other pub and bar style drinks. They also played on many of the European food concepts. Take the porterhouse steak, for example. The name of the porterhouse steak was derived from a cut of meat often served in pubs with porter ale. As time went on, and these establishments became known for having alcohol and meat, steakhouses became masculinized, and with that, became exclusive. Prohibition made the growth of steakhouses a bit difficult, but people continued to want delicious meals and premium steaks. And nothing makes people want a product more than exclusivity. As exclusivity continued to rise and steaks and masculinity became synonymous with one another, prohibition was ending and popularity rose astronomically.

People flocked to steakhouses in New York City, and word spread until the meals served there became American staples. This trumped the foods many had previously considered elements of an all-American meal, namely hot dogs and hamburgers. And while a hot dot at a baseball game and apple pie for dessert are ingrained in our hearts as edible representations of America, this is a hearty meat and potatoes country. Steakhouses continued to spread to other parts of the country, and arguably made their most welcome stay in the Midwest.

But it wasn’t just about the food. Yes, steaks have clearly been the defining factor of the steakhouse concept, but people could easily buy and make steaks at home. There was a very specific ambiance that these restaurants created. Going out to dinner became a special occasion, and with that so did steaks. Steakhouses became an excellent place for couples to enjoy a meal together, and they also were a welcome environment for families who wanted to treat themselves to a lovely dinner out.  But this was not always how families celebrated; it was a progression over time. So, if you love your local steakhouse and you equally love dining out, you can thank 1960s America.

Since then, several steakhouses can be found in each city, and choosing the right one can seem daunting. Premium cuts of meat, interesting takes on classic dishes as well as expertly cooked favorites are all signs of a wonderful steakhouse. Some might have a more formal ambiance while others are casual, and of course, that makes for exciting restaurant options. And options, paired with quality cooking, are beautiful things.

Once you’ve found a favorite steakhouse (or two—they’re wonderful establishments) you’ve also found the perfect hosting spot for a large dinner event or even a banquet. What better way to showcase appreciation, happiness, love, celebration or excitement than with a delicious, filling meal? What better way to talk something out or ease a bad time than with a cooked to perfection medium rare steak?

Though steak options are primary on the menu because, let’s face it, they are steakhouses, there are a variety of options to choose from at your favorite local steakhouse. From chicken dishes to varieties of potatoes to salads and soups and excellent starters, the options for a delicious meal and an entertaining banquet are plentiful.

Really, once you’ve found a steakhouse and location you love, any occasion is the perfect occasion to get together and have a meal or host an event. Celebrate anything from a birthday to a holiday to a family get together to girls or guys nights with a delectable and always memorable meal at your favorite steakhouse.

So grab your date, your friends, or your family and get ready for a classic, delicious, and hearty meal. And, of course, don’t forget to thank the wonderful people of New York for creating a genre of restaurants that plays off of European tradition, but is American to its core.

Nothing but…A Little Sound

Apr
18

A popular saying among musicians is that they’re only as good as the person running the sound for them. Obviously, there is plenty of talent on display when a professional band takes the stage, but having an audio engineer with an expert knowledge of mixing a band in a live setting can make or break a single performance. Another complication can arise if the lighting of the stage is poor. The band needs to be visible to the audience first and foremost, but there also needs to be a presentation of the artistry on display through the lighting design. If the lights compliment the tone and energy of a particular song, the audience will be that much more engaged. Knowing these facts are half the battle when it comes to having live music at a corporate party.
With spring finally here, corporate  parties happen a lot between now and the holiday season, and in the coming months outdoor venues are generally the preferred locale. You know that you want a true professional, someone who has mixed bands of every size at an outdoor concert. The first thing any sound person will think of is the lack of acoustics in that type of environment. You also want the band for a specific amount of time; probably going past sundown if that’s the kind of party you’re going for. Another red flag pops up: how will everyone see the band? Great lighting equipment and operators are just as critical as having an audio engineer who knows what he/she is doing.

Some bands, have a dedicated lighting equipment manager and audio engineer at every event. But that old saying, “It’s not what you say but how you say it”, applies to having musicians perform at a large corporate event. A general rule is that if the band knows they’re taken care of, and their only concern is engaging with the audience, the night will be a blast, not only for the guests but for them as well. Musicians tend to be much less stressed when they know that they can rely on a professional to mix them out front and in their monitors properly, rather than worry all night if they’re even coming through the speakers.
So when you’re planning your next party, hire the band that fits the occasion, but remember that professional sound and lighting makes all the difference in the world between a good company party and a great company party.

5 Essentials for Outdoor Festivals and Events

Mar
20

Spring is around the corner and that means festivals and events outside are sure to follow. The outdoors are great, but in many cases some structure or outdoor facility is still required to meet the needs of performers or attendees. Here are a few ideas to fill in the blanks for your upcoming festival.

1. Portable Lavatory
Often maligned as dirty and unsavory, this is nevertheless an essential part of any event where access to indoor plumbing is limited. Many lavatories are now equipped with pumpable water and hand sanitizer to alleviate any sanitary worries.

2. Pavilions
For fairs or family picnics, sometimes all that is needed is a little shade or cover from a spring rain. It’s important to have basic protection from the elements, especially during the summer heat and sun. Also, this is the critical element to any beer tent, besides the beer of course.

3. Air Conditioned Cool Down Booths
These are becoming common with VIP admission to certain events. It’s simply a room inflated with cooled air to help guests beat the heat. These are really nice for festivals that last a few days in the peak of summer. Maintaining body temperature is very important in July heat to avoid sunstroke or dehydration.

4. Expandable Trailers
Expandable trailers are custom built to suit the needs of any outdoor event. They provide power and a stage for performers, or can function as an installation for art or educational pieces for expos. The interiors are even suitable as classrooms or command centers for extended usage. Trailers can create enclosed shelter or have completely collapsible walls and graphic art for banners or logos. They are versatile and powerful solutions for a number of functions.

5. Water Fill Station
Environmentally conscious festival goers are moving away from overpriced disposable water bottles in favor of these multi-spout filling stations. It’s more common now to see attendees refilling water bottles or Kamelbacks, and it’s much easier to enjoy nature knowing you aren’t harming it as much by your presence and consumption. These will keep you hydrated and minimize your footprint on the environment.

The myriad opportunities to experience outdoor events this summer are meant to be enjoyed without worry for necessary facilities or concerns for well-being. It’s important to be aware of your safety, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from having a great time in the sun.

 

Nothing but…A Visit

Feb
17

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. We all know that. But what can we do everyday that helps us keep the dentist away?

For starters, always brush your teeth. It seems that when we were kids, it was very easy to brush your teeth twice a day because your parents made you. Then things start to slip in college, and by the time you have kids you have forgotten about your own hygiene. Flossing is also just as important, but often people don’t take the time to fumble with the conventional string. Instead of the typical floss, try the flossing picks that are now in stores. The flossing picks allow you to floss in the back of your mouth without trying to awkwardly cram you fingers near your tonsils.

Mouthwash is often important as well. However, there are a lot of brands to choose from. Check with your dentist on which mouthwash would be best for you.

One thing to be careful of is whitening strips. Yes, we all want whiter teeth, but it’s important to make sure your not doing yourself more harm then good. You might be stripping your teeth of important nutrients in the process of changing their color.

The next time you visit the dentist make sure to ask what you can do everyday to make sure you’re keeping your teeth as healthy as they can be.