Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Interior Decorator?...

Do you enjoy wandering into home design stores, poring over new upholstery fabrics and finials? Are you on the mailing list for half a dozen home-improvement retailers? Does the very thought of a furniture salvage sale cause you to shiver with delight? Maybe it’s time you thought about a career in interior decorating. But before you go shopping for a degree in design, you should know that design is only one aspect of a very broad skill set you’ll need to succeed in the interior decorating field. Here are five more critical skills designers need that you might not realize. People skills. Let’s be real: If interior design were merely a question of picking the right upholstery fabric for certain lighting conditions, just about anyone with half an ounce of aesthetic sense could get into the field. But being a designer means working with all kinds of people, from high-flown socialites to structural engineers to minimum-wage laborers – and the buck stops with you. So you’d better be comfortable dealing with people because you simply won’t succeed otherwise. Business savvy. Whether you’re an independent designer or a member of a team of professionals, you need a lot of solid business acumen. Design is very often a matter of finding quality materials and services within a strict budget. You need to know where to look to find everything from a particular kind of light bulb to upholstery fabric that was only manufactured in the 1940s. You also need to know how to move money around quickly and accurately because if vendors and contractors aren’t paid on time, guess who’ll be on the receiving end of their ire. Multitasking and stress management. Interior design is a field that requires you to have several balls in the...

How Does Seal Coating Prolong the Life of your Pavement?...

A preventative maintenance program is more effective than one time renovation or overhauling. In many instances a constant and comprehensive maintenance program can be less expensive than one time extensive repairs and renovation. Pavements and other surfaces are subject to constant use and downtime can result in inconvenience and monetary loss. Specialty surfaces like airport strips and highways need scrupulous maintenance so that they remain largely functional and can endure heavy traffic and wear and tear. Seal coating can extend the life of a pavement by up to 100%. Seal coating is a method that can reduce the effects of weathering, water intrusion and other adverse conditions. Airstrips and highways are constantly subject to leakage of jet fuel or gasoline – that contribute to the deterioration of the surface. The constant exposure to the UV rays of the sun, oxidation and exposure to the elements are the key elements to deterioration. Water intrusion from precipitation can cause damage to the sub-layers under the surface of the pavement and lead to its ultimate demise. When cracks develop, the pavement becomes vulnerable to water intrusion. Sealcoat asphalt is often applied to the surface and can double the life of the pavement by protecting the surface from multiple hazards of weathering and other destructive elements. The application of seal coating also makes the surface easier to clean and leaves it looking attractive and with a dark finish. The addition of silica sand to the coal tar makes the surface more skid resistant. Cracks can form as a result of thermal changes that cause the pavement to contract and expand. The deeper and wider cracks compromise the structural integrity of the paving material. The distressed surface allows water to infiltrate and damage the base below the pavement. This...

Wide-Format Printers: Helping You Give The Perfect Gift...

Within many families, grandparents are notoriously the most difficult relatives to shop for. Having already lived through that portion of their lives when they were struggling to raise a family, often there is nothing they need, and whatever they want, they go out and buy. Even if you do think of something they might need, it may be beyond your pay scale. Fortunately, wide-format printers can make it possible for you to give the perfect gift to your grandparents. Wide-format printers can print banners, posters, stand-up displays and other articles that are too large to be printed with standard-size printers. Wide printers can also make prints of digital photographs in sizes that go beyond the standard 8 x 10. This capacity for photo reproduction can be your lifesaver. If you already have a recent picture of your child or children with their grandparents, use it for your project. If you do not, find a reason to get one. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion. Invite the grandparents over for dinner one night, and make up an excuse like you haven’t taken any pictures of the kids recently and you want to make sure you have plenty of them at this age. Once you have a digital photo that features everyone in a positive way, your wide-format printer can go to work. Whether you’d like your gift to the grandparents to be a large frame-able poster, a window decal, or t-shirts is up to you. Whatever you choose, it will have the picture of them with their grandchild or grandchildren on it. It may not be what they technically needed, but what grandparents won’t appreciate the chance to see themselves with their grandchildren every day? Can’t you just hear their reaction? “Oh, how...

Chaikin Stock Report for Apple Inc. $AAPL 02-15-2012...

The Chaikin Power Gauge RatingTM for this Apple Inc. $AAPL stock report is very bullish due to very strong earnings performance and very positive expert opinions. The rating also reflects poor financial metrics. AAPL’s earnings performance is very strong as a result of high earnings growth over the past 3-5 years and better than expected earnings in recent quarters. Financial Metrics Rating – Bearish  AAPL’s financial metrics are poor. The company may be overvalued and has relatively low revenue per share. The rank is based on a low long-term debt to equity ratio relative to its industry group, high price to book value ratio, high return on equity, high price to sales ratio and relatively high cash flow. Earnings Performance Rating – Very Bullish AAPL’s earnings performance has been very strong. The company has a history of strong earnings growth and has outperformed analysts’ earnings estimates. The rank is based on high earnings growth over the past 3-5 years, better than expected earnings in recent quarters, an upward trend in earnings this year and consistent earnings over the past 5 years. Price/Volume Activity Rating – Neutral Price and volume activity for AAPL is neutral. AAPL has outperformed the S&P 500 over 26 weeks and is in a decelerating price trend compared to 4 months ago. The rank for AAPL is based on its price strength versus the market, a positive Chaikin price trend and a negative Chaikin price trend ROC. Expert Opinions – Very Bullish Expert opinions about AAPL are very positive. Analysts are raising their EPS estimates for AAPL and shorting of AAPL is low. The rank for AAPL is based on analysts revising earnings estimates upward, a low short interest ratio, insiders not purchasing significant amounts of stock, optimistic analyst opinions and...

What You Need to Know About Hiring a Contractor...

You know that home remodeling projects have a tendency to end up costing more than they do on paper. If you’ve done your homework, you probably also know that a reliable contractor can mean the difference between a project that finishes on time and within budget and one that doesn’t. Here are a few things Austin homeowners should know about hiring a licensed remodeling contractor in Austin for their home improvement project. Finding a remodeling contractor in Austin if you’ve never used one can seem daunting, but it isn’t as hard as you think. The best way to find a good contractor for any job is to ask for referrals. You’ve probably seen one or more houses in your own neighborhood undergo a remodel, so talk to the homeowner about the company who handled the work. Check with friends and co-workers. At the very least, you can start with the Better Business Bureau’s listings to seek out highly-rated Austin companies, as well as weed out the bad ones. Once you’ve narrowed your list down to two or three potential firms, you’ll want to get an estimate from each of them—three is a rule of thumb when it comes to home remodeling projects. However, don’t just go with the lowest bidder; take the time to talk with your potential contractors at length. Ask them about their experience, specializations and availability. Make sure you understand the cost, labor, duration estimates and the exact process that will be observed. It’s a good idea to ask for references as well. You should also find out whether the company carries a surety bond, which is a form of insurance that covers the homeowner if the contractors fail to meet the terms of the agreement. Once you’ve settled on a...