For Your Mane Only

We are all aware about the importance of brushing our mane to keep them healthy. Which hairbrush bristles are better: is it the natural or synthetic type?

As far as styling results are concerned, the same result is obtained from both type of bristles. Although, if hair health is considered, natural boar’s hair bristles are known as the best. This type of bristle won’t tear up the cuticle layer of the hair because it is very gentle yet durable.

Nylon bristles come in as second. They are more affordable than boar’s and are also strong and long- lasting. One caveat: this type of bristle is not that gentle thus, when brushing your hair, use less force.

If at all possible, stay away from metal bristles because they are hard on the hair.

Thread Count : Does It Matter?

Many years ago, I used to struggle in buying bed sheets. How much more with a more major purchase such as  yamaha keyboards ? I know, right? That is if, I’m considering to buy one.

Anyway, the ‘thread count thing’ was confusing to me thus, I would always end up buying higher thread count sheets and still wound up not so pleased with my purchase. I learned through the years that when buying sheets, the thread count is not all that matters, it certainly does not tell us the whole story. Why? Because it does not always indicate softness and durability. The quality and length of a yarn as well as the type of fiber and the origin of the cotton used also contribute to the texture. Hence, two 400 thread count sheets may feel very different. In fact, many experts suggest that when we buy sheets we should consider yarn quality and cotton type before the thread count.

We all know that poly blends are cheaper and lasts longer and they are also more stiff and less comfortable than 100% cotton. Supima cotton which has long and soft fibers and Egyptian cotton(the mix of short and long fibers makes it soft and durable) are excellent choices.

As for the fiber, ring spun cotton fibers are twisted to make the yarn stronger while combed cotton are the best because the process of combing leaves will leave the softer and longer ones.

Sateen sheets are the softest. If you prefer the plain weave it is coarser. Twill and oxford are slightly softer.

And the thread count? If money is no object, you can go as high as 1,200. But based on experience, when I touch my sheets which are at 800TC (my preferred thread count because I’m not willing to splurge any more than they costs) and compare it with those that I own at 600TC (and that is after many years of use) I can not really tell the difference. I just rely on my sense of touch and since then, I’ve been happy with my sheets purchase all the time. I always go for ring spun, combed, sateen, Egyptian cotton sheets at 800TC depending on the feel.

What About Tipping?

The vacation season is almost upon us, so let’s talk about tipping. Do we need to tip or not? Let me list some of “my rules”.

You know what they do right? They take your luggage from the vehicle, hails a cab and as the name implies, open and close the door. My rule? I sure do give them a tip on all the above tasks except for opening the door.

I sure DO, and I do it everyday!!!!! Why? Because I want to have a clean and freshened up room every single day of my stay, and ensures that the tip goes to the specific housekeeper doing the room for the day. And, oh, not to forget the turn down service which I love a lot. I normally give $6 per day in a deluxe hotel.

Front-desk clerk
I do not tip them.

I don’t want to lug my luggage from the front desk to the room. My standard for this is at least $5 and not less than $3.

Nah… They provide services which range from giving directions to making reservations. If they do a big effort though, like moving heaven and hell to get that much coveted seat on a show, I would give $8 or $10.

$2 to $3 every handoff.

Room service waiter
Tip is a must for me, and it can be between 15 to 20% of the total charges.

Oh my, I think I feel the urge to go on vacation. I just hope, that penchant for travel will hit me soon.

House Tour 101

Have you ever experienced giving a house tour in your own home? How about being a guest in someone else’s home and you are being toured around by the host?

I’ve had quite a share of those. Both being the host giving the tour and the guest being toured. We all know that nothing is more character revealing than a person’s private digs, and that is the reason why the chance to check out a friend or acquaintance’s house is always exciting. It is to be noted though, that a house tour has to have a delicate balance between show and tell and even hide and seek. Especially if you think that you need to get the service of an online portal such as There is etiquette involved regardless of when you’re showing a mansion a shack or a palace.

As the host, you certainly have rights, and that being said, one of them is to not give automatic tours to any drop-in visitors. This is mostly due to the fact that not every home is spic and span all the time. I can easily overlook this right, because the clean and neat freak as I am, my home is in tip top shape 100% of the time. Another hosts’ rights is that you can totally decide which room to show off and which you don’t. And lastly, make the tour brief.

As a guest, you have to realize that a house tour is just a bonus, so don’t expect for one. The invitation to go anywhere you please in the house should be taken with a grain of salt. And if you have to rave about something, you have to be sincere about it.

Your Nail And The Emery Board

Do your nails break and peel, and are you tired of dealing with  that condition? Why not check out the way you file them. They say that nails stay stronger when you shape the tip to mimic the shape of the base.

So, if the cuticle end of your nail is a half-moon or an oval, file the tip in a similar shape. If the cuticle end is square (or “squoval” – between a square and an oval) use that as a guideline.

The problem is, what if your nail is simply just weak like mine? I can’t grow my nails long because aside from the fact that I’m no longer comfortable having long nails, they also break easily. It’s good, my nails are inherently long and slender, so they still look feminine and nice even if they are trimmed short.

Afraid Of Color?

Many still live in a home that’s painted all white, all beige or anything that’s very neutral. With the proliferation of so many paint colors from classic colors with a twist to the real funky ones, possibilities are unlimited. But if you are color phobic, how are you going to conquer it and have a more colorful world in your own home?

To start, considering color hues that flatter your skin tone will set the mode. This way, you’ll start to appreciate the beauty of having some color in your environment. If there are colors that you naturally gravitate toward, why not consider those colors? Your favorite color from childhood may turn out to be a good color tone.

So, it pays to rethink and look back. Remember, you are dealing with paint here, if it turn out you are not satisfied with the effect, you can always paint over it.

Not An Option, It’s A Must

So, you just moved in to that newly built home. It’s nice and it feels good right? I know, nothing beats the joy and sense of accomplishment moving in to a house you can call your own, more so, if it’s just newly built. Unfortunately, we know of a lot of cases where a lot of these homes have serious defects and as such, the homeowners face the problem of shelling out more money to shoulder the costs of repair. Often, the fast pace of construction is the known culprit.

A lot of the defects on new homes show up months or even years after moving day. So, what is the best defense of a would-be homeowner? Hire a real estate lawyer and a building inspector engineer. A few key clauses in your contract and inspections during construction can save grief later. But still even if this is in place, you must know that there’s still a chance that something can go wrong. Case in point, my husband’s best friend. He didn’t buy a newly built home. It was a 25 year old home he bought in New Jersey. As a matter of good measure, he hired both professionals as stated above, yet, he still wound up having a flooded basement as soon as the first heavy downpour came from when they moved in. They now continue to live with a pump in their basement.

The need to tread carefully when making any major purchase is not optional, it is a must. That also includes all types of insurance. With the proliferation of many fly by night outfits, hooking up with a reliable insurer and a car insurance agent if one is in the market for a new insurance policy is very important.

Just like any other purchase, there’s always a chance of getting a lemon. It’s good to have an open mind and be ready for any problems.