Stay And Play At Home

The COVID-19 pandemic arrived as suddenly as the change that came with it. Ever since the pandemic began, people have had to consider radical lifestyle changes. Many of us are still trying to get used to these changes. As millions have been become bound by stay-at-home measures to contain the spread of the virus, we are confronted with new realities.

Online shopping, videoconferencing, and online learning have are the new norm. Since all of this means we will spending a lot more time at home, we are also on the lookout for new ways to entertain ourselves at home. We are also seeking clever ways to watch movies and listen to music remotely with friends. 

More and more people find themselves lounging in their backyard nowadays. It can be the most refreshing activity of the day. Why not consider redesigning the backyard to spend more time outdoors while maintaining social distancing? This is one part of the home where it all happens: relaxation, recreation, entertainment, and being one with nature’s elements like vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fresh air. In addition to a new deck and patio, most yards could also do with some updated landscaping. It is important to hire reputable landscapers like Mission Hills’s Torrey Pines Landscaping, who will design and build a landscape design that suits your home.

Here are some landscaping tips and ideas to consider:

Elevate With Rock and Stone

Rocks and stones can be used in many ways all over the backyard. Some ideas include using them as elevation, decoration, and drainage. Larger stones can add texture to the landscape to support elevation changes. Smaller stones and decorative gravel can be used to add more character to the landscape and to create more drainage areas.

Create A Green Oasis With Trees & Shrubs 

The most basic elements of any landscaping zone are the trees and shrubs. Height variations create scale and flow in the landscape, and trees and shrubs can be great for scaling the house. Undersized trees are not a great choice as they can take longer to grow. Straight lines through a minimalist approach work well for formal and contemporary landscapes. For natural backyard landscaping, arrangements of shrubs offer a relaxed appeal. Trees and shrubs make for a great backyard addition as they act as shading from the sun.

Create Geometric Garden Structures

Landscaping with garden structures like pergolas and arbors offers several possibilities. Pergolas aren’t just beautiful decorative structures, but they can provide shade and privacy for the pool and dining patios or outdoor kitchens. San Diego homeowners can have Patio Covers installed by hiring Torrey Pines Landscaping. Using pergolas for landscaping create a unique transformation. Along with pergolas, arbors can be added to create a nice entrance to the herb garden or pool area. 

Surround Yourself With Water

A great addition to a landscape are water features like ponds and fountains that create a serene environment. Ponds are perfect on a natural landscape with more rugged open setting. The pond can be surrounded by lilies. Colorful plants can be used to offer a balance to the outdoor stone.

Aerial Photography of Body of Water

Investigate and exterminate—do not procrastinate!

For anyone living in the United States, one of the most common problems you should never overlook is a termite infestation. Plenty of skeptical homeowners might see it as a problem to leave to deal with for another day, but that is simply not the case. Without a doubt, termites are one of the most frustrating pests that you could have at home. That is why we implore you to stop procrastinating, and address the issue head on. We urge you take its potential severity with the utmost seriousness.

Typically, you will find three particular forms of termites living in your property. These include the drywood termite, the dampwood termite, and the subterranean termite. Naturally, all three can be quite a problem for the average homeowner. While the most common and arguably the most destructive are subterranean and drywood termites, all types are damaging in their own particular way. Sadly, many homeowners only begin to look into the problems that a potential infestation could cause when it is too late. 

How termites destroy your home

Many times, the damage can remain hidden until it is already going to cost you thousands of dollars in repair fees and costs. The problem with termite damage is that it usually cannot be spotted without having some kind of prior knowledge. That is why it is important for homeowners to understand the behaviours of termites.

The University of Florida found that it took just three weeks for a young colony of only 2,000 termites to eat through an entire small wooden replica of a home. The average colony consists of tens of thousands of termites, and they can eat through inches of your home in a matter of weeks. When a house’s structure is extensively damaged, it can become entirely unsuitable for living in.

Termites thrive on the moisture in your home, which means that they will keep on eating so long as there is moisture. Be sure to pay particular attention to any parts of your home that might have some kind of structural dampness. However, the overall conundrum is that termites damage your home by silently but significantly tearing through the foundations and eating them, making it hard to solve the problem affordably. 

Brown Wooden Panel Beside Concrete Board

Should you get annual termite inspections?

Yes, absolutely. One of the best decisions that you can make this year would be to invest in some kind of pest control protection against Sierra Madre termites. You should look to book your annual infestation examination immediately. Annual tests are useful as they can spot the problem year-in, year-out, making sure that any termites that are invading your home are found before they cause any kind of sizeable damage. The longer that you wait, the more likely it is that the problem will be severe. Annual investigations carried out by local experts are extremely important.

Are there some exterminators who are looking to fumigate the entire home (when a spot treatment will do just fine) simply to get paid by the hour? Sure—but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a trustworthy exterminator who will give you an honest inspection and specialized spot treatment. We highly recommend Grand Oaks Termite Control for their excellent reputation and integrity. If you spot any signs of a termite infestation, make sure that you call in the experts and get the problem resolved right away!

Grand Oaks Termite Control
110 S Worthy Dr, Glendora, CA 91741, United States

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Should You Litigate or Mediate?

When it comes to divorce, most people imagine the absolute worst to happen legally and emotionally. We hear about terrible divorces from our friends and the news, and we see stories in movies about heartbreak that typically involve a couple’s legal combat in the courtroom.

“Marriage Story” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver has been praised by divorce lawyers for its realistic portrayal of real dynamics of litigation. In the movie, we learn that the legal system of divorce makes it difficult to reach a true win-win. It illustrates how divorce litigation is anything but just paperwork and facts. It shows why people who used to love each other eventually pursue the course of damaging one another’s reputation and credibility as much as possible in order to attain the settlement they are seeking.

3 Women in Suit Sitting

As such, audiences come away from the movie with being unable to pinpoint either person as the real villain or hero. Rather, the characters are recognized as being complicated and messy people who love each other but do not belong together. Despite the couple reaching many points of anger and exhaustion, it is evident that at no point does the couple ever truly hate one other. Rather, they are forced to their breaking point because of how challenging it is to navigate the difficult and convoluted process of divorce litigation. Moreover, we see how the combative nature of the litigation prompts lawyers to act overtly mean and invasive in order to win.

As you know, we write for the conspiracists and skeptics. We like to consider new and better alternatives to the norm. So this article is to question the narrative of divorce being the awful bureaucratic experience that it is commonly portrayed as. What if there was another way? A more friendly, fair, and communicative way?

Consider mediation. When it comes to choosing between a mediator or a family law attorney, most people prefer mediation because it is less antagonistic. Many people suffer physical health consequences because of the stress that arises through litigation in public court. In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates a resolution communicated by and agreed upon by both parties privately. Unlike a lawyer whose objective is to win a case, a mediator’s goal is to bring both parties to an agreement to what really matters: the division of assets, liabilities, and custody schedules.

McNamee Mediations is a divorce and family mediator who has been recognized as an expert Newport Beach, California. Colleen McNamee is unlike any divorce mediator we’ve reviewed. When it comes to divorce, most people don’t expect to fall in love again right before it becomes final. But some of Colleen’s clients have even reconciled during mediation instead of finalizing their divorce! She has over forty 5-star reviews on Yelp, which is astounding!

Mediation might be the right fit for you if you are looking for an alternative to litigation. If you are considering a divorce, you can give McNamee Mediations to inquire about their services.

McNamee Mediations
4590 MacArthur Blvd Suite 500, Newport Beach, CA 92660, United States

Hiring A Contractor? Have Some Healthy Skepticism

How should you proceed once you have decided to remodel your home? Most people decide to hire a professional, rather than doing the renovations themselves. If you are one thinking about hiring a contractor, this article is for you. We wanted to discuss a couple of important considerations.

Finding the right contractor can be the trickiest part of any project. For any homeowner, it can be extremely nerve-wracking to give someone the responsibility of transforming your home. Whether it is a demolition or installation, homeowners want their homes to be renovated in good hands.

As most readers of this website already know, we are written by skeptics, for skeptics. We’ve all heard about home renovation disasters and contractors from hell. This is why we are fans of skepticism: a healthy dose can save you a lot of trouble! The right contractor can make your dream home come true, and the wrong one can leave your home as an unfinished construction site.

You should always start with a vision and specific plan. Do not rely on your contractor as a design consultant, as this can lead to several problems. Even if your contractor has experience and knows exactly what they are doing, you should clearly communicate the ideas you have in mind.

If you are renovating your house as a couple or with other people living in the same house, be sure to discuss everything beforehand. Your contractor certainly won’t have the qualifications to act as a marriage counsellor, should any disagreements arise.

Neighbours, coworkers, and your local home improvement store may be the best place to ask for referrals. It is best to collect several referrals and interview each one. This is your opportunity to interview them thoroughly, which will help you understand the requirements of your project. Be sure to ask for a quote at the end, so that you can compare the costs of time, deliverables, and materials.

You should also never rely on benefit of the doubt, whether it is before or during the renovation. If something does not look or sound right, be sure to ask your contractor to stop and provide you with the information you need in order to feel good about proceeding. If you still do not feel like you are ready to make an informed decision, you can call a friend or do some online research about the topic in question.

For most homeowners, the first remodel is the kitchen. If you are planning a kitchen remodel and are looking to hire a contractor based in Orange County, we highly recommend Inspired Remodels. They are Yelp verified and have received stellar ratings and reviews, including this one: “So, what everyone else is saying here on Yelp is certainly true – Inspired Remodels is the real deal, and if you’re looking to hire a trustworthy contractor to make your vision a reality, there’s no need to look any further.” If you have planned out your next renovation and are ready to start speaking to potential contractors for hire, give Inspired Remodels a call to inquire about their team and services.

Inspired Remodels
1098 Bake Pkwy Ste 100 Lake Forest, CA 92630

The Root Of The Mystery

On bright spring morning, Detective Holmes stepped out of his home office for a breather outside. He couldn’t help but notice that his lawn looked terrible. The grass was patchy and a dull shade of green. Then, he looked up across the street, and noticed that every lawn in his neighbourhood looked the same. What a sore sight! He sighed. He had spent quite a fortune on maintaining his lawn, and wondered what it had all been for. In fact, what what was the point of anything? He took a deep breath. He had tendency to question every thought with an existential philosophy. He was a deep thinker who had experienced and witnessed much, perhaps too much, in life, and wanted to understanding the meaning of it all.

Holmes went back inside. As he sat down and began to ponder the great existential question of human existence, he paused. He glanced at his book shelf, his cat, and his tea pot. It was beautiful, and he came to the realization that perhaps the meaning of life was to simply enjoy all of the beauty of it. He sighed a long and deep sigh, coming to terms with a long-forgotten sense of inner peace.

But then he remembered what he saw that morning. “Grrr!” he exasperated. “What is the matter?” Holmes was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the sad grass. He sat back in his chair. He was a smart man who knew better than to look at situations from their mere surface. He leapt out of his chair, ran to his shed, and grabbed this shovel. Holmes found himself digging for answers as he shovelled through the soil of his front lawn.

Stack of Gray Stones

“Aha!!” he exclaimed. He was glad he found the answer, but frustrated that this meant that he had been spending a fortune on grass that was in no healthy condition to grow. What he found from his digging was that the soil and clay composition of the ground simply wasn’t the best for growing lush green grass. Holmes ran back to his shed, threw his shovel inside, and raced back into his office. “I will find an alternative!” he shouted to himself. He was the type of man who was relentless and always focused on finding a solution.

He figured real grass was no longer physically viable, nor was it a cost-friendly option. Holmes conducted some further investigation and discovered that artificial grass had become increasingly popular over the years in Orange County. However, the man was a skeptic and did not trust popular opinion. He had to discover the truth on his own and see it with his own eyes.

With some more research and reading online reviews, he stumbled across NoMow Turf, an artificial turf installation company that happened to be based in Orange County. He looked carefully at each photo on the site, and while he was normally a hard man to impress, Holmes was dazzled. He gave them a call and had his new lawn installed the very next day.

If you are finding it difficult or costly to grow and maintain your lawn, check out NoMow Turf and give them a call.

A Globetrotter Returns Home

Olivia Turner is a globetrotting journalist who has spent the last few months residing in her elegant Tuscan style home in the residential community of Los Angeles. Three months ago, she returned home after having spent six months in Northern Thailand, visiting temples and schools, reporting on culture and philosophy. She came back from her trip with an appreciation and desire for a quieter and more peaceful life. Inspired by the aesthetics of Asian prayer gardens, Olivia decided to revamp her backyard.

Rancho Santa Fe Mediterranean Gardens

“I love my job as a traveling reporter, but it is very physically exhausting. That said, I learn so much from seeing the world. I leave every city as a brand new person. And I’ve returned home to Los Angeles wanting to create a space in my own home that allows me to recall and remember what I learned from my experience in Thailand.”

The typical stages of revamping a backyard involve design, measurement, build, and installation. Olivia enlisted the services of a landscape design firm based in Point Loma to bring her dream into reality. “I wanted to elevate my garden to give it an energy that is both invigorating and soothing. I wanted zen but I also wanted California cool.” To achieve her desired result, the designers recommended three key elements: greenery, symmetry, and simplicity.

Torrey Pines Landscape company is a landscape design-build company based in Mission Hills, founded by award-winning landscape contractor Harry Thompson. “I don’t expect my globetrotting days to come to an end anytime soon, but I do plan on spending much more of the year at home with my children. They are only young for so long, and I want to be here to watch them grow up. In addition to dinner parties and group meditations, I wanted this backyard to be a play space for my little ones. I wanted this to be a lifelong garden, and so I knew that I had to hire an expert to get it right.”

Knowing what she wanted and seeing that the designers had captured her vision in their detailed plans, it wasn’t hard for Olivia to agree to move onto the next stage. For over thirty-five years, Torrey Pines Landscaping Company has been custom designing and transforming gardens in San Diego. They have an impressive portfolio of projects, with features such as fire pits, kitchens, patio covers, planters, fountains, and more. The company also offers landscape maintenance, which includes garden pest control, water audits and management, lighting upkeep and improvement, plant care, weed abatement, soil testing, seasoning flower planting, and more.

“I wanted there to be structure with the arrangement of the greenery. And I wanted to showcase a foundation. Water has a lot of symbolism in Eastern culture and religion. Nature and water are believed to provide calm energy. Once they sketched up the plan and showed it to me, I knew that it was going to be perfect. I loved that they captured my preference for a minimalist style of elegance. “

If you are looking to transform your garden into an oasis, you can give them a call.

Torrey Pines Landscape Company
5560 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121, United States

The Road To Freedom

Alana Sadowski, now thirty-three, once lived in Poland before immigrating to the United States five years ago. “I had a dream of making it as a model in the fashion industry. My boyfriend at the time had taken me on a trip to New York City, and as soon as I got into the city, I knew I had to be here in order for my career to blossom.”

Sadowski says that soon afterward, she and her boyfriend had returned to Poland and she decided to end the relationship in order to pursue a new life in the U.S. “It was very difficult to leave him, but it was not a choice I ever came to regret. I am certain that I would have eventually made the decision either way, because I knew that I was destined for a life outside of my hometown in Poland.” This prompted Alana to look into her options as to obtaining legal status to live and work in the U.S.

Flowers Near Woman's Face

“I wanted to do everything the right way. I kept hearing about illegal and undocumented immigrants having to face many hardships and struggles, and worrying that they would one day be discovered and deported. I just wanted to do things right the first time around.” Today, Alana has a flourishing modelling career and resides in the Soho district of New York City.

As stated on usa.gov, a green card gives you official immigration status in the United States, entitles you to certain rights and responsibilities, and is required if you wish to naturalize as a U.S. Citizen. One must be eligible in order to apply.

In 2018, a news story broke about a woman who had paid thousands of dollars in legal fees to a lawyer to help her obtain a green card, only to be given an order of deportation. Unfortunately, her lawyer intentionally misled her by the semantics of the law, preying on her hopes and dreams, using a tactic that resulted in her being lured into testifying in court. The hearing was not to decide on granting her green card status, but to decide on whether or not she should be deported. This lawyer had convinced her that under the “ten year law” of undocumented immigrants, she could be granted legal status.

Entering into the U.S. without lawful status will always put you at risk. However, if you have been a victim of a crime, or if your spouse, parent, or child has immigration status, you may be eligible for a green card. K Nair Law is a green card attorney in Orange County. With a background in criminal law, Kiran Nair has effectively represented hundreds of clients and practiced for over twelve years. She understands the hurdles and challenges faced by many immigrants, having arrived to the U.S. as a young child in 1980. Most importantly, Kiran Nair is a reputable ethical lawyer who advises and represents her clients with integrity.

If you are looking to attain legal status in the U.S., we highly recommend contacting K Nair Law firm for a consultation.

K Nair Law Group, P.C.
31897 Del Obispo St Suite 225, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675, United States

Killing Termites With Integrity

Termites are wood-eating insects. These critters have the ability to turn your house into their own grand banquet feast. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reports that every year, termites cause over $5 billion in property damage. Who should you turn to if you think you think your house may be infested?

In 2014, Specialty Products Consultants, LLC reported that there were over 19,000 companies in the industry (A Strategic Analysis of the U.S. Structural Pest Control Industry – 2014). We reviewed Grand Oaks Termite Control, a business that offers inspection and treatments. They were established in 2013 and service the Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, and Pasadena region.

Grand Oaks Termite Control conducts thorough and detailed termite inspection in San Dimas. NPMA reports that pests “contaminate food, as well as kitchen equipment and other surfaces. Pests also infest food items and stored products including grains and dry goods.”

Grand Oaks promises competitive termite inspection and treatment costs. They also offer excellent customer service, as demonstrated by their stellar ratings and reviews on Yelp. One reviewer mentioned that Grand Oaks beat out other providers on price. In addition, she states that the company was an excellent communicator throughout the entire process.

Read Julia A.‘s review of Grand Oaks Termite Control on Yelp

The company offers different types of treatments depending on the severity of the infestation. They offer localize and full perimeter treatments for subterranean infestations. According to NPMA, subterranean termites eat non-stop, and are therefore the most destructive species of termite in the country.

Grand Oaks offers a regular inspection program, which allows home owners to proactively take preventative measures against possible termite infestation and subsequent damage.

Photo of Grand Oaks Termite Control - Glendora, CA, United States

We always look to review companies who are known to provide accurate information and full transparency in order to act in best interest of their customers. We believe that professional integrity includes not taking advantage of worrisome situations just for the sake of profit. In the case of exterminator services, it is very difficult for the average home owner to understand the extent of the problem. Therefore, they are completely reliant on the information provided to them by the inspector. In these situations, there is no way to know if the company is giving a home owner exaggerated claims about the inspection in order to take advantage of their concern and willingness to save their house.

However, Grand Oaks boasts a strong reputation of honesty and track record of service. The owner started the company after seeing too many instances of poor industry practices. One reviewer mentions how worried she was about her entire home being infested. Luckily, Grand Oaks determined that to not be the case and was able provided a fair quote. Moreover, they were able to treat the affected area in an hour.

Read Carina Z.‘s review of Grand Oaks Termite Control on Yelp

We highly recommended that you give Grand Oaks Termite Control a call if you believe that your home has a termite infestation.

Grand Oaks Termite Control
110 S Worthy Dr, Glendora, CA 91741, United States