Have an Unforgettable Summer By Planning Ahead

Have an Unforgettable Summer By Planning Ahead

Can you remember what you did last summer? Maybe you went on the trip of a lifetime or had a summer romance. I recall purchasing my favorite summer dress from charlotte russe More »

Best Wine Regions in France

Best Wine Regions in France

I have always felt that the best way to travel is to combine the vacation with something that you love. I did this for the first time last year when I took More »

Groupon is number one for savings on wellness

Groupon is number one for savings on wellness

The cost of wellness, healthy, beauty and spa treatments is pretty steep in the US. The problem is that these services are considered to be luxuries, and the staff at such places More »

Groupon is dead. Long live Groupon!

Groupon is dead. Long live Groupon!

Groupon’s deal-of-the-day business model was once so successful that it raked in $950 million in a series D funding round, but in recent years its vouchers and coupons have lost their lure, More »

Your Road Trip Guide To 2014: Five Destinations Worth The Mileage in the US

Your Road Trip Guide To 2014: Five Destinations Worth The Mileage in the US

A road trip can be a way to refresh your spirit after a hectic year of work and family activities. Cruising down an open road, with new sights, sounds and personalities along More »


Passport Photo Tips

Having your passport photos rejected when applying for a new passport is a frustrating experience, which will cost you time and money. It is for this reason that if you are in a hurry for your passport, that you should look to use a passport photo delivery service.

The passport photo has to be perfect because this is what the customs officials will be using to allow you into a country. Around the world some border officials are stricter than others, and this is why it is critical that you get the photo correct. The Australian government has provided a set of rules regarding this, and if you are not using a service then it is essential that you understand these rules before you take your photo.


Firstly, you will have to provide 2 passport pictures which are identical, they should have been taken in the last 6 months and they have to have been produced using dye sublimation. This means that they cannot have been printed from an inkjet printer.

Conditions of the Images

The image has to be absolutely clear without any blurring at all. There can be no marks on the image and your eyes must be visible, any red eyed images will be rejected instantly. The background should be white or light grey, and it should contrast with your face. If the image features any shadows then it will also be rejected.


For the passport photo your head should be in the center of the image, it must be at a height of 45mm-50mm and a width of 35mm-40mm, within this your head should be no higher than 36mm in the image itself.

Expression and Features

When you are taking your passport pictures you need to have your hair completely off your face, and you cannot wear any jewelry or accessories on your face. If you have to wear glasses for medical reasons then you can leave these on for the photograph, but the frames cannot be obscured and you have to make sure there is no reflection from the lenses.

You must have a neutral expression on your face for your passport photo, this means no smiling or frowning, and your mouth should be closed.

Best Course of Action

There really isn’t much reason as to why you should be taking these images on your own. For example, there isn’t much cost saving from taking the photos yourself and if the images are rejected, it will only mean that it takes more time and costs more money. A quick search for ‘passport photos near me’ will bring up many services which you can use to have your image taken, and they will guarantee that it meets requirements.

For your passport photos it is always better to use a proper professional service. This option is also quicker, easier and much cheaper in the long run. You can find all of this information and more on passport photos on the Australian government website. Happy snapping!

How to Protect Your Home When You Live in a Windy City

Wind can be one of the most damaging things for a home. It’s important to remember that protecting your home means protecting every aspect of it, not just investing in waterproofing or anti-infestation measures. You also need to protect it from wind. The good news is that you can combat wind damage in your home, even if you live in one of the windiest cities in the United States.

The 20 Windiest Cities in the United States

There are certain cities that are windier than others. Here are the 20 windiest cities in the United States on average.

  1. Mt. Washington, NH: 35.7
  2. Dodge City, KS: 13.1
  3. Amarillo, TX: 12.9
  4. Cheyenne, WY: 12.3
  5. Goodland, KS: 12.1
  6. Rochester, MN: 12.1
  7. Clayton, NM: 12.1
  8. Lubbock, TX: 12.0
  9. Casper, WY: 12.0
  10. Corpus Christie, TX: 11.7
  11. Wichita, KS: 11.5
  12. Boston, MA: 11.5
  13. Great Falls, MT: 11.4
  14. New York, NY: 11.3
  15. Oklahoma City, OK: 11.3
  16. Wichita Falls, TX: 11.2
  17. Grand Island, NE: 11.2
  18. Fargo, ND: 11.1
  19. Galveston, TX: 11.1
  20. Concordia, KS: 11.0

This information comes from the National Centers for Environmental Information, which has catalogued wind speed data since 1984. You can see that absolutely nothing comes close to Mount Washington, which is far and away the windiest place in the United States.

Other Reasons for Windiness

When looking at the list of windiest cities, you may have noticed that some cities like Chicago aren’t present. This is because the official wind speed of the city only accounts for natural wind. Many cities are much windier than their “official” rating because of wind tunnels.

Wind tunnels happen when a city’s wind becomes squeezed between skyscrapers. This makes the wind speed on the ground much higher than the wind speed above the skyscrapers. Cities like Chicago, which only has an average wind speed of 9.9 MPH, can feel much windier than they are due to this wind effect.

Methods to Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

Protecting your home from wind damage should be a crucial part of keeping your home safe in general. If you’re weatherproofing your house in other ways, you should also be windproofing your house. This way, you can avoid debris problems, shingles and siding coming off, and even your whole roof coming off.

The best way to protect your home from wind damage is to talk to an expert who’s good at windproofing. Many basement and foundation repair experts also know how wind damage works. They can assess the wind damage probabilities of your local area and suggest preventative measures.


Wind damage is definitely serious, but it doesn’t have to negatively impact your home. If you’re willing to take steps before the wind damage occurs, you can stave it off effectively. Just make sure you talk to an expert if you’re worried about the possibility for wind damage in your own home.

Have an Unforgettable Summer By Planning Ahead

Can you remember what you did last summer? Maybe you went on the trip of a lifetime or had a summer romance. I recall purchasing my favorite summer dress from charlotte russe and learning to surf at the beach in my home town. If you are planning to stay around this summer in order to spend time with family and friends, I’ve got some tips that will allow you to make the most of those sweet summer days and will leave you feeling motivated to start preparing for the beloved season that’s just around the corner.

Save on Summer Essentials By Starting Now

Load up on summer essentials and keep them on hand as soon as you feel those summer vibes coming in off the coast. What are some products that come to mind when you think of summer? Depending on what region of the country you live in, it could be a bikini, hiking boots or possibly a wakeboard. Whatever it is that a summer at home means to you, make a list. Keep the list with you so that when you’re roaming around Target or the outlets, you can keep an eye out for deals on things like sunscreen, granola bars, a new beach towel and maybe a cooler. That way, you can save a little here and there instead of buying it all at one place and robbing yourself of the savings that you can discover by bargain shopping around. If you are a Target shopper like me, you probably just have fun roaming the aisles and shuffling around the discount shelves. But with the Cartwheel app by Target, you can discover secret discounts that are only available on the app, you won’t find them in person. If you see a product on secret sale on the app, simply save it on the app, find the product in the store and when you check out, have the cashier scan your Cartwheel barcode. Another tip is to keep watch for pre-summer sales, where things like beach towels, umbrellas and coolers are often sold at discounted prices.

Clean Out Your Fridge

Spring is the perfect time to clean out your fridge and replace processed foods with fresh spring ingredients, getting your body ready and fueled with vitamins for those long summer days awaiting. Incorporate spring produce like artichokes, asparagus and avocados into your meals and garnish your morning parfaits and desserts with fresh apricots and cherries. These vitamin rich foods will give you that extra boost to make it to summertime and in good shape. Don’t forget to incorporate at least 20 minutes a day of physical activity to make the most of the nutrients entering your body.

Save Big on Summer Outings through Groupon

If you are hoping to engage in your local surrounding this summer, you must check out the wide variety of activities at special prices on Groupon. Get promo codes and discounts on things like wine tasting, spa days, pedicures, tours and yoga classes, to mention just a few.

Best Wine Regions in France

I have always felt that the best way to travel is to combine the vacation with something that you love. I did this for the first time last year when I took a 3 month tour through through France on a tour of some of the finest wine regions that it had on offer. I stayed in some great France vacation rentals throughout my trip as opposed to going down the hotel route and in all honesty if you are planning on any kind of travel then I’d recommend vacation rentals over hotels all day long.

I wanted to write a little bit about which were my favorite wine regions and which ones that you should head to if you fancy following in my footsteps and indulging your inner wine-lover and combining it with a trip to France. I must be honest, I much prefer New World wines than the French offerings and my main reason for heading to France was nothing more than a European destination being cheaper and more accessible than heading off to Australia, South Africa or South America. Thankfully, my logistic-based decision proved to be worthwhile as I have no been fully converted to some outstanding French wines.  Let’s take a look then at some of the very best wine regions which you should visit when you head to France.

The World Famous Bordeaux

The hearty reds of Bordeaux have long been a favorite amongst my fellow Brits and it was here that I began my very own ‘tour de France’. In Bordeaux you will find a great collection of Champagne, Burgundy and Claret amongst many others. Bordeaux has gained such fame in part due its beautiful produce and in part because of its proximity to the sea which has meant that for centuries, exporting was extremely easy. I visited some vineyards along the Dordogne river and the estuary of Gironde before indulging in the powerhouse vineyards of Saint Emilion and Medoc. These vineyards are full geared up for wine tourists and have excellent tours and tasting sessions. Not only did I enjoy the wine here but the surrounding area of Bordeaux is truly breathtaking.

Warm and Coastal Languedoc

Next up on the list is the Languedoc region of France which sits on the Mediterranean coast in the far south of the country. The climate and coastal location of Languedoc enable the region’s vineyards to produce large quantities of wine which I had always considered as being ‘house’ style wine, very average and very normal.

I was then, pleasantly surprised when I toured the vineyards of this region and discovered that whilst my previous opinion had been true to a point, there was in fact some beautiful sparkling wine being produced down here. The Limoux region in particular is producing some award winning sparkling wines which are beginning to give even the finest champagne a run for its money. I have never been a great lover of the razzmatazz  that often comes with sparkling wines and champagne but there is something very special going on in Limoux, watch this space.

The Natural Beauty of Jura

I had heard that this was one of the most underrated locations wine-producing regions in France and I just love a challenge so I headed to the Jura region in the east of the country. I should make a note before I start that this is without question one of the most beautiful French regions that I have ever laid eyes upon and that was before I even got to a vineyard. The region is packed with natural splendor from lakes, beach-fringed reservoirs, swooping valleys and lush greenery to high mountains and alpine meadows, even if you don’t love wine, I’d recommend that you come to Jura.

Regarding the wine itself, the word on the street is true and the Franche-Comte region is producing some of the finest French wines that I have ever tasted. Most wines here are blended and use the grave Savagnin, exclusive to Jura and a grape which gives their wines a sherry-like aftertaste. The vineyards here are relatively new to touring people around and as such they are full of life and energy when telling you about their product. Traveling to Jura provided me with the best trip, the finest wine and gave me a glimpse of some simply outstanding natural landscapes.

So there you have it, my top 3 wine regions in France that I think you should visit if you want to take a wine tour throughout the country. As I said before, combining something that you love along with your travel plans is truly the best way to get the most out of your trip away and if it is wine that you love then look no further than these excellent wine-producing French regions.