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Author: Aubree Hudson

The Finest Toilet Seat and Bidets I Ever Bought

The Finest Toilet Seat and Bidets I Ever Bought

Just like a sensible set of white shoes lessening the allure of a stiletto heel, my bathroom seat-and-lid with gentle hinges has destroyed normal – and frequently more beautiful – bathroom chairs for me. (For brevity’s sake, I shall only refer to it as a “toilet seat” here, even though I am technically referring to a toilet-seat-and-lid mix.)

I’ll never, actually consider buying any other kind of bathroom seat. My 13-year-old self might need a crystal clear plastic toilet seat with figurines and glitter blended to it, or a glue laminated engineered timber one with a realistic painting of a crimson rose onto it. But this won’t ever happen, because toilet chairs with gentle hinges have put the bar too high.

A toilet seat having a gentle hinge – I have the slow-close molded-wood bathroom seat by Mayfair – signifies that if you place the chair (or liddown), there is no banging noise. You give the chair (or lid) a small push if you want it to shut and it protects the rest. Gliding, it slows down as it means the bowl. From the time the surfaces match, the chair (or lid) is moving so slowly that it creates zero sound. The entire process lasts approximately ten minutes. And it’s glorious.

My foray into buying an extremely specific toilet chair started with a demand from an emergency plumber working on blocked plumbing to replace the tattered one which came with the toilet when my husband and I signed the lease for our apartment. In the beginning, it was a U-shaped toilet chair, but after years of everyday usage – it’s the only bathroom in the apartment – it had been actually looking its era. It had been embarrassing and disagreeable enough that I chose to buy a brand new one.

In my quest to discover a substitute, I found that toilet seats are extremely loud when closed carelessly – that is exactly what happens within my home whenever it is used. Throughout the daytime it is slammed closed, a sound which echoes through the whole apartment. Plumbing shops, designing showrooms … visits to those establishments expose one into a huge toilet tech you cannot see in sci-fi novels. Toilets using LED light bicycles. Toilets with underfloor heating selections for your seat.

Too many bells and whistles are just that: too much. All I desired was a straightforward solution to a problem I had been having.

After several hours spent reading reviews of “whisper close” bathrooms on Amazon, I opted to buy the soft hinges bathroom seat I’ve based on testimonials, number of testimonials, cost, and accessibility (in that order). Installing it was a cinch, and it has created a severe effect. I am rather entertained by how quiet it is that occasionally I open and shut only for pleasure, which really tells you a whole lot about where I am in my life at the moment.

Basically I enjoy that placing the lid or seat down doesn’t feel as a job that should be treated with caution. There is no attentively closure late at night for fear of waking up my partner. There are no loud bangs heard through the day. It is like the toilet seat and lid do not also exist, which is precisely the way I need it.

And yet the typical person’s reaction to seeing a bidet in a toilet is to raise an eyebrow or snicker. To the rest of the civilized world, bidets are somewhat common, especially to commercial plumbing services and plumbers. Bidets simply offer more cleaning and comfort in the toilet, better cleaning, in reality, than conventional toilet paper. They may be particularly helpful for those who have specific medical conditions, physical disabilities, and pregnant women, however even in cases where you don’t fall into any of these categories, it is still possible to enjoy the advantages of a bidet.

Bidets (pronounced ‘bih-days’) have been mainly bought for hygienic reasons. They offer better cleaning than toilet paper and also will help save you money over time. From the Proremodeler post, bidets ultimately are making inroads in US Bathrooms Philip J. Buffington, M.D., Chief Medical Officer in The Urology Group, in Cincinnati said that if you take germ cultures after a bowel motion by means of a bidet versus bathroom seat, you’d see why it creates much greater health awareness to use a bidet.

Why are bidets so bizarre to people? There is a handful of concepts, but the most plausible one alludes much to an outdated stereotype about how bidets are utilized. The term bidet comes from the French phrase for little horse since centuries past, to use a first bidet, you may need to sit down and straddle over it since you cleaned with all the water at the bowl along with your palms.

This is not how they’re utilized anymore, but since they were not introduced in the United States, it is usually believed that Americans, who are usually so picky about cleanliness, favor the newspaper shield between hands and buttocks. Americans are inclined to be hush-hush about toilet items, generally speaking, thinking about the very first toilet flushing did not appear in cinema before the 1960’s film Psycho where it had displayed what people still call “the toilet” under structural architectural timber beams although lots of private or public baths do not really have a ‘bathroom’ in them.

Another misconception is that bidets are only for ladies. That is just not true. They are sometimes handy to women during pregnancy but are also quite hygienic for guys to use along with or without toilet paper. In reality, many who’ve switched over to bidets simply refuse to return to regular bathrooms, which will be where traveling bidets can be convenient.

Bottom line is though that bidets are somewhat foreign to Americans, they provide huge developments in hygiene and relaxation. A bidet is among the very practical products you’re able to invest in as you will use it several times per week day. The only downside is the upfront price – and bidets aren’t cheap – but it will pay for itself over time.

First Online Farmers Market Readies for Launch

First Online Farmers Market Readies for Launch

Each weekend around Australia from Canberra to Collingwood and outside, visitors and locals buy fresh produce at farmers’ markets. MegaFresh founder and managing director Alex Stefan wants to tap into this demand with the roll-out of the world’s first online farmers’ market where shoppers will have the ability to buy farm fresh produce from their cell phone. Stefan is in the middle of a “soft launch” of Megafresh signing up farmers to the website at Victoria, soon to be followed by NSW and Queensland. MegaFresh functions like eBay. Sellers list their goods in their own cost and buyers do their shopping.

Stefan farmers and local IT support consultants for network services consider markets plenty of work for a limited amount of shoppers. He believes an internet market will fix their problem, seeing MegaFresh as a direct line from manufacturer to customer through its own warehouse and delivery model. The model has the backing of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation. VFF president David Jochinke states that the VFF would support a platform which may decrease the supply chain costs and provide more margins back to farmers.

First farmer on board

MegaFresh bills itself as a distinctive one-stop store for shoppers. It’s a fulfilment service which stores and packs the new farm produce and markets then delivers to a climate-controlled pick-up pod for the shopper to accumulate on the same day. Yarra Valley apple grower Kevin Sanders is among the first farmers to register. He says that it’s time for a new kind of shopping experience for the consumer and the farmer, enabled by testing managed services and agile test management.

Sanders doesn’t anticipate massive orders for his apples in the beginning, so will deliver a small amount of his harvest for now. He states that for apples or pears, so long as they’re refrigerated, there’s absolutely no loss of integrity for a week.

Personal funds spent

Stefan has already invested personal funds of over $300,000 to start up MegaFresh and expects there will be a couple more million sunk to the fledgling company by future investors when MegaFresh gains traction. The business will earn money by charging suppliers a commission on the sales price, like online marketplaces Amazon and eBay. Unlike Amazon, which charges a membership fee, MegaFresh clients don’t pay to do their online shopping.

While Sanders believes providing via MegaFresh as another route to clients, he adds that the handy part of a farmers’ market is instant feedback from the customer. Maintaining the personal interaction from a traditional farmers’ market is going to be the challenging part but not an impossible part.

Sense of community

By interacting with vendors and clients via social networking apps (tested by a software testing course), MegaFresh will keep the farmers’ market sense of community. But Victorian Farmers’ Market Association executive director Kate Archdeacon isn’t so sure, saying that there are plenty of businesses around which are using the word farmers’ markets as an advertising mechanism but are definitely operating as third party retailers.

Archdeacon says that these companies are so far away from the direct farmer-customer relationship that’s central to licensed farmers’ markets. The institution sees this as another example of attempting to capitalise on the great standing of farmers’ markets.

What is in a name

Megafresh is explained by Stefan as an interaction between the supplier and the customer, distinct to a wholesale retail version [moving] down the chain from manufacturer to distributor to retailer to customer. The Megafresh platform is a direct line from manufacturer and manufacturer to customer via its own warehouse and delivery model.

Archdeacon points out that you can’t replicate [a farmers’ market] in anything that has this third party management and a consistent need for external IT support solutions from consultants in Melbourne. It’s a kind of buffer between the client and the farmer. It isn’t the same. It’s gratifying to know that the notion of a farmers’ market is regarded as a means to entice consumers but that’s the nicest thing he can say about it, according to Archdeacon.

How Much are we Really Spending on Back to School Costs?

How Much are we Really Spending on Back to School Costs?

When it comes to returning back-to-school, mothers shed some serious coin to get their children looking good, according to a 2012 poll from Parenting.com and Women & Co.

2012 Survey: We Spend $179 Per Child to go Back-to-School

back to school, costs, find tutor

As per a poll of 1,000 mothers, 60 percent state that clothes is going to probably be their largest expenditure this season, with 91 percent recognizing they spend more on their kids’ wardrobes to supply everything from day to day apparel to sportswear like sublimated basketball uniforms, compared to their own.   Normally, families intend to spend $131 on clothing and $48 on school supplies, per child, for a total of $179.

The analysis also revealed some other interesting tidbits:

Midwest mothers are thrifty: Mothers in the Middle of the nation–that had been the least inclined to consider these as bargain-hunters–were paradoxically those who were very likely to keep under budget by purchasing kids shoes online.   Moms in the Northeast, however, admitted they were most likely to get carried away and spend more than they need to.

How mothers save:  Over half (54%) of mothers create a back-to-school budget and have the intention of adhering to it, and can do so using many different techniques. Just under half of those surveyed consider themselves “bargain-hunters,” collecting coupons and actively looking for sales; just under 30% are “one-stop shoppers,” visiting only a few retailers to buy all their supplies to save themselves times and a fifth are “early birds,” shopping whenever the sales begin to receive the best selection and buy a pair of kids boots sturdy enough to last the school year.   But despite all their finest efforts to save, 1 in 4 moms still feel they get carried away with back-to-school shopping and buy more than they ought to. Of course, I should clarify this pool only analysed actual shopping and didn’t consider other back-to-school expenses such as online physics tutors, school fees and bus passes.

The most detested back-to-school chore isn’t shopping.  Over half of mothers claim that getting their children back on a reasonable schedule is the worst part of getting back-to-school ready. This was detested more than school registration, start of school events, clothes shopping and school supply shopping

But…. While this 2012 poll is interesting, what’s even more fascinating is the latest study by Deloitte which claims back-to-school expenses are now over $500 per child for 2017. Has there been an almost $320 increase in costs over the last half decade or are these two polls considering back to school expenses differently?

It is probably most likely the latter; however it is still interesting to consider both surveys together; as the Deloitte survey doesn’t consider psychological factors. Here’s my analysis:

Deloitte’s 2017  back-to-school expenses survey

basketball apparel, back to school expenses, back to school costs

2017’s back-to-school shopping season, though not as long as other years, will provide gains for shoppers and retailers.  While parents are spending about as much as Deloitte reported last year, there’s a noticeable shift in where parents are cashing in on sales.   The message to retailers is that it will be first in, best dressed.  Those who begin their sales earlier have typically also reported higher earnings.

Back to school shopping will total an estimated $27 billion this calendar year, according to Deloitte’s survey.  A mean of $501 per child will be spent by parents on clothing, supplies, electronic devices, and gadgets. But, parents who shop sooner likely will spend more.   The survey revealed 60 percent of Americans who shop at back-to-school sales before August will spend about $532.   That’s 16 percent higher than parents who wait until closer to the beginning of school –August or later — to do their shopping.  Parents who leave shopping until later only typically spend $458 per child.  71 percent of all back to school spending happens during an eight-week period from July through August.

If you are a parent that waits until the absolute last minute to complete your back to school shopping, you are not alone. There seems to be a trend of parents waiting closer to the school start date to arrange school related matters; whether it be shopping or starting the search to find a tutor for their child’s worst subjects.

Deloitte’s 2017 survey asked parents about their back to school shopping lists. Clothes and accessories are consuming more of the annual budget with families’ allocating 55% of their total spending in this area.   Parents will spend about $200 on clothing including basketball hoodies, shirts, shorts, pants, jackets, jumpers and casual shoes. Clothing for School uniforms and school approved shoes will end up costing parents 20% of their budget at $104. 14 percent of the total amount spent will go to computers and hardware.

In a victory for traditional retailers, a large proportion of parents – 57%– will physically buy back-to-school items. Most of those, will go for super-chains such as Target and Walmart.  21 percent of shoppers will select the ease of shopping online. Classic department stores will see less traffic this year.  Only 28 percent of shoppers say they’ll visit traditional department stores — down 54 percent from this past year.

There’s a big market of parents who are still unsure of where they will go to purchase back-to-school supplies.  It is calculated that ‘undecided’ shoppers provide $5.4 billion in back to school spending.  A strategy to entice a fifth of undecided shoppers could offer great returns for retailers

Vice chairman of Deloitte LLP, Rod Sides stated, “This segment is up for grabs but likely to go to retailers that draw the customer in early with promotions and digital experiences that make store visits even more attractive, like inventory visibility or buy online/pick up in store.”

Back to school is the second-biggest shopping season in the United States. It covers 53 million children in 29 million households. Deloitte conducted the survey of 1,200 parents who have at least one child in grades K-12.  The survey was conducted from May 31 to June 6.

Whilst Deloitte clearly has the better data it is still interesting to consider whether we are spending too much on getting out children back-to-school ready. While technology has obviously increased the costs, it is also interesting to see parents also seem to be spending more on clothing as well despite shopping at larger retail chains.

Personally, I believe we are spending too much, regardless of exactly how much we are spending.

Nine West to Say Goodbye to Brick and Mortar

Nine West to Say Goodbye to Brick and Mortar

Shoe company Nine West are getting ready to close their brick and mortar stores.

 

The seemingly everywhere shopping mall merchant that became a destination for stilettos, clogs and handbags has been decreasing it’s shopping centre presence as of late, and its brick and mortar shops may soon close across the board forever, in order to compete with online shoes stores.

The 40-year-old brand founded by the late designer Vince Camuto is facing retail extinction since the remaining 25 shops throughout the U.S. — down from about 227 a decade ago — seem to be on limited time.

 

That’s Since Nine West Holdings, owned by private equity company Sycamore Partners, is in an auction proceeding that could spur a liquidation of the stores, according to sources knowledgeable about the circumstance. The reasoning behind this is that the equity is gone and along with that the creditors are fed up, they would like to determine how to get their money back.  Licensing firms are currently being approached to ascertain their interest in the corporation’s brands, including Anne Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, L.E.I, Givenchy antiques and 14 others, which are sold in department stores and which have been hit hard by the shopping mall recession.

 

In New York City, the last full-price Nine West store, located at the Rockefeller Center, shut its doors for good at the end of May to continue selling its shoes online. In accordance with the bright-blue store front signs in the window, it is going to be replaced in the autumn by Warby Parker, the trendy eyewear retailer that is popular with Millennials. Although, Nine West was there a long time said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail for Douglas Elliman Real Estate, who stated that Nine West were currently not undertaking any more leases  of brick and mortar sites.

 

There are just two Nine West outlet shops in town — in the Bronx and in Brooklyn — as the company shifts its attention to e-commerce where the company will continue selling women’s shoes at an affordable price, according to individuals knowledgeable about the business’s plans.

 

The Sycamore Partners bought the Nine West company from Jones Apparel Group for $2.4 billion back in 2014, it acquired 34 brands, some of which it subsequently sold off, including Easy Spirit this year.

 

The investment company, led by buyout mogul Stefan Kaluzny, last month jumped at a $6.9 billion deal to purchase Staples, but sources say it’s very likely to drop the workplace merchant’s stores while focusing on its wholesale operations.

 

Nine West was such a powerhouse in its own day said Gabriella Santaniello of A Line Partners, a retail consultancy. She along with other retail experts say that the chain recently has been pummelled by rivalry with Steve Madden, Amazon’s online shoe giant Zappos and a new production of fast-fashion retailers selling women’s shoes online.

 

At its elevation in 2006, Jones Apparel owned and operated 796 shops, with Nine West accounting for the largest chunk of its retail business. In 2007, Nine West brands accounted for 10.4 percent of the women’s footwear market, its chief executive at the moment, Andrew Cohen, told police throughout a hearing from the Federal Trade Commission on competitive issues between resellers the company was facing.

How To Get The Most From Summer Clearance Sales

How To Get The Most From Summer Clearance Sales

As summer comes to an end, you can snag some really good bargains online. If you know where to look and what to look for, you will find yourself saving money and wondering why you haven’t been doing this for years!

What’s on sale right now?

Most of the things you’d use in the summer are on sale right now including swimming pools, pool supplies, bathing suits, summer clothes, women’s sandals, outdoor entertaining items(picnic items, gazebos,etc.,) outdoor toys, and bikes.

Why buy now?

Buy now for either next year or gifts for the holiday for tremendous savings. If you can find shorts for your kids at 75% off, buy up a size for next year and you’ll have 75% savings on their summer wardrobe next year. Does Santa like to bring new bikes for Christmas? Check out Target, Toys R Us and some of the other outdoor stores online for deals on bikes and outdoor riding toys that you can stash away for the holidays. If you have space, pool accessories will certainly keep until next summer in storage as would summer entertaining items. You can probably get a fabulous deal on outdoor furniture right now!

What NOT to do.

Don’t buy just because it’s cheap. Only buy it if you really need it or will use it because what good does it do you if you wind up selling or giving away what you bought next year? The exception to this would be if you’re buying to resell the items! I know a lot of people who shop off season for things like this and sell them on eBay. You can make a lot of money selling hard to find bathing suits or shorts on eBay during the winter when families might take trips to warmer climates but can’t find suitable clothes! I know I once sold a pair of snow pants I only paid $10 for almost $30 on eBay just because they were in demand!

What TO do.

If you do buy clothes ahead of time, leave the tags on them. In case you misjudge sizes, you’ll be able to sell them on eBay or to a consignment shop. If the tags are still attached, the item is likely to bring you more money!

Enjoy the sales. 75%, 80% or even 90% off deals can be a real rush! Don’t forget to look for coupons for additional online savings.

Make sure to store your items where you won’t forget them. (As someone who is notorious for this, it’s my best tip!) You might want to get a large plastic container and label it “Summer Clearance” to hold all your loot. If it doesn’t fit in the container, then make a list of other things you’ve bought and tape your list to the inside of the box!

Watch for over-inflated prices which lead to over-inflated discounts. If something is supposedly 75% off but is only worth what the selling price is to start with, it isn’t a deal.

If you do all these things, you’ll be prepared come next summer with bathing suits, pool toys, and bubbles galore! You’ll be glad you thought ahead and I bet by then, you’ll have the hang of things and will already have a box of winter clearance waiting for the snow to fly!