2017 BOOKS


Are you buying or leasing your pet? (Not joking.)

by Lisa Lake

Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

This is a new one on me — maybe you, too. Pet leasing: apparently, it’s a thing. And there are many people who paid money not knowing they were actually renting their new pets instead of owning them. Here’s how that happens.

Since pets can be expensive — even a few thousand dollars — some pet stores offer financing plans. You sign an agreement to make payments toward ownership — or so you think. You may unintentionally sign up to make costly, extended lease-to-own payments that add up to about twice the list price of the pet. As you’re paying over what could be years, the company still owns your pet. When the lease is up, you may have to pay additional costs to actually own it.

If by some tragedy the animal gets lost, stolen or killed, you could still be on the hook for the payments. You might not get a refund – or might still have to make more payments to get out of the contract. And, if you miss a payment, the company has the right to take away your pet — which can be stressful for you, your family and your pet.

So, whether it’s pooches or parrots, understand what you’re actually paying for before you sign anything. If a retailer doesn’t make the terms of an agreement clear to you or misrepresents the terms of the agreement, they could be breaking the law — especially if the retailer runs ads leading you to believe one thing but sells you another. Also, learn more about how buying plans work, including understanding the terms of your purchase agreement. And let the FTC know if you were taken in by purchase agreement terms that were unclear or undisclosed.

4 Cheap Painting Projects For The Fall

By Zachary Ashworth 

Are you feeling the itch to give your home a facelift on the inside? I mean, the seasons are changing and we will soon be spending more time indoors than we will outdoors. So why not take a little time right now to give the inside of your house a facelift. The only problem with fall time is that we are usually saving for the Christmas season and are all in penny-pinching mode. We don't want you to break the bank to spruce up your home, so we will be sharing some cheap, easy DIY projects for this fall.

Painting is a super simple, easy way to add color and to give old furniture or decor items a facelift. Now I know that many of you may be saying, "Well I just don't know how to paint well." Don't worry we will be creating a post here soon on tips to paint anything. For now, just remember that a little tape and some paint can go a long way. So get comfortable while I explain the four easy DIY paint projects to give your home new life.

The first easy project is to paint all your old picture frames. This is fast and easy with some spray paint and newspaper. This can and will give your old picture frames new light and life. You can paint them to really add contrast or to complement your current décor styles. If you like more of a rustic look you can even sand some the paint off to give it a worn, reclaimed look.

If you still have some money, or just don't want to paint your picture frames. Grab some paint and paint the ceiling in your kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom to add depth and color to otherwise bland, one color rooms. Painting the ceiling can help with light distribution, especially if the walls are darker than the ceiling. This can also be a way to add a splash of color to a room.

Maybe you have a worn floor that you would love to replace but can't afford to right now. An easy fix is to paint it. Put some tape down and grab a fun color and start painting. You can make designs on the floor by putting the tape in a checker design or maybe you just want a simple white or brown. It's all up to you. It's your house and your style.

The last thing you could do is paint the upper cabinets in your kitchen. It will add a nice contrast between the bottom cabinets and the top cabinets. It will also add some color to your kitchen. The best part is that it doesn't take as long because you won't need to move appliances and it will take half the time because there are always less upper cabinets than lower cabinets.

All of these can easily be done over the weekend and then you can enjoy your new facelift. Have fun while sprucing up your house and adding color and style. Your home is your domain and it should reflect who you are. Have fun painting!

Zach Ashworth has always had a passion for home decor and furniture. He helps run an online home decor, accents, and furniture store at
. Browse now for furniture ideas!

The Holiday Shopping Season Starts Now! Amazon Opens its Black Friday Deals Store Kicking Off More than 50 Days of Holiday Deals

Customers will find better deals than ever before on the hottest gifts in toys, electronics, home goods and more, the best in holiday entertaining essentials including kitchen items and decor, and even wardrobe must haves

All Amazon customers can choose from more than one hundred million items that are eligible for free shipping this holiday

Starting on November 8, Prime members will also have access to Amazon Key, the new service that will allow eligible packages to be securely delivered inside their homes without having to be there

Customers can shop when they want, where they want with the Amazon App, which now includes a brand new augmented reality feature, AR view, for customers to see how thousands of items look in their space before they buy

For customers in need of gifting inspiration, Amazon's 2017 Holiday Gift Guides - including the new Business Gift Guide by Amazon Business, the Amazon Handmade Gift Shop, and Gift Finder offer suggestions for all holiday shopping needs

Customers can shop thousands of holiday deals from small businesses and entrepreneurs around the globe

Amazon announced the opening of its Black Friday Deals Store, officially marking the start of the holiday shopping season. The Black Friday Deals Store, available at www.amazon.com/blackfriday, offers deals across every category now through Black Friday. Customers can find deals on everything from toys and electronics to holiday entertaining essentials and wardrobe must haves - all in one convenient location. Today, customers can save up to 30% on favorite toys including Baby Alive Sweet Tears, Dropmix, Tickle Me Elmo and more. This holiday season, customers can also expect great deals on premium TVs from brands like LG, Samsung and Sony, as well as popular toys from LEGO, Melissa & Doug, Nerf, Paw Patrol, Star Wars and more.

"We're excited to officially kickoff another holiday season, bringing customers better deals than ever before on everything they'll need - from electronics and toys to clothing, home essentials and more," said Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of North American Retail at Amazon. "Customers shop Amazon year-round for our great prices, unbelievable selection, and free shipping on over 100 million products. During the holiday season, customers love to discover great deals and must-have holiday gifts for friends and family. Some of the most popular starting points for holiday shoppers are our Black Friday Deals Store, Amazon's curated Home and Electronics Gift Guides, the Holiday Toy List, the newly redesigned Gift Finder, our Handmade Gift Shop, and Interesting Finds."

More Ways to Shop than Ever Before




Voice Shopping: Customers can voice shop with Alexa for tens of millions of Prime-eligible items, including many of the products available in the Black Friday Deals Store and featured in the 2017 Holiday Gift Guides. Available on the Alexa family of devices including Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Amazon Dash Wand, as well as screened devices such as the all-new Amazon Fire TV, all-new Fire HD 10 Tablet, Echo Show and soon to be released Echo Spot, it's as simple as saying, "Alexa, order [product]" and Alexa will find a top-rated product that ships with Prime. Just say, "yes" to buy it. Changed your mind? No problem, any physical product purchased with your voice is eligible for free returns. Customers must be Prime members with default payment and shipping information.


Amazon App: The Amazon App is designed to make your holiday shopping fast and easy. In fact, last holiday season, more than 70% of Amazon customers worldwide shopped using a mobile device. Customers can find where their holiday packages are in seconds, use camera search to quickly and easily find the items they want by pointing at an item or barcode, and never miss a deal by setting Watch-a-Deal alerts. Customers can also search and reorder with Alexa. Once Amazon boxes begin to arrive, customers can use the Amazon App's Package X-Ray feature to scan the barcode and see what's inside, allowing them to wrap gifts without ever opening the box or spoiling the surprise.


AR view: Amazon's latest augmented reality offering within the Amazon App launched today for customers with iOS 11 installed on their iPhone 6S or later. Using Apple's ARKit, AR view helps customers make better shopping decisions by allowing them to visualize the aesthetic and fit of products in their own living space. Customers simply open the Amazon App, click on the camera icon and choose AR view. They can then select from thousands of items - from living room, bedroom, kitchen and home office products to electronics, toys and games, home décor and more. Whether customers are buying a sofa or a kitchen appliance, they can overlay it onto their existing living space, move it and rotate it to get a full 360-degree peek in a live camera view to make sure it fits their style and aesthetic.


Amazon.com in Spanish: Since adding the option for customers to set their language preference earlier this year, millions of customers have chosen Spanish as their preferred language to shop on Amazon.com and in the Amazon App. Customers can shop, browse and search for millions of products, view their shopping cart, and place orders in Spanish. Customers can update their language settings in their Amazon App, as well as visit Amazon.com and click the 'globe' button - located in the navigation bar at the top of their Amazon home screen - to set and begin shopping in their preferred language. Preferred language settings will be saved for future site visits under 'Your account' settings.


Treasure Truck: Now available in 25 select cities, Treasure Truck is a new way for customers to shop this holiday season. Customers can opt-in to receive notifications from the Amazon App for special must-have offers from Treasure Truck, order the item, and pick-up at the truck all season long. Each time the truck rolls, one hand-picked offer will be available including gifts for the adventurer, foodie, hostess, kids and techie, as well as delicious seasonal food items, and more. Look for the truck at various locations this holiday season.


Amazon Books: Now open in Seattle, New York City (on 34th St and at Columbus Circle), Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston (Dedham and Lynnfield), San Diego, San Jose, Portland, Bellevue (Wash.) and Paramus (N.J.), Amazon Books integrates the benefits of offline and online shopping to help customers find books and devices that they'll love. Whether customers want to discover a new book for the holidays or test-drive an Amazon device, Amazon Books offers gifts for everyone. Browse in-store deals and holiday features like Most-Wished-For-Gifts, Hidden Gem Gifts, the Holiday Toy List and customer favorites like Page Turners: Books Kindle Readers Finish in 3 Days or Less, Local Bestsellers, 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.

Shop with Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs
Half of the items sold on Amazon worldwide are from small businesses and entrepreneurs, many of which will be offering deals on their products throughout the holiday season. Some of the small businesses and entrepreneurs offering deals include Sleepyheads, Furbo, Lightaccents, Owlee and TigerSecu.

Inspired Gifting for Everyone on Your List





-Curated Gift Guides: Thoughtfully curated and inspired by Amazon product experts and influencers, Amazon's 2017 Holiday Toy List, Electronics Gift Guide and Home Gift Guide take the guesswork out of gifting and offer customers quick and easy access to the top gifts for everyone on their list.

-Customers can browse more than a thousand of the most sought-after products for kids of all ages and interests on the 2017 Amazon Holiday Toy List, available at amazon.com/holidaytoylist.

-Those who want to shop more than 500 of the season's hottest technology products, from TVs to gaming systems, can do so while shopping the 2017 Amazon Electronics Gift Guide, available at amazon.com/electronicsgiftguide.

-And customers can browse the 2017 Amazon Home Gift Guide, available at amazon.com/homegiftguide for more than a thousand products for inside and outside the home.

New this year, the 2017 Business Gift Guide by Amazon Business is a curated list of more than 200 items designed to make holiday gifting easier for office employees, company clients and colleagues. Available at amazon.com/businessgiftguide, Amazon.com and Amazon Business customers can shop from numerous categories, including Electronics, Grocery, Entertainment, Audio & Accessories, and more. Shoppers can also discover white elephant gift exchange and budget-friendly gift ideas in the Business Gift Guide.

Handmade Gift Shop: Support small businesses and entrepreneurs this holiday by shopping Amazon Handmade where all products are handcrafted by local Artisans from around the world. New this year, the Amazon Handmade Gift Shop, available at amazon.com/handmadegiftshop, allows customers to shop handcrafted products for every occasion.


Gift Finder: For those in need of additional inspiration, the redesigned Gift Finder helps identify gift ideas when a customer doesn't have a particular idea in mind. Gift Finder, available at amazon.com/giftfinder, offers a diverse collection of unique, but universally appealing gift ideas across categories. Shop gifts for men, women, teens, kids, toddlers, babies, pets or holiday fun.


Amazon Lists: Customers can find and shop friends and family's Wish Lists at www.amazon.com/yourfriends to give them what they really want this holiday. To customize your own list, click 'Add to List' from any product detail page or go to www.amazon.com/yourlists to add multiple items in one convenient location. To save a gift idea in the Amazon App, customers can simply press down on any product image to fling it to the bottom of their screen.


Interesting Finds: Interesting Finds, available at amazon.com/stream, is an endless stream of beautiful products that inspires customers daily. There are a number of categories that customers can scroll through including "holiday toy list," "gadgets," "workspace" and even quirky customer-curated collections of products like "Nautical or Nice," "Talk Nerdy To Me," "Dog Gone Cute Dresses," "Rock Your Socks Off" and "Happy Glamping." Customers can 'heart' products they love and we'll get better at showing them more items like those. Customers can access Interesting Finds via the banner above the search bar on Amazon.com and in the 'Programs and Features' section of the Amazon App.

Free Shipping + Convenient Delivery
All Amazon customers can choose from more than one hundred million items that are eligible for free shipping this holiday and all year long. This includes eligible orders of $25 or more shipped by Amazon, as well as free shipping offers from the millions of small business and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon. For customers who prefer to pick up their packages when it's convenient for them, Amazon Locker is a safe and secure way to receive Amazon packages. Available in more than 50 cities across the U.S., Amazon Lockers are strategically located near offices, major convenience stores, grocery stores, apartment buildings and malls across the country. To learn more about Amazon Locker, visit amazon.com/locker or to find the nearest Locker visit amazon.com/findalocker.

Fast Shipping, Deals and More with Prime
Prime is designed to make your life better every day including the convenience of fast, free shipping and great entertainment. Prime members can shop thousands of Lightning Deals with 30-minute early access and, with the Amazon Prime credit card, members will earn even bigger rewards this holiday season. Members can also enjoy Free Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime, as well as Prime FREE One-Day Shipping and Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery on more than one million items in orders of $35 or more available to members in over 5,000 cities and towns. And, with Prime Now, Prime Members in more than 30 U.S. cities can benefit from one-and-two hour delivery. In addition, starting on November 8, Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S. will have access to Amazon Key, the new service that radically improves the convenience of receiving deliveries. Amazon Key will allow Prime members to have eligible packages securely delivered inside their homes without having to be there.

Make-Over Mistakes That Downgrade Your Bathroom

By Jennifer Krawczyk 

Are you renovating your bathroom? Are you thinking of replacing your existing bathroom? Please do not make the awful mistakes some people have. Simple mistakes can lead to disaster.

Bathrooms and kitchens are rooms that are used by many people in the home and should be designed for function first, and style, second. Essentially, you should decorate a bathroom in a classic and neutral way, to keep it from dating, and to preserve the appeal, of your bathroom, for resale purposes.

1. Never Buy Cheap Fittings!

You've splurged on tiles, and a good quality bath, and now your budget is depleted, so, you opt for the more budget-friendly taps. Never do this. As a rule of thumb, you should over-budget by as much as 20% for a bathroom. It's small room, but, highly functional, and in the long run, spending more, will pay you off tenfold.

When you look at reselling your home, you will deeply regret the cheaper fittings. Cheaper fittings will not last as long as more expensive, ones, either - invest in your fittings, and swap out the fancy flooring, for something that is a little less costly. It will pay you off, in the long term, to do this.

2. Is Your Toilet Squashed Into An Unsuitable Space- In between the shower and a wall?

Function. Function. Function. You are going to spend a proverbial penny, quite often, and your bathroom ergonomics are very important. Ease of use, and the placement of your shower, bath, sink, toilet, and bidet, in relation to each other - is extremely significant.

A bathroom is a small room that must function at a high level, and if you do not have enough space - it can be a disaster. Imagine how uncomfortable you are going to be, trying to squeeze yourself into a tiny space, to spend your pennies. Never compromise space, for style, or extra storage, when it comes to the essential function of a bathroom.

3. Do You Have Sufficient Storage Space?

While you should never pack in extra storage, at the expense of the utility function of a bathroom, storage is actually one of the most commonly overlooked areas of many bathroom designs. It is a good idea to use wall space, or to use a vanity sink, and have cupboards, too, if there is room.

It is important to consider using unusual areas, too, for shelving, such as the corners, of a room. You can easily turn a corner into a storage space, by adding in a few shelves. A mirrored cupboard is a great way to combine form and function.

4. Do You Have A Bathroom Window?

A bathroom is filled with moisture, and you need good ventilation. Do you have a bathroom window? If you do not, you need to install a ventilation fan. Moisture can lead to mold which is not only unsanitary, but can create algae, and be a health issue - it's not good to breathe mold spores, and black algae is unsafe, and can trigger allergies.

A window can provide natural light, for your bathroom, but should be glazed, to ensure your privacy. Curtains, or blinds, are also a good idea.

5. 'Modern' or Classic

If you are revamping or building a new bathroom, be sure to choose neutral colors and a classic design. While some styles look trendy and modern, now, in a decade or two - they can date, and look rather vintage.

For example, glass sinks were a trend at one time, and they can look very stylish - however - in time, they will date, and perhaps, look a little tired. What looks like a modern feature, now, may look stale in a relatively short time.

Bathrooms can be accessorized with modern touches, but, classic features are generally a safer option. It would be a wise move to move away from the bold yellow pallet you like and simply switch to bold sunflower yellow towels. Leave the walls alone.

Bathroom Design

Your bathroom is a room that has a very practical purpose, and, while you may be tempted to decorate, and style, your bathroom to match modern trends, it isn't always good long term idea. Make sure that your fittings are the best quality that you can afford, and, consider rather sticking to a neutral palette.

Consider creating unique storage areas, and remember that your shower, bath, and loo, need to be comfortable, and easy to use. Your budget needs to be about 20% higher, than what you might have planned for. Investing in your bathroom will pay your off ten-fold in the future.

Why Are Some Older Women Homeless?

By Norma Holt 

It seems that many older women are now homeless making up a large percentage of street dwellers. One has to ask why? The answer, however, is rather obvious. In Australia women are discriminated against and are often prevented from the same opportunities of men. When a divorce occurs it is often the woman who ends up homeless. Men who manipulate the system are able to secure a better future for themselves than women can.

It came as a shock this week to learn that a cyber friends of some 12 years is living in a make shift tent on the streets in the USA. It brought tears to my eyes to know that she was the victim of a cruel act on the part of her ex husband prior to their divorce some three years ago. He saw the family home disposed of so as to prevent her having it after the event.

Men are capable of some foul acts when it comes to separating when things go wrong. They may be the last to know how bad their marriage has become and it is something they can't handle when it finally breaks apart.

Many women can speak from experience when it comes to feeling the retribution of such a man. It appears that many will go to extraordinary lengths to pay-back their mate after a court battle. Disposing of the home to get even is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to how far they will go. Perhaps this is why many women quit without a settlement.

In recent times we have witnessed some horrendous deeds carried out on the children by their fathers. Throwing a little girl over a bridge to crash on the rocks below is one of them and bashing another over the head with a cricket bat in front of his mother and a large audience is unforgettable.

Is it any wonder that women leave and opt to sleep on the streets rather than face the consequences of a violent man? As they age and work becomes unavailable they are more vulnerable than ever. Not all women who end up on the streets have left voluntarily as many have been forced to do so for other reasons.

Gambling, alcoholism, and drugs also contribute to the problem. That doesn't mean that all homeless women suffer from these things but the chances are they may take them up to escape their predicaments.

Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Politics, health, social and behavioral problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.


How Do I Make My Asphalt Look Better?

By Sarahbeth Kluzinski

Your asphalt pavement is important to you. It was a significant investment intended to increase property value, safety, and curb appeal. So it is no surprise that you are interested in learning ways to enhance the appearance so that it looks the way it did the day it was installed. Whether you have an asphalt drive way or parking lot, the options for making it look better remain fairly the same. Continue reading to learn how you can make your asphalt pavement look like new again.

Asphalt Overlays

If your paved surface is old and faded, an overlay is a great investment. As long as the existing pavement is in good structural condition, a new layer of asphalt can be poured directly over it, rendering a fresh, brand-new paved surface. Not only are overlays efficient and cost-effective, they are long-lasting. If your paved surface is not structurally sound, you can get the same results by removing the old pavement and repaving the entire surface with new asphalt. These two options are the most invasive and significant investments, but they are worth the overall value you receive long-term.

Do-It-Yourself Tips

If you are not interesting in a pavement renovation, you can still benefit by implementing some do-it-yourself strategies to keep your lot or drive looking great. First, routine debris removal is important. This involves picking up trash and litter on a daily basis. It also involves prompt leaf and snow removal every season. Not only does this prevent unsightly stains, corrosion, and hazards, it makes the lot look clean and fresh. If you have a large lot or complex, it is wise to invest in a street sweeping machine to make this chore more efficient.

Preventative Maintenance and Repairs

Whether you choose to overlay your existing pavement, remove and repave your asphalt, or implement DIY strategies, preventative maintenance and fixing minor damages is a must. Catching small problems early on can save you money and maintain strong pavement. This includes crack filling, pothole repair, line striping and painting, grade repairs, drainage adjustments, and more. You must always be maintaining your paved surfaces, regardless of condition or square footage.


Every paved asphalt surface should have a protective coating. Asphalt needs to be seal coated every 3 to 5 years, especially in regions that are hot and dry most of the year. This thin, clear protective layer shields harmful sunrays, which prevents it from prematurely fading, cracking, and more. It also creates a waterproof barrier that prevents corrosion, crumbling, heaving, and more.

Call ACI Asphalt and Concrete Inc. at 317-549-1833 for professional asphalt repair and sealcoat service in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are licensed, bonded, and insured pavers with decades of experience. Request a free estimate, today.

Alzheimer's Preparedness - Ready or Not? Chapter 2 - Is There an Elephant in Your Room?

By Nancy Brain

We may have something lurking in our living room that we have to walk around or crawl over. Something so big that it can't be ignored, but yet we try and try just hoping one day it will get up and leave. We even climb in our boat and float down the river of De-Nile thinking that the more distance we can put between ourselves and that unsettling situation that it will simply just disappear. While on our boat we also play the game of "Hear No Alzheimer's - See No Alzheimer's - Speak No Alzheimer's - consequently NO ALZHEIMER'S!"

Facts do not cease to exist simply because we choose to ignore them, so the first order of business is to give our elephant a name - and that name is Alzheimer's disease.

By giving it a name, it will enable acknowledgement, and acceptance which will allow the process of understanding and education to begin. We need to face our fears in order to better understand our options. We also need to start learning and stop trying to make sense out of the senselessness that is Alzheimer's.

Yes, it is scary because we will be facing and dealing with situations that we have never come across before. It will take courage and patience, but as John Wayne once said - "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." We have to "saddle up" and face our fears in order to understand our options.

This is also where knowledge enters the picture. Knowledge is power - it can increase understanding, create interest, sharpen our coping skills and show us an easier, less stressful way to handle difficult situations. How many times have we done things the hardest way, not because we wanted to, but because we hadn't yet learned an easier way to do them?

But, too much knowledge too soon for newcomers to Alzheimer's can be like trying to wade through quicksand. There is so much information to try to absorb and when we are faced with a challenge we try to learn all we can about it. It is only normal that we should want to explore all of the options.

That is what is different about Alzheimer's. We can learn everything and a lot of it will be no help at all because each and every Alzheimer's situation, solution and in fact each person walking with Alzheimer's will be different. They will react to solutions differently so that what may work in my situation may not have any type of effect in yours.

We also try to hide the elephant in the room from everyone around us because it is only natural to want to spare those close to us from the burden of the elephant. The problem with that is that they have already been aware of the elephant, and even in most cases suspect the situation before we do. When we try to spare those who care, in essence we are telling them that we don't think they are important enough to walk on this journey with us. This may push our loved ones away when they want to help and comfort us. Once this happens, it will be difficult on both sides to regain that closeness.

Let others in - let others share - let others help. Think about what you would do if the tables were turned. Wouldn't you want to strengthen and support those you love during a difficult time? Share the care.

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