Great Italian restaurants on River Walk in San Antonio

San Antonio is a metropolitan area where you can find any kind of dining or entertainment your heart desires. But when most people think ‘Texas,’ they aren’t thinking ‘Italian.’ That’s a shame because there are some amazing Italian eateries along San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk that have made names for themselves serving authentic Italian dishes in many different atmospheres.

Read moreGreat Italian restaurants on River Walk in San Antonio

How to prevent back pain while gaming for long periods

Video gaming used to be a thing for nerds – if you played video games ten years ago, you probably had a fondness for computers and similar devices. Twenty years back? It’s a safe bet you were involved in some sort of programming and electronics repairs while others were thinking their color TV is hi-tech.

How to prevent back pain while gaming

These days, though, gaming is pretty much for everyone. If you watch TV, you might have seen that Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards character – a fairly old-fashioned congressman – enjoys playing violent video games nearly every night, much to his wife’s chagrin.

Sadly, gaming isn’t all fun and games – fingers point to it as one of the leading causes of poor posture and back pain. If you’re a gamer, being hunched over is probably just as natural to you as staying upright – games make you ‘lean in’ with their action and then make you forget your upper body is meant to fight gravity in order to stay healthy.

Still, there are ways to prevent back pain and deal with it when it starts becoming a problem after those long gaming sessions.

  • Have an alarm clock that will urge you to stretch every half an hour. Yes, pausing a game can be harder than staying on a diet, and it’s even worse if you’re online and have to ‘take a death’ to get up from the chair. But you’ll be grateful you did so a few years from now, especially if you’re a a hardcore gamer. More than just stretching your spine and your whole skeletal system, getting up and doing some yoga will also remind you that you’re supposed to stay upright – you’ll posture a fair bit less during the next half-hour.
  • Schedule mandatory breaks no matter how intense the action gets. Adding to the point above, you won’t want to game for more than 3-4 hours even if you’re throwing some stretching in there. Make a rule while gaming: after four hours have passed from the moment you logged on, go and do something else in a different position for at least half an hour, preferably more.
  • Invest in a better chair. You can’t avoid sitting down while gaming – what you can do is get a more comfortable chair that will make those sessions more bearable. Chairs can cost anywhere from $10-$20 to thousands of dollars, and the difference in comfort is clearly noticeable. While you don’t have to go and get an Aeron, you should still aim for a chair that fits your body well and promotes good posture.
  • Visit a chiropractor. This will fill the role of both prevention and cure: regular treatments by a chiropractor will make it easier for your body to remain upright and will make you less susceptible to posturing. On the other hand, if damage is already done, a chiropractor will help ‘reset’ your skeletal system back to its original intended state. If you’re an avid gamer, you’re probably guaranteed to have some amount of back pain – chiropractic treatments are one of the safest and most effective ways of alleviating it or even getting rid of it completely.

How to keep your home smelling fresh

Like it or not, every home has its own smell. While visiting the homes of your friends, you’ve no doubt caught a whiff of their living environments. Some might have been smelling fresh, making you want to stay around for longer, while others might have made you look at the clock while trying to think of an excuse to cut the visit short.

If your friends have smelly houses or apartments, don’t hold it against them – living indoors for a prolonged amount of time is sure to leave its mark on an interior. You can’t stop your home from smelling a certain way, but you can absolutely make sure that the smell is a pleasant one. A nice scent has a very positive effect on a person and can drastically improve their mood, just like a not-so-pleasant odor can achieve the opposite.

Knowing the odors you’re dealing with – keep your home smelling fresh

The longer we find ourselves in a particular setting, the more we grow used to it and even accept it – odors are no exception. Oftentimes, people might think their homes, pets or even their own armpits have a neutral smell – that is, until others assure them that this is not the case. You always want to keep your home smelling fresh for your guests.

So, have a few people over and ask them to give you an honest opinion of what your home smells like. This should give you a good idea of the task at hand. Those of us living alone might get away with simply needing better and more practical air filtering. If you don’t have a filter, be sure to install one and clean it regularly as it doesn’t just make your home smell better – it also clears the air from an array of unwanted visitors that can rough up your respiratory system.

Pets or even kids (young ones, in particular) can complicate things. Due to the high frequency of odor-creating activities, you’ll have no choice but to perfume the loft. That’s just a figure of speech – whatever you use as a deodorizer should not be intrusive and should be as eco-friendly as possible.

Cleaning the place up – professional carpet cleaners

home smelling fresh professional carpet cleaners

Don’t put all the blame on pets and kids, though – you have a responsibility to keep your entire home clean year-round, and failure to do so will result in ugly and persistent odors. For example, unclean carpets are often responsible for some bad odors on top of posing a host of health risks. If you have rugs in your home, adopt a cleaning schedule, but also have professional carpet cleaners do the job every now and then – their methods are much more effective and they also add a nice deodorizer to the fabric afterwards.

Before you call the cleaners, however, make sure that both their cleaning solutions and their deodorizers are eco-friendly. It won’t just help the environment – it will also help your health.

Aside from rugs, other fabrics like upholstery and even window curtains are also at risk of attracting bad smells – the same goes for poorly ventilated areas like basements. You might not think it, but as little as one smelly closet can stink up an entire home, so make a point of being thorough in your efforts to keep everything clean and ventilated.


How to organize your closet

You can probably gauge a person’s tidiness by taking a peek inside their closet. The messes inside them can range from poorly grouped clothes to everything being thrown on a big heap (some people actually do this). A well-organized closet won’t just make you feel better about yourself – it might also improve your style by letting you notice clothes you might not even realize you own.

The limitations of humans – organize your closet

Obviously, what you can do with your closet depends on its type. A large closet will give you a lot more options – you’ll be able to group clothes and footwear together much better and you’ll also have more storage room. But not everyone can afford to have a large and menacing closet, most often due to a lack of room. Don’t worry, though – with the right vision, a smaller piece of furniture will cover your needs just fine.

Boards are often the life of the closet – a lot of people like to minimize the amount of cloth hangers they use as they find them cumbersome to deal with. Placing your clothes on a board is easier and more economical, but not every closet has as many of them as you’d like.

If your closet doesn’t have enough boards to go around, you can try purchasing additional ones or even making them yourself, but your options might be limited and you’ll eventually have to make do with what you have (unless you’re purchasing a new closet, that is).

Regardless of how many hangers and boards you’re using, you’ll have to organize your clothes in an appealing and easily-accessible way. For easy reference, group clothes together based on layers. Jackets and coats, T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, pants and shorts – each group should have its permanent place in the closet. You can get away with bunching together accessories like underwear or socks, but be careful lest you end up with the aforementioned pile.

Keeping the closet clean – an oft-neglected duty

So, you have your closet organized how you like it and aren’t ashamed to open it when your friends come over. That’s a good start, but you’ll also have to keep the closet’s conditions in mind. Most closets are completely closed for aesthetic reasons as well as to protect the fabrics from pets and similar intruders, but this acts as a double-edged sword – closets are notorious for their ability to attract mold.

Mold is an unwanted addition to anyone’s home and can be difficult to completely get rid of once it settles in. This means that, aside from cleaning the surfaces of your closet regularly, you’ll also have to keep the room ventilated and be mindful of moisture. If you can’t seem to keep the inside of your closet from attracting mold, you might have to consider doing away with the doors – it won’t look as pretty, but it beats having moldy clothes. You can also replace the closet’s doors with a sliding curtain, as it can be a decent compromise between good looks and proper ventilation.

How to create a relaxing outdoor environment

Interior decor gets all the hype and attention. It’s not hard to understand why – everyone wants a nice-looking home (or workplace), which is why many people are able to make a living from designing indoors alone.

Yet creating a relaxing outdoor environment can be much more challenging, and can leave even an experienced interior decorator scratching his or her head. The amount of options alone can be overwhelming: should you add lights? Should you add a patio? Do you need some type of cover? The list is seemingly infinite, and it helps to have a plan before setting things in motion.

Decorating the outdoors based on what you need

On top of increasing the value of your property, creating a nice outdoors area will add a new dimension to your home and its surrounding area. Start by trying to narrow down what you might be using the spot for. Yard hangouts can range from a couple of friends sitting at a table and playing cards to large barbecues and even parties with dozens of people. If you don’t want or intend to bring too many people over, there’s no reason to turn your yard into an outdoor wedding place.

The next part is the least fun, but perhaps the most important of them all: budget. Every effort to create something is met with budget constraints, even if you’re Donald Trump. The cost of doing things like making a patio from quality stone (especially a covered one) or installing outdoors lighting can pile up in a menacing way, so be realistic when considering your means.

Before you can put the design in motion, think about the specific location for your outdoors lounge. Lots of people go for the backyard as they prefer a bit of privacy, but this can also lead to feeling a bit isolated. If you live in a nice neighborhood, you might find that hanging out in the front yard is much more pleasing than being out back.

Optional additions for more elaborate outdoor lounges

A table with chairs and perhaps a bench are all good to have, but let’s face it – when you read the words ‘relaxing outdoor environment’, you probably thought of a fountain. Indeed, few things make a better addition to one’s yard than a beautiful fountain that stimulates the eyes and ears. Unfortunately, these things aren’t just pricey to purchase, but also require a power supply in order to keep the water running. Since most fountains in the surrounding areas of a home pump water 24/7 (at least during the warmer months), there’s also the issue of racking up your electricity bill.

Another thing many like to add when creating an outdoors lounge are speakers. Of course, with all the traffic and commotion outside, you’ll have to make sure they’re a bit strong, right? Well, if neighbors complain about music surrounded by thick walls, they won’t be too happy about noise right under their window, so keep moderation in mind.

There are plenty of other additions you can make based on what you like, but don’t forget: your outdoor environment will probably be seen by dozens or even hundreds of people every day, so keep it classy.

How to set up a home office

If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you have every reason to consider yourself lucky. You don’t have to interact with a bunch of co-workers you might not like, you don’t have to make a potentially-stressful commute most days of the week, and you get to enjoy the comfort of your own home during work hours.

Yet for all it’s made out to be, working from home does not come without its caveats. Even the hardest workers can struggle with discipline and productivity when moving their office into their home. Where’s the harm in checking what’s on TV? You can always finish that paperwork later.

Having a purposeful home office will help put you in the working mindset and motivate you to get better results. You don’t need to spend a lot to have a slick-looking workplace-at-home. In fact, spending less might actually be advisable…

The necessities of a home office

The issue with spending a lot on your home office can be summed up in one word: distractions. The more ‘bling’ your office has, the likelier it is to draw your attention away from the things you’re supposed to be focusing on.

The basics of any office (and sometimes the only things inside it) are a table and a chair. Unless you’re a psychiatrist – in which case you might want to be focusing on the couch in the room – your desk is where you’ll do the bulk of your work. It should be sturdy and geared towards your specific profession. This is one instance where you can safely go overboard – having a nice desk will probably make you feel more professional and will also fill you with a sense of pride whenever you have clients or colleagues over.

The chair is another part of the home office that should be picked out with care. Depending on your habits, you’ll be sitting in this chair anywhere from a couple to 10+ hours every day, so it has to be comfortable and ergonomical. Sitting doesn’t do your back any favors, and prolonged and regular sitting threatens to turn you into a hunchback by the time you’re 40. Expensive office chairs like the Aeron aren’t just meant to act as a status symbol – they were designed to help your back deal with the stress of leaning over constantly.

Also, make sure that the lighting in the office suits you well – not too bright and not too dim. Pick a room with large-enough windows, and don’t hesitate to place a lamp on your desk for nighttime dealings.

Optional home office items – adding a personal touch

While you shouldn’t add a lot of objects that aren’t directly associated with your work, it doesn’t mean the office space should be bland. A nice closet or cupboard can complement the room, as can some paintings or other vanity objects.

You’ll almost certainly need to have a good and reliable computer on your desk, but be cautious – having a home office computer that can run anything (games, high definition video) can easily drive you towards using it for everything except work.