Hot Water: it’s a Must!

Hot water is an absolute must. I have to ensure my children, husband and I get hot showers. I also need a quick instant coffee to be able to get through all of my morning tasks. Chasing children, forcing them to get dressed, making breakfast doing the dishes, making a real pot of coffee, and finally doing breakfast dishes. Let’s just say the other morning was something right out of my worst nightmares.

I put my kids and husband through their showers, with no complaints. I had a cup of hot coffee in my usual lazy method. Then, when I went to get my shower, the temperature wasn’t reaching the scalding hot that makes me happy. Then, it quickly dropped. I was shivering through rinsing my shampoo and had to skip the conditioner. Of course, my husband didn’t even notice.

Granted, if any one family member is in there longer than their scheduled time, I suffer a cold shower. I figured someone, miraculously without me realizing, woke up early and took a long shower. I do get pretty engulfed in my magazines. It wasn’t until I spent nearly ten minutes standing like an idiot with my finger under the faucet to do dishes, that maybe something more disastrous happened. Our water heater wasn’t working. I knew it was time to upgrade, and wasn’t about to wait for my husband to take weeks to fix it.

Of course, it’s a Saturday. I scramble around and get the children dressed and ready for the ride to the store. It was time to weigh the options between new hot water heaters while making sure the kids don’t break anything. That is sometimes an added cost for these trips.

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We get to the store and ask about the most reliable, top-of-the-line tankless water heaters. I heard they can provide a steady stream of hot water in the right conditions. I won’t have to worry about frigid showers anymore! The nice lady shows us the EcoSmart ECO 27.

I really like the name. I like to think I’m an environmentally conscious person. I like how easy it is to operate. You control the temperature with a dial on the front in one-degree intervals. We would have to rework some of the plumbing to install it, which isn’t a huge deal. It is an added cost I’d like to stay away from, if possible.

She told us that this unit is one of the most efficient, but may not offer continuous hot water in colder conditions. That means we would have to space out our showers. That just won’t work for our hectic morning routines. It comes with a lifetime warranty, which isn’t honored if you install it yourself. We were thinking about getting it in as soon as possible (like right after we buy it) with the help of a friend who’s done a lot of plumbing work, but isn’t professional. So, I asked to move on.

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Next, she showed us the Rheem RTEX-13. I was a little uneasy because it is very new on the market. However, she explained that their past models are very popular and reliable. It has a maximum flow rate of four gallons per minute (GPM). That isn’t too bad. We only run one shower at a time. It is also just as efficient as the EcoSmart. It just doesn’t have the fancy green label. I like this one, but again, when I asked about cold weather I got the same answer. I need something that will give my similar output all year!

That’s when she showed my our winner– the Rheem RTGH-95DVLN. Sure, this unit was way out of the price range we told her but it actually does the trick. It can put out 9.5 gallons of hot water per minute. That will help it keep up when winter comes. It’s better than our old tank because I can run hot water from the sink without ruining my husband’s shower experience. It is natural gas, which means we had to get someone to come and install it for us.

Even though it was about twice the price we expected to pay, I know it will be more than worth it in the long run. We can also add the second bathroom we’ve been thinking about without worrying about having enough hot water to fuel it. The kids are growing up and the fight for the shower is getting more intense! If you have a busy home like I do, this Rheem model will improve your life for years to come.   

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Must Do’s for Makeup Artists During Wedding Season

Whether you are a bridal makeup pro, or this is your first year as a professional makeup artist, here are some things you should know. Preparing for wedding season is a pretty hectic task. June has probably been a month of bombardment from last minute brides looking for artists. The fall is another hectic time for bridal companies, specifically in New England.

Some of these tips may feel like a refresher course for seasoned professionals. However, you may learn a few things you didn’t know. I hope this article helps you be as prepared as you can be!

  1. Always Have a Backup Plan.

A professional is never late, and always keeps their appointments. Well, almost always. There may be some days where you are sick, or an unforeseen emergency pops up. In these cases it is always good to have a plan in place before this happens.

I have several makeup artists that I am really close with. We often practice on each other, or can call each other if we run out of a specific product. I can also call on these people if something comes up or I am sick. Just make sure you tell the bride as soon as you can. That way you can keep your client happy, and not scrambling for a replacement on her big day. The first time I got sick, I just sent my colleague in without consulting my client. When someone other than me showed up she was livid. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to do damage control, especially when you aren’t feeling well.

  1. Keep Tedious Notes.

You will likely be working with a lot of clients. Make sure you have your notebook and day planner with you everywhere you go. I would have people trying to schedule appointments with me on the go, and I was lucky enough to only double book myself once. Now I have my planner in my pocket everywhere.

In my notebook, I keep the records of what every bride wanted, what products I used, and I do my best to get photos of them before and after. That way, if they give me a call with ideas I can help them out right away.

This is also where I keep my reference information. I can choose which numbers to give a client based on their specific needs. Knowing what a client wants, and knowing which clients I gave those same services to (who loved it) helps me land a lot more clients.

  1. Get a Contract and Makeup Artist Insurance.

Many freelance makeup artists forget to cover their bases. These legal documents don’t just protect you, they protect your clients. This makes you more professional and makes potential clients more likely to hire you.

Contracts keep the you from miscommunicating with your client. It outlines how much work you will need to do, like number of bridesmaids, and when you have to arrive. It is a great way to ensure that you won’t disappoint your bride because she was expecting more.

Having insurance is a great way to present yourself as a professional in the makeup field. Liability insurance will cover you if something happens to your client’s skin. Some people may have a reaction to certain colors and products.

  1. Think About Every Detail.

When you are doing makeup, you may find yourself being photographed a lot. Make sure you look professional, and have your hair away from your face. These photos will likely shape how the bride’s family and guests remember you. It’s also a good idea to choose an area with good lighting. The lighting source will also affect how their makeup looks. You will need to ensure that your bride looks her best no matter what light source she is in.

  1. Explain Your Prices with Confidence.

Many brides come to you with specific expectations about how much a makeup artist costs. Often times they expect it to cost much less. You set your prices specifically for a reason. Be ready to explain why you quoted them the number you quoted them. Explain that you have to pay for insurance, replacing used products, travel, and whatever other overhead costs that are associated with a specific client’s needs. This will show how much of a professional you are. Your bride will also begin to understand the value of your services.

Family Traditions and Why We Need Them

The positive memories from family traditions is enough of an explanation why we need them. There is no right way to create a family tradition. Some traditions even begin by accident. Some traditions stay the same over generations, while others change with each passing year. I have so many valuable memories that I share with my parents, and my children around these fabulous occasions. I hope you can cultivate stronger relationships with your loved ones by cultivating memorable traditions.

Sometimes it can be hard to get everyone together. Some traditions are easier, like holidays, birthdays, and other constant dates. When you have a floating event, like a summer barbeque, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page. Once everyone finally gets together, we appreciate all of the things that hold us together.

I remember the (mostly) delicious foods we would have at the Christmas dinner table. We are from Irish and Polish descent. We would have meat pies, mashed potatoes, breakfast pierogies, and my aunt’s specialty jello. This jello had so many strange things floating in it every year. Every year, my she would make sure my sister and I had a big glob of it on our plates. We HATED it. Now, we look back and laugh about our shared, silent hatred of that recipe. Once we were finished with our meals, my grandfather would take out his Bingo set and we would all play for prizes. This was just one of many great traditions that brought my family closer together year, after year.

Why Are Traditions Like This Important?

Family traditions give members of the family a source of identity.

Each tradition tells a story about your family. Some stories are small. For Example, one day of every year my parents would throw a barbarian night. That’s where we eat without silverware to commemorate the time five-year-old me dumped the silverware out of the window when I was asked to set the table. Some families also rent out the same cottage on the beach so they can remember past experiences there. It can be a great way to gauge how each member of the family is growing individually and within the unit.

Many family traditions tell larger stories than just one event. They go back and paint a background of your heritage, religion, or the history of your ancestors. The food you eat, the way you eat it, and the activities you participate in can show how events have shaped your family throughout time. For example, one of my reader’s families parent’s didn’t practice Judaism at home. Passover was one of the events that shaped their understanding of where they came from and what their heritage means to their family members.  

These traditions have an huge effect on how young people shape their individual identities. Children who have these experiences are also often more confident than children who know little about their family backgrounds. It helps them understand how to place themselves within their own families and in the world.

Family tradition strengthens bonds

When you spend time with your family, you get to know them better on an individual level. Families that don’t engage in tradition and ritual don’t have a close bonds as families that do. Keeping constant traditions is a great way to get family members to drop their plans, request time off work, and just enjoy their time together. The face-to-face interactions build trust, and show young people that they are part of a unique and special group of individuals.

They are a great break from stress and offer comfort.

The best family traditions are some of the only constants in my life. My reader told me about how a lot of members of her family suddenly moved around the country for work, or school. However, they still made a point to come together at the family lake house. This was the only constant they had, and it offered them something relaxing and comforting to look forward to no matter what was going on in their lives.

Remember to keep traditions that work, and evolve ones that are becoming stale. Things that work when kids are toddlers won’t be fun for them when they are teenagers. Just because the family is growing up, doesn’t mean it’s time to retire tradition. It just means you need to put some effort into making them work in the new chapter of your family’s life.