Cozy up to a Good Book

booksSince the first e-books became available to consumers, bibliophiles have fearfully imagined a future where books only exist on e-readers, tablets, and other electronic formats.  But book lovers don’t need to despair just yet. According to the 2014 Nielson Books & Consumers survey, print books are still more popular than e-books; sales of physical books made up 67 percent of the book market in the first six months of 2014. In the U.K., bookstores are experiencing an increase in the sale of print books, and according to that 2014 Nielson Books survey, 10 percent of buyers learned about their book purchases by visiting a bookstore while another 12 percent said they discovered new titles via family and friends. Brick-and-mortar bookstores and the printed word are sticking around.

Although finding and buying e-books is more convenient and often faster than browsing for titles at bookstores, visiting a physical bookstore to find your next read is more satisfying. Many people learn through touch, the tactile experience of holding and reading a book gives readers a different experience than reading a book in another format. Readers can easily explore new books they might not notice if they only shopped for e-books; eye-catching covers and book titles on nearby shelves encourage people to check out something different. Bookstores are also a great place to socialize; you can hang out with friends or meet new people that share your reading interests. Some bookstores have a café or even a wine bar to encourage people to mingle and linger over the books. Other bookstores, especially independent bookstores, usually cater to local needs and interests by featuring events for the community such as book signings, children’s activities, book clubs, or book readings.

Locate a bookstore in your area using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to begin searching. Choose your city and state to narrow your search, then enter keywords like “bookstore” into the search box to find locations. Each business listing includes the address and phone number of the business for your convenience. Real Local Pages can be used to find a wide variety of businesses and services, from bookstores to flooring experts.

Floored by Flooring

10272163-bamboo-flooringGetting new flooring is a big decision that requires careful thought about your personal style, your budget, your lifestyle, and the current look of the room. Figure out what colors, patterns, and textures appeal to you before you shop. Think about what you want the room to look like and take into account the current furniture and décor of the room. One of the most important decisions to make is what type of material to use in the room; the endless options can be overwhelming, but understanding the strengths and weaknesses of every type of flooring will help buyers make a more informed choice.

Carpet: Carpet flooring offers buyers a huge range of possibilities in terms of pattern, color, and texture. Choose carpets with a high fiber density, carpets with more fibers per square inch tend to be more durable. Buy rugs online and save some money. One of the drawbacks of carpet is the need for frequent cleaning and its tendency to stain and trap dust and dirt.

Ceramic Tile: Ceramic tile comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, shapes, sizes, and textures. Ceramic tile is easy to clean and can take a lot of wear . It’s resistant to scratches, stains, and moisture,  but a cracked tile is hard to replace. Also, because of its hard surface, dropped items break more easily and wetness on the tile makes it slippery. Some types of tile have an anti-slip finish that reduces slipperiness, making it safer to walk on the wet tile.

Wood: Hardwood floors give rooms warmth and come in a range of wood types. Wood should not be used in basements or other rooms with lots of moisture. Sunlight discolors certain wood floors and although many woods are wear-resistant, owners need to be careful to avoid scratches. Wood floors however can be refinished many times and are a durable flooring option.

Concrete: In recent years, concrete has become popular for flooring. It’s durable and holds heat well. Concrete is also fire-resistant and can be treated to create unique designs. The surface can be stained, painted, embossed, and even scored to create interesting patterns. Concrete however is porous and stains easily, a stone sealer needs to be applied every few years to protect the surface.

Search Real Local Pages (RLP) to find local flooring experts and flooring stores. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com to get started. Enter your city and state, then enter key words like “flooring,” into the search box. The results page will show the business along with the business’s address and phone number. Real Local Pages is useful for locating a variety of services and businesses, from florists to flooring experts.

 

Think Outside the Bouquet this Valentine’s Day

tulipValentine’s Day is just around the corner; by far the most popular thing to give on Valentine’s Day is flowers. Americans spend up to 10% of their Valentine’s Day budget on flowers and at least 60% of Americans splurge on flowers for loved ones during the holiday. Most people go for the traditional long-stem red roses, as a symbol of passionate, romantic love, red roses seem to be the best choice for a Valentine’s Day bouquet. According to recent surveys however, many women prefer something other than the conventional red rose. Besides being cliché, red roses are more expensive around Valentine’s Day, costing up to 30% more than their usual price.

For those trying to think outside the box—or rather, the bouquet, florists recommend a variety of other flowers for a Valentine’s Day gift. Consider buying tulips in red and white, or freesias and hyacinths. Or purchase other types of red flowers, such as the Red Lion Amaryllis or red lilies. Gerbera Daisies are also a great choice since they come in a wide range of colors and can last more than a week in water. For those set on giving red roses for Valentine’s Day, take a look at the garden rose which has more petals, or consider the elegant Black Baccara rose.

Enjoy your flowers as long as possible by properly caring for them. Cover the bouquet with newspaper or a bag when transporting them to protect them from temperature changes. Heat ages flowers faster, so keep your bouquet out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Stir a little bleach into the water to keep away bacteria and re-cut the flowers daily to make them last.

Buy your bouquets from a local florist this Valentines’ Day. Local florists usually have better prices and better quality than flowers purchased online. Search for local florists using Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses and services, http://www.reallocalpages.com. Choose the city and state where you want to search. Enter key words like “florist” into the search box on the main page or choose a category from the popular categories list. The results page shows the business listings and include the phone number and address of the business. Real Local Pages is great for finding a large variety of businesses, from restaurants and movie theaters to car dealerships.

A Romantic Night Out

Wet-rose-in-a-plateGoing out for a romantic dinner is a tried-and-true Valentine’s Day activity, but finding the perfect restaurant for an evening out is not always easy, especially on a busy holiday like Valentine’s Day. Plan ahead to find the right restaurant:

Ambiance: When you walk into a restaurant, feel out the atmosphere of the place. Pick a restaurant with an atmosphere conducive for conversation. A noisy restaurant where you have to shout to hear the other person isn’t ideal. Choose a restaurant with soft music and a quieter dining area. Restaurants that offer diners more privacy is also a plus; tables spaced further apart provide a sense of space and the privacy makes it easier to focus on your date. Look for dimly lit restaurants, lower lighting creates a more intimate environment. Plus, soft light, like the glow from a candle, is the most flattering type of light.

Comfortable: A romance-worthy restaurant should be comfortable, not stuffy and overly formal. Pick a restaurant that you and your date feel at ease in, it’s difficult to have a good time if you feel out-of-place.

Food: The food is of course, one of the most important elements of a good restaurant. Decide on a restaurant with food you and your date enjoy. Stay away from messy foods and look for a restaurant that offers delicious desserts you can share after the meal.

Reservations: Make a reservation for the restaurant. Preparation shows your thoughtfulness and keeps the evening running smoothly.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find a romantic restaurant for Valentine’s Day. RLP is an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to help you find a wide variety of services and businesses, from lawn care specialists to hotels and restaurants. Choose your city and state, then, search by entering key words like “restaurant,” into the search box on the home page. You can also search by clicking on an item from the “popular categories” list on the main page. The results page displays the business listing as well as the phone number and address of the business.