Friday, September 16, 2016

6 Hottest kitchen trends

The kitchen is the most utilized room and you want your kitchen to look its best.

For the next several years, we expect transitional kitchens to continue growing strong. A transitional style kitchen incorporates both traditional and contemporary elements and design. This includes a simple, clean, and minimalistic and uncluttered look or commonly known as a shaker style kitchen. Whereas a contemporary kitchen design is modern and includes innovative design, newest technology, simultaneously using recycled materials.
If you are looking for a complete transformation of your kitchen, consider these trends and bring your kitchen remodel into the 21st century and give us a call!


The kitchen cabinets industry’s manufacturers say that while grain and wood-like cabinets are still popular, the growing trend is gray, white and cream-colored kitchen cabinets. And we agree – just check out our recent kitchen renovations over the past couple years which incorporate this trend.   


Are light-colored cabinets not your thing? Have you given any thought to a high-contrast kitchen design? Do you love red hues? How about incorporating dark cherry cabinets with a neutral color paint or backsplash and beige-colored countertops? Have you thought about a dual-tone kitchen? Can you picture all white wall-mounted cabinets with black or dark-colored base cabinets? How about solid-color lacquer cabinets? Have you considered a rustic hardwood floor? The two-tone look creates drama and displays a balance between light and dark spaces.
Both of the above trends emphasize an individualized look – don’t go for the cookie-cutter kitchen design. Create a unique space, one that highlights your style, personality and life.


Another growing trend is an eye-catching farmhouse sink or apron-front sink. Whether pure white or dazzling lime green, homeowners are shying away from the dull basic white or stainless steel. This is a great option for small kitchens or just to create a fabulous focal point.


Tired of granite, marble or other natural stone? Quartz continues to be the prevalent choice for countertops. Quartz is durable, non-porous and resistant to heat, spills, scratches and overall, busy families. They come in a myriad of colors and styles. Another top choice is wood countertops. They look beautiful and offer a homey, soft, as well as modern wood-look in the kitchen.


Like everything else, kitchen cabinets are changing. Today, most cabinet manufacturers offer hydraulic, quiet and easy-to-close doors and drawers, pullout shelving units, multi-tiered drawers, interior illumination for better visibility, roll-out bins, built-in chopping blocks, docking stations for electronics, extra preparation space for cooking, clever corner cabinets (a/k/a lazy Susan), etc. Integrate a few of these ideas into your new kitchen!


Stainless steel still seems to control the market, whether in silver or black, white and gray are becoming more popular. However, speaking of functionality, freezer-on-bottom refrigerators are increasing in sales and so are cooktop and wall-oven combinations. However capricious your wants, try focusing on keeping it simple and classic: Choose appliances that will add to your kitchen, not overwhelm it.
If you are ready for your dream kitchen contact us today and schedule an appointment to get a design consultation. We will design and build your brand-new kitchen!
We are remodeling contractors who give you “straight talk” so you can be proud to boast about your kitchen.


by Laura Helm, of Ashton Events

One of our absolute favorite parts of the design process with our clients is hand-selecting the blooms for the bouquet. It’s the kickstart of the whole wedding design- helping declare the personality of our bride and the formality of their celebration. The biggest, most beautiful blossoms get artfully woven together and then tied by a gorgeous ribbon. Our positively least favorite part? Watching that bouquet head to a dumpster.

Here are five helpful ideas to keep your bouquet from going to waste:

  1. Don’t toss it, dedicate it: Do you have a specific person (your grandmother, a mentor, dear friend) who would treasure those blooms for the days following your celebration? Instead of doing a bouquet toss, take a private moment with that VIP to shower them with your appreciation.
  2. Split it up, by surprise! We’ve had brides who had a vivacious group of single ladies waiting to snatch the bouquet. Instead of just tossing it into the crowd, consider having your florist separate your bouquet into 3-5 little sections. It will certainly catch them by surprise, and more girls will have flowers to take home.
  3. Dry it out: If you’d like to hold onto your bouquet and create a keepsake, have a close friend or family member take it home after the reception. Snip off the ends (so that all of the dampness is gone), and hang it upside down. This way, the flowers will naturally dry out and keep a bit more of their color.
  4. Create an anniversary gift: Want to surprise your spouse with a sweet memento from the day? Snip a few of the smaller blooms and press them between pages of a thick book. Again, make sure that the bloom is dry! Then, to celebrate your first year, use those blooms in a frame or shadow box with a printed copy of your vows.
  5. Start a tradition: One of our favorite ideas actually stems from a Southern tradition. Buy a special ribbon with your monogram on it for your bouquet. Then, keep that for your future daughters to incorporate into their bouquet. What a sweet memory!

The Pros and Cons of Effectively Managing Virtual Employees

Advances in technology have changed the way that we hire employees. Small businesses and startups no longer find it necessary to open brick-and-mortar locations. They no longer need to hire full-time or part-time workers. Paying traditional business expenses like regular salaries, retirement contributions, health insurance, liability insurance, and similar are no longer required if you set up your business correctly.
Hiring virtual employees offers a wide range of benefits. And to be fair, there are a couple of potential pitfalls as well.
Some immediate benefits that spring to mind include lower overhead expenses, employees experiencing greater job satisfaction, and the ability to scale your business without the need to pay for bigger office space and other related expenses.
Even though hiring a team of virtual employees is much more cost-effective and convenient than hiring a traditional staff, it’s certainly not perfect by any means. It’s often difficult to keep track of and manage employees that you’ve never met. But difficult does not equal impossible. We’ll talk about the potential downsides of working with a virtual staff in more detail later.
First and foremost, we’ve created a list of eight tips that will make it much easier to manage your employees virtually. By following these guidelines, you set your small business or startup up for massive success.
8 Virtual Employee Management Tips for Small Businesses and Startups
A virtual staff is sometimes difficult to manage, but this task is certainly far from impossible. Our eight favorite tips include:
  • Communication – effectively communicating with your virtual staff is the only way to guarantee that your projects are successfully moving forward. Keeping in steady contact with online employees is a necessity. Just like anyone else, they do require regular supervision. Plus, problems might arise during certain aspects of a project and they will need your help to overcome these potential obstacles.
  • Clearly stated responsibilities – in an effort to keep virtual employees on task, it’s absolutely necessary to clearly state each of their responsibilities. And to make it even more official, it’s best to put everything in writing. This way the virtual employee can regularly reread his or her list of responsibilities to ensure their tasks are being carried out correctly and to the best of their ability.
  • Leveraging virtual employee strengths – all of your online employees will have different strengths. It’s wise to find out each area your virtual employee excels. When you discover this information, you can delegate tasks accordingly and get the most out of your employees based on their knowledge, wisdom, and experience completing certain tasks.
  • Effective timeline management – getting things finished on time is an absolute must when running a small business or startup. Every good manager must learn how to delegate designated tasks while giving virtual employees enough time to successfully complete their work. It’s inevitable that occasionally you’ll need virtual employees to work as fast as they can. Try not to make a habit of this, because otherwise you’ll have unhappy employees and your customers could very well end up less than satisfied with a rushed product or service.
  • Choose virtual employees based on their skills – when starting a new project, you’ll have to determine which skills are required in order to reach completion. After determining the necessary skills needed to complete this task, you then have to find virtual staff members that can adequately finish each task quickly, efficiently and in a timely manner. As an example, it would be foolish to hire a search engine optimization specialist if you need someone to solve detailed mathematics problems. Consider each individual task and hire the right employee to finish it.
  • Project evaluation – become familiar with each project. Create a plan that gives your virtual staff adequate time to complete it with efficiency. While evaluating each project, come up with specific goals and tasks that are necessary to create a plan and execute it so that the entire process is as stress-free as possible. After coming up with a list of goals, you can then determine which tasks are required to meet said goals.
  • Tracking virtual employees – not only do you have to keep on top of virtual employees to make sure they stay on task, but you also have to track their hours so that they receive their fair compensation. Time and attendance software is the ideal choice for tracking employee hours and payroll distributions.
  • Effective use of constructive criticism – problems are going to arise with your virtual employees. They are going to make mistakes from time to time, and as their employer, you will have to set them on the correct path to success once again. Constructive criticism is the most effective way to reprimand employees. Being rude and crude will get you nowhere. Being firm and authoritative with your criticism, while also being specific, is the best way to handle potentially volatile situations. Always let employees know when they are doing things right! Adding praise along with your criticism will take some of the sting out of this stressful situation.
The Potential Downsides of Employing Virtual Workers
As previously mentioned, there are downsides to hiring virtual employees. Some of the potential negatives include:
  • Technology failures – unfortunately, technology has a tendency to fail when we need it the most. If you have a serious, firm deadline, and suddenly you no longer have Internet access, you’ll lose complete control and have no way to manage and communicate with your virtual staff. They are most likely hard at work completing their delegated tasks, but you won’t know until Internet access is restored. This is one example of many potential technology failures that can easily take place.
  • Finding the right virtual employees – when employees work outside of an office environment, they have a tendency to slack off and become easily distracted. Finding the right people to meet your needs might not be as simple as it seems. You could potentially end up going through numerous virtual employees before building a dedicated and trustworthy staff. And it’s much harder to manage a virtual staff as opposed to working with them in person.

At the end of the day, it’s quite possible to effectively manage virtual employees. And for the most part, there is more upside than downside. Just weigh the pros and cons and determine if virtual employees are the right fit for your new startup or small business and use this information as a guideline for success.

Plan the Perfect Honeymoon with Honeyfund

Marrying your better half is the first step in starting a beautiful life together. As a couple, embarking on this journey will have its ups and downs, but you’ll know if you are right for one another before you step foot on the altar on your big day.
This courageous journey is exciting to say the least. And the adventure begins on the glorious honeymoon vacation that you’ll take soon after you recite your vows during the marriage ceremony.
Paying for a wedding is an expensive proposition. In order to have the wedding of your dreams, you took every chance that you had to raise capital or save money so that your big day would be perfect when the time came. You should put forth the same amount of effort to raise funds for your honeymoon.
Your honeymoon is important because it’s the first thing you’ll do together as a married couple. So you want this happy occasion to be perfect!
How can you make it perfect? Honeyfund, the crowdfunding website dedicated to help happy couples raise funds for honeymoon bliss, is an extremely popular way to receive money needed to pay for the perfect trip. It’s the whole reason why the website was created in the first place.
Honeyfund’s Humble Beginnings
Although this website is finally starting to catch the public’s attention, most people still have never heard of this dynamic honeymoon registry. And that’s a shame because it’s changing the way that we receive wedding gifts for the better.
The founders of this website created it originally because they didn’t have enough money to go on their dream honeymoon. Instead of having a less than satisfactory experience during this momentum occasion, Sara and Josh Margulis decided to take matters into their own hands. Before long, they set up a honeymoon registry that helped soon to be married couples like themselves receive “sponsorships” in lieu of traditional gifts. And this allowed them to get the money to pay for their dream honeymoon.
For one reason or another, couples are often hesitant to ask for “sponsorships” on this honeymoon registry. Some just aren’t that familiar with crowdfunding. Others feel that they shouldn’t receive money instead of traditional wedding gifts.
Do you need money to pay for your honeymoon? Try Honeyfund today and experience the same benefits as thousands of others in your shoes.
Is Honeyfund the Best Honeymoon Registry to Meet My Crowdfunding Needs?
We can’t think of a better honeymoon registry besides Honeyfund. This site is perfect because it lets you use its platform for free. It’s unique and has many wonderful features. Our favorite is the honeymoon itinerary planner. It lets you add specific activities to your crowdfunding page. And then your guests can make donations based on the activities that they would like to pay for.
Other Crowdfunding Benefits
If you intend to raise funds for other important milestones during your marriage, we recommend using the Honeyfund sister site called Plumfund.
There are many ways to take advantage of crowdfunding. For married couples, here are a few of our favorites:
  • pay off student loans
  • raise money for a down payment on a new home
  • pay off outstanding credit card debt
  • raise money for in vitro fertilization

Are you ready to take the perfect honeymoon vacation? Honeyfund will help make your dreams a reality.

5 Ways to Prevent Chargebacks (Including Debt Collection)

When a credit card transaction is disputed for any reason, a chargeback will be issued. These chargebacks typically happen due to many reasons including price disputes, poor service received, receiving the wrong goods, customer dissatisfaction, and more.
At the end of the day, the chargeback process was specifically created to help boost customer confidence, since they make it so easy for credit card holders to dispute charges. Banks and merchants then have to spend their valuable time discovering if a transaction is real or fake.
As a business owner, chargebacks are not only a hassle; they can often become quite costly to your bottom line. Two specific things typically happen when a chargeback is initiated:
  • Payment is withheld from the merchant’s acquiring bank until the matter is resolved.
  • Credit card processors and banks charge costly fees that the merchant has to pay even if they win the dispute.
As you can see, doing everything in your power as a merchant to prevent chargebacks will help protect and preserve company profits. Our overall aim today is to share five ways to prevent chargebacks. This way you can save and avoid costly fees as much as possible.
5 Chargeback Prevention Tips
  • Respond quickly to chargeback requests – if a request were ever to go through, you need to immediately respond to it and retrieval requests as quickly as possible. If you, as the merchant, do not respond within the allotted time, the bank will immediately process the request and there will be nothing that you can do about it. By responding in the allotted time, or even quicker to stay on the safe side, you’ll prevent the bank from pushing through the request before you have the opportunity to inquire about the situation further.
  • Make customer service a top priority – sometimes chargebacks happen because customers are unhappy with the service that they have received. In an effort to prevent disputes due to poor service, having a top-notch customer service staff available to help your customers can prevent problems that could easily be avoided. Make it simple for customers to get the help that they need to answer their questions and concerns.
  • Post your return policy clearly and make it well-known – disputes often happen because customers do not clearly understand the return policy. If they attempt to return a product and find out that the time to return has already passed, they will often put in the dispute with their credit card company and make it appear that it is the business’s fault. Clear return policies that are posted for everyone to see will prevent chargebacks of this nature.
  • Customer communication – clear communication with customers is the perfect way to prevent disputes. If they are aware of the status of their order and receive regular updates, disputes are much less likely to happen.
  • Employ debt recovery services – by hiring a debt recovery agency, you can spare your company the hassle, frustration, and time needed to recover chargeback funds. Instead of letting chargebacks ruin your profits, let the professionals recover chargeback funds on your behalf when it seems that the customer wasn’t a victim of fraud or identity theft.

Use this information to prevent chargebacks now and in the future.

10 Things To Do With Your Wedding Dress After The Wedding

Your wedding day has come and gone, you’re back from your honeymoon and while you’re unpacking you see your wedding dress lying on the bed. Yes, that beautiful dress has cost a lot of money and is now hidden in a garment bag on the bed.

Whether it’s silk, satin or lace, wedding dresses are so much more than just fabric pieces. For many brides, the dress fits their personal style and love story. Women feel like princesses on their wedding day and it’s magical. With all the emotion and nostalgia surrounding the wedding dress, it is sometimes very difficult to decide what to do with your long white dress after the wedding.

Let’s face it: Like your bridesmaids there’s a good chance that you will never wear your wedding dress again. So what do you do with such an expensive garment that is made for a once in a lifetime opportunity? Are you going to hang it in the closet? Are you going to donate the dress to a charity? Or do you want to change it so you can wear it again?
Below are nine creative things you can do with your wedding dress.

1. Creative With Lace
Was the dress your favorite aspect of your wedding and are you a little creative? Then, of course, there are many ways to make something beautiful of your wedding dress. Look around on Pinterest and you will have enough ideas. For example, you can dress your baby cradle with it, create a necklace with the fabric of your dress or use part of your dress to frame as a lasting memory. You will get lots of compliments!

2. Magical Lingerie
Another option for your dress is to create a lingerie fabric. You’ll get to recreate that magical moment when your spouse took off your wedding gown in an even sexier way! You’ve probably never felt more beautiful than on your wedding day. With lingerie that is made out of your wedding dress you experience that special feeling over and over again. Ask about a tailor in the area and you’ll see that a lot of things are possible!

If you want to keep your dress, but not necessarily in its current form, you can be creative. Retain only the bustier and leave it into a portable skirt underneath. Or the other way, you can transform a long dress into a cute mini skirt.


3. Organize A Bride Dinner
Do you have friends who are already married? Then cozy all together bubbling in your wedding dresses! A bride dinner is a great excuse to shine again in your bridal regalia.

4. Christening Dress
You can also save the dress for a future christening dress. This way you can keep the dress and use it in a new way for another happy moment in your life.

5. Keep Your Wedding Dress For Your Daughter
Keep your wedding dress for your daughter or daughter-in-law. This seems a bit far-fetched, but if you can’t let go of your beautiful dress and you can see someone else wearing it on their wedding day, you should keep it. You never know what the future holds! The moment you see your daughter shine in your wedding dress is priceless. Keeping your dress for her wedding is therefore the best thing you can do with your wedding dress. Keep it safe in a special cover in a dry and dark place.

It is often possible to make your dress something more to her taste.  You don’t want to wait that long? A photo shoot of your little girl in your wedding dress is super cute!

6. Feeling Generous?
Donate your dress to charity. Brides Across America offers free wedding dresses to military brides who could not afford it otherwise. Another great charity is Adorned in Grace, which was born out of one sex trafficking survivor’s experience with a donated wedding gown. All proceeds are donated to raise awareness and prevention of human trafficking and to support victims.

7. Pre Owned Wedding Dresses
Several bridal shops have a second section where you can give your dress a second life or you can buy them online. If you had purchased a designer dress you can recoup some of the cost. Sites like Once Wed, Preowned Wedding Dresses, Nearly Newlywed and Tradesy make the process so easy it’s like free money in your pocket. While some charge a small listing fee, others simply take a commission of the sale.

8. Trash The Dress
If you are finished with your wedding dress, there is one great last way to say goodbye to the most important dress of your life. Trash the dress! Trash your dress for amazing and unique pictures. There are some incredibly artistic ways to photograph your wedding in a non-wedding area.

9. Out In The Open
If you have the space, you can store your wedding dress on a mannequin display, or on a beautiful hanger on the wall. Ask for some information in the dry cleaning shop about how you can treat your wedding dress to prevent it from being yellowish.

Before you do these amazing things with your dream dress, make sure a professional cleans it. Your wedding dress is a special reminder of a fantastic day. After dragging on the ground, or after the endless toasts with your girlfriends, it can be dirty.
Whatever you ultimately choose to do with your wedding dress, be glad you met the love of your life and have had the opportunity to be a bride.  

Let’s face it: Like your bridesmaids there’s a good chance that you will never wear your wedding dress again. So what do you do with such an expensive garment that is made for a once in a lifetime opportunity? Are you going to hang it in the closet?


Leanne Lovett is a rockstar content producer from Best Miami Weddings, the first stop for every bride in Miami. Look on for more information.

Registry Options for Your Upcoming Wedding

The days of the traditional wedding registry are long past. Sure, traditional registry options still exist and will always play a major role in weddings, but there are also a number of alternative registries to consider as well.
Are you dreading the thought of receiving another gravy boat when you already have three of them? Are you afraid that one of your relatives will get you a gift that you do not want or need? With alternative registries, this is no longer a potential problem.
Today, besides the traditional registry option, there are also down payment registries, charity registries, and even honeymoon registries. With so many great options, not only will you have the perfect wedding of your dreams, you’ll also receive the ideal gifts based on your specific needs as a couple.
We will now look at each registry in greater detail.
Traditional Wedding Registry
With a traditional registry, the bride and groom often connect with a retail store or website. This registry will help the happy couple easily communicate with wedding guests and let them know about their wants and needs. On a typical traditional wedding registry, you’ll find some of the following items:
  • bath towels
  • baking sheets
  • silverware
  • crockpot
  • blender
  • frying pan
  • food processor
  • coffeemaker
As you can see, the traditional registry contains typical household items that a newly married couple will often need and use. This type of registry is beneficial if you’ve never been married before and this is your first time living with another person as a couple.
Honeymoon Registry
Many soon-to-be married couples are now taking advantage of this interesting alternative registry. Instead of getting too many gifts that they do not want or necessarily need, they are asking friends and relatives to make contributions so that they can go on the ideal honeymoon of their dreams.
Most couples don’t have the money to go on the perfect honeymoon. So they are willing to sacrifice traditional gifts and instead receive financial contributions that they can use to take the perfect honeymoon vacation. This is a great trade-off and many newly married couples will tell you that starting a honeymoon registry on was the best choice they’ve ever made.
Charity Registry
A charity registry is very similar to the alternative honeymoon registry with one huge exception. Instead of using the money contributed by your friends and relatives to take a beautiful honeymoon vacation, you are using this money to help people in need.
Starting a charity wedding registry is an incredibly selfless act. If you love to help the needy, this registry is the perfect option in lieu of traditional wedding gifts.
Down Payment Wedding Registry
Now that you are about to get married, are you ready to move into your first starter home? Do you plan to have kids in the near future? Acquiring the funds for a down payment on your dream home would certainly be the perfect wedding gift. A down payment wedding registry is the perfect option for those looking to receive monetary gifts that they can put toward a down payment on a new home.
Future Fundraising
After experiencing the benefits of alternative registries – no matter which one you choose – you may decide to participate in other fundraising endeavors later on in your marriage. is the best zero fee option for your future fundraising efforts, whether you plan to use it for baby showers, birthdays, anniversaries, or anything else important to you.