Outdoor Furniture: A Great Escape From a Hectic Life

After your hectic day in the office, you definitely have choices of what to do and how you should spend the remaining hours you have before bedtime. Some prefer to go home and relax in their refreshing and oh so comfortable outdoor furniture where they can be at peace and be physically nourished by the gentle stroke of the cool breeze calming their tired and worn out bodies. Some prefer to spend the rest of their hours whiling away at bars and nightclubs where music, some booze and laughter give them relief from the stresses of a whole day’s work. Each one of us has different preferences of how we spend our life outside the workplace.Poolside and outdoor gatherings are a part of weekend relaxation for family and friends. These outdoor activities are brought alive by the setting wherein stylish furniture for the outdoors adorns the garden and poolside. As a small vacation spot away from the busy urban setting, a cozy pool area with space for pure and natural entertainment is the perfect getaway. Here we can escape from our hectic lives and recharge after hours of fighting traffic and vehicle smoke. Modern and well-designed furniture gives an aura of style and elegance to your exteriors especially if your furniture blends well with the theme of nature in your surroundings.If you desire to acquire outdoor furniture similar to what is displayed in front of you, just click away in seconds and surf through the internet wherein you may view various styles which will give you pleasure to see and choose from. Looks and appearances are good but the requirements of a modern family matters most when selecting furniture for their outdoors. For the big family, gathering indoor tables and chairs every time your family gathers outdoors or when friends stop by is very inconvenient as it looks bad. Stackable chairs and table extensions are convenient solutions to accommodate seating. Space will not be a problem and will be easy to convert since the extensions have been incorporated in the design of the furniture.With furniture around, your outdoor spaces will look great, beautiful and comfortable. You can choose from entire sets and combine them with outdoor furnishings to add style like patio umbrellas, garden tables and chairs, as well as chaise lounges. More better if you choose furniture which is designed to withstand all kinds of weather and constant usage but still retaining the sheen and good appearance as when they were purchased. Choosing the right type of outdoor furniture will give sense to money spent and to time in the selection process as well.To add comfort to elegant looks, outdoor furniture cushions with fabrics that dry easily and resist mildew, stains and fading comprise the whole set of furniture. Aside from the all-weather resistant hardwoods such as teak and oak and other similar types of durable woods, wooden furniture painted with all-weather paint or marine paint or varnish, there are also furniture made with rust-resistant hardware such as aluminum furniture which is powder-coated to resist fading and chipping. Whatever choice you make, you must select something that you prefer most and what makes you happy and contented.

Why Invest in Art?

When we invest in anything, we are attempting to maximize our return on that investment, given some level of acceptable risk. All financial investments involve a balance between return and risk. Investing in art is no different. We have to ask: “What is the expected rate of return, and what are the risks?” Besides these criteria, art investment offers other investment advantages. So let’s take a look at these issues in art investment.When we invest in anything, we are attempting to maximize our return on that investment, given some level of acceptable risk. All financial investments involve a balance between return and risk. Investing in art is no different. We have to ask: “What is the expected rate of return, and what are the risks?” Besides these criteria, art investment offers other investment advantages. So let’s take a look at these issues in art investment.Rate of ReturnCalculating a rate of return on art investment is difficult. The difficulty lies in devising a performance index that accurately reflects the movement in the prices of art. Since we are concerned with investment, I am considering only what I call investment grade art. This is the art that is offered by the major auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s — not the art you might find in a downtown gallery. Admittedly, this criterion is not precise. There have been several indexes created to measure the changes in art prices. One of the most respected indexes of investment grade art is the Mei Moses All-Art Index. The index was developed by two New York University professors, and is often quoted as the most reliable in describing art price fluctuations. This index indicates that art prices have almost matched the performance of stocks, and that over some periods, the rate of return on art has beaten the stock market. This would put the annualized rate of return somewhere close to 6%.Other estimates for price growth in art have not been so optimistic. In fact, some estimates place the rate of return near zero. A study directed by Luc Renneboog at Netherlands, Tilburg University estimates that the rate of growth from 1970 to 1997 to be around 4%. We can speculate that the long-term rate of return for investment grade art is somewhere between 2% and 6% with 4% probably a fairly decent estimate depending on the art bundle.In today’s economy where certificates of deposit are yielding close to 0%, a 4% yield on fine art would appear attractive.Asset DiversificationIt is a fundamental premise of financial management that asset diversification can reduce overall risk of a portfolio of assets. Adding new financial assets to any portfolio should serve to reduce risks, especially if the performance of the new asset does not correlate directly with other assets in the portfolio. Although price swings of stocks and fine art are often paralleled, they are not always perfectly in sync. Stock prices usually reflect economic activity whereas fine art is not as directly impacted.Inflation HedgeReal property can provide a hedge against inflation. Whereas inflation can eat into the value of monetary based assets such as bonds and certificates of deposits. Like real estate, coins, and gold, art is real property. Although the supply of art continues to grow, the demand for investment grade art is growing even faster. Renoir and Picasso have long stopped painting. Periods of hyperinflation, have always seen huge increases in the prices of investment grade fine art.Tax AdvantagesAs it has been noted earlier long-term profits are taxed at lower rates than ordinary income. Plus, a portfolio in art offers the possibility of other tax advantages if the owner donates the art to qualifying charities, especially museums. In the same vein, fine art assets can play a significant role in an individual’s estate planning.Although current reduced tax rates for long-term gains and estate taxes have worked to reduce many of these tax advantages, these tax cuts are scheduled to expire in the next few years. New tax schedules could emerge again favoring the tax advantages of art assets.The Joy of CollectingThere are other gains that can be derived from art investment — the joys of collecting and displaying an art collection. One might argue if you are going to collect art anyway, you might as well pursue the collecting seriously with an aim of ultimately making a profit from the process. There is a danger of developing the mindset of a collector if you are seeking financial gain.Investors make money in art when they sell to collectors — not the reverse.SummarySo why invest in art? Probably the most compelling reason is the reduction of portfolio risk by diversification and as an inflation hedge. Although a 4-6% return on investment surpasses money-based assets, it falls behind stocks and precious metals. However, price reflects supply and demand. The supply of investment grade art is diminishing as contemporary artists gravitate to electronic art mediums. Paint on canvas for the current generation of artists is passé, and new electronic forms of art-making add nothing to inventory of marketable art. This trend may not be immediately felt on the art market, but could have a tremendous effect in twenty or thirty years. And art investment is always a long-term proposition.By combining the possible financial gains from investing in art with the emotional pleasure of owning and displaying the art, then art investment can become “profitable.”

Developing Community and Public Health Capacity for Change

March Health Awareness Campaigns

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Brain Injury Awareness Month

National Kidney Cancer Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

National Myeloma Awareness Month

National Nutrition Month

National Endometriosis Month

Workplace Eye Wellness Month

National Save Your Vision Month

Hemophilia Month

National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month

American Red Cross Month

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

National Eye Donor Month

National Poison Prevention Month

National Professional Social Work Month

Save Your Vision Month

For those in community or public health, the topics in this article will be nothing new-but as busy professionals ourselves, we often find it helpful to be reminded of the basic premises of our chosen fields. It’s so easy in our hectic-and very important-drive to complete work tasks that we lose sight of those core values for which we strive.There are a growing number of evidence-based interventions for use by community and public health professionals to promote health and prevent disease. [Leeman, Calancie, et al: 2015] These practices have the potential to improve environments, behaviors, and health outcomes in our communities. In order to adopt these practices, however, public health agencies and community partners often need additional tools, strategies, and training to enhance their capacity to improve health outcomes.The most effective prevention strategies actively engage the communities they are intended to serve. Effective health promotion and health-enhancing social change require communities to identify, plan, channel resources, and take action. The concept that a community is the solution to its own problems is not new. There is considerable support for designing community-based interventions to improve the health behaviors and overall health status of community members. According to Sotomayor, Pawlik, and Dominguez in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, “These community-based interventions are important because health disparities and the high rate of chronic diseases in minority populations, particularly among those who are poor and lack access to community resources, are not likely to be prevented without them.” [Sotomayor, Pawlik, and Dominguez: 2007]The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthy People 2020 strives to

Identify nationwide health improvement priorities.

Increase public awareness and understanding of the determinants of health, disease, and disability and the opportunities for progress.

Provide measurable objectives and goals that are applicable at the national, State, and local levels.

Engage multiple sectors to take actions to strengthen policies and improve practices that are driven by the best available evidence and knowledge.

Identify critical research, evaluation, and data collection needs.

Many health prevention and promotion consultants stress the importance that local leaders play in building community health. The Healthy People 2020 toolkit Identifying & Engaging Community Partners, answers the question “How Do You Define Meaningful Citizen Participation?” in this way:

Power to make decisions and affect outcomes

Citizen driven; from the community up, not top down

Proactive, not reactive

Encourages and facilitates broad community involvement

Inclusive, not exclusive; accessible to all

Balanced representation in the participation process; not just major “partners”

Consensus-oriented decision making Compromise; give and take

Opportunities for involvement in all levels of activity, which include creating a vision, planning, prioritizing, deciding, evaluating [ODPHP: 2010]

Building strong relationships with necessary community partners can be time consuming. Facilitating meetings to allow the meaningful participation outlined above requires a particular, practiced set of skills. Here’s where a community health consultant could be extremely valuable. Each community health consultant is different, of course, but in general he or she will have significant experience with the following tasks:

Developing health education and promotion programs, such as school or community presentations, workshops, trainings, etc.

Writing and formatting health education materials, such as reports, bulletins, and visual aids, to address public health concerns.

Developing working relationships with agencies and organizations interested in public health.

Designing and conducting evaluations to assess the quality and performance of health communication and education programs.

Collaborating with community groups and public health officials to identify community health needs and the availability of services needed.

Writing press releases and public service announcements, conducting media campaigns, or maintaining program-related Web sites.

Developing grant proposals to obtain funding for health education programs and related work.