Guide to buying watercolor pencils

For those of you who want to get started in the world of art, watercolor pencils are a great product to add to your supply sets. The great thing about watercolor pencils is that they represent the best of two different worlds: the one of drawing and the one of painting.

Why use watercolor pencils?

There are several reasons why artists might prefer using watercolor pencils as their main tool when creating art.

For starters, a lot of beginners love to create artwork using watercolor paint, but it is not easy to use it effectively. Watercolor pencils allow you to emulate the texture of watercolor paint in a way that requires less skill. Other people love watercolor pencils simply due to how much paper coverage they offer, as opposed to other art supplies.

One disatvantage one may find when using watercolor pencils is the fact that they require a special, thicker kind of paper to work on. Heavier paper is not easily penetrated by the water, making your paintings less smudged.

How to use watercolor pencils

There are two possible ways to use watercolor pencils in your artwork.

The first method, contained in the name as well, is adding water directly to the pencil or on the paper. By using a soft, wet brush on your previously drawn images, you can give them a watercolor-like texture, by creating soft edges and blending colors easily, without any mess.

The other way to use Faber Castell watercolor pencils is to simply color your drawings without using any water. It is similar to drawing using regular pencils, but since watercolor pencils tend to be softer, your final product will look more refined and more detailed.

What are the best watercolor pencils?

Nowayads it is difficult to find out which brands sell the best art supplies at a reasonable price, without lowering their quality. However, according to many reviews online, Faber-Castell is a promising brand that really delivers when it comes to the quality of their products.

The most known product are the Faber-Castell Albrech Durer pencils. These pencils are thick, strong and durable, and are really good for large paintings, as well as smaller, more detailed ones. If you are using them dry, then you will have some beautiful, rich colors on your painting, with clear and crisp lines and details. If you choose to add water, then your painting will get a soft, watercolor-like aspect. One downside of these pencils is their price, which tends to be on the higher side. However, you can purchase from single pencils up to sets of 120 different colors, which offers a lot of flexibility.

For both beginners and more experienced artists, theĀ Faber-Castell Albrech Durer Magnus pencils are known to be great especially for creating art to sell. The thick lead of the pencils helps create vivid, yet still soft colors. The color doesn’t smudge at all when you add water, and once your painting dries, the colors are permanent and remain vivid, making this product great for produing art to sell.

espresso machine

Four reasons to buy a more expensive espresso maker

Here are my four reasons why you should spend more on a high quality espresso machine.

Reason One: Espresso machines that cost more are usually made out of stainless steel instead of plastic, so essentially you get what you pay for. When looking for an espresso machine you want to make sure you find what you’re interested in which can be different for each individual. Personally I prefer a more expensive/higher quality machine because of the features it may have. The less expensive espresso machines made out of plastic are just as good but tend to break easier because they are made out of cheap material. If you want a better quality espresso machine you’ll want to spend the extra money and get one that is made of stainless steel. Although if something breaks it will cost a lot more to replace or fix.

Reason Two: Less expensive espresso makers don’t have the advanced technology that high quality machines have. The programmable functions on a less expensive espresso machine are either basic or non existent. Some have buttons which could break, and others have touch screens which can also break but are less likely to because they’re made to function through the multiple uses. When you buy a high quality espresso machine you can program it to make espresso at a certain time, a certain strength and a more sustainable temperature. Less expensive machines you have to do yourself which doesn’t always work because no human can perfect that skill.

Reason Three: Spending more money on an espresso machine gives you a better opportunity to do less work. For example, some machines can grind the espresso beans for you which makes it easier. Especially if you don’t have a lot of time when you’re making it. Less expensive machines you cant necessarily get the fresh taste of the espresso because it has been ground already which takes away from the flavor. Other things that a higher quality machine can do is maintain a higher pressure for frothing and steaming the milk for when you make a latte. The same thing goes with the pressure behind the espresso brewing. If you buy a higher quality espresso maker the reason it tastes better is because of the pressure forced through the espresso powder. Also, if the espresso maker has a grinder built in, the quality of the espresso is better too.

Reason Four: When you buy a less expensive espresso machine sometimes the milk steaming/frothing arm can break or wobble after extended use. Most parts in general are made from cheaper materials. The knob used to brew the espresso is made of plastic instead of being made with an expensive type of metal. The quality of the arm is severely diminished when you buy the least expensive machine you can find because again, you get what you pay for. When you touch or move the arm of a less expensive espresso machine it feels like you could just snap it off. The higher quality/more expensive machine you decide to purchase the better off you will be.

Highly recommend checking out the espresso machines reviewed at Mama’s Royal Coffee.

Should I get a baby walker for my baby?

There is nothing more precious than welcoming a new member to our families. A baby can radically change your life for the better, making every day a journey of learning and discovering new things side by side. Being a new parent is not an easy task, and even if you already have other children and parenting experience, no two babies are the same. Taking care of them won’t ever be easy because parenting is a challenge, but it is one we welcome with open arms if it means getting to see our little ones grow to be happy and healthy. However, how do we make sure we are taking steps in the right direction as parents?

Making sure that we are doing our best as parents is one of the things that worries us the most, no matter how amateur or novice we are at this. There are hundreds of new things to keep an eye out on, and just as our kids are discovering new things everyday, so are we. During this critical period of their lives, the things we do and the measures we take will influence the road ahead for our children beyond what we could imagine. Every decision matters, no matter how small it may seem, and it can be a game-changer later on in terms of the development of their cognitive learning, motor skills, and even personality traits.

You want to be present for your child’s every milestone: their first laugh, their first crawl, their first words, and of course, their first steps. Walking is a defining moment in the first few months of life of your baby, and like every parent out there, we want our kids to stand up and start walking as soon as possible. We relate the speed at which babies reach milestones with better overall development, yet we fail to see that rushing things might not be the best for them in the long term.

In their eagerness to get their baby to walk faster, a lot of parents will consider getting themselves a baby walker to help them reach that goal. For parents over the last 20 years, the decision of buying a baby walker has been surrounded by controversy due to the debate over the benefits and potential safety concerns of this device. While there are many conflicting views on baby walkers out there, we want to lay out all the facts about them and their use so you can objectively decide what path you want to walk with your baby.

What is a baby walker?

A baby walker is an invention conceived to help babies learn how to walk. The idea behind it is to help babies stand upright so they can move around aided by the stability brought by the walker. The standard way in which this works is that the baby can stand thanks to a suspended seat that can be made out of plastic, fabric, or some other materials that are comfortable and give enough mobility range to the baby. The seat is suspended because it is attached to an outer structure that stands on wheels. Babies on walkers can stand and move freely in any direction as long as they learn how to give steps and eventually walk on their own.

How do I know if my baby is ready for a walker?

Usually, the telling sign your baby could progress in their walking by stepping up into a walker is that they are at least able to sit straight. You also want your baby to be able to crawl well, and if they are showing any intentions of trying to stand up, even better. Babies at this stage should have developed enough core strength and motor coordination to be able to reproduce some of the movements they do while crawling, i.e. taking steps, except the idea is for them to do it in a standing position.

Are there different types of baby walkers?

Yes, most models are designed just like the one described earlier, but there are differences that can highly influence your decision. For instance, some baby walkers have rigid plastic seats instead of loose fabric ones. A plastic seat can give more support to your infant, but they won’t be able to move as freely as they would on a fabric seat. Moreover, walkers can also come with other features, like a button board sitting on the front of the device to keep the baby focused and entertained. Wheels can either make a triangle and roll in all directions, or you can have a walker with four wheels that your baby can steer but not really walk anywhere they want.

Other models that are also popular resemble a sort of utility cart, obviously decorated with baby themes and usually sounds that trigger as the baby walks. The way in which these work is entirely different because the baby has no direct support in the form of a seat. Instead, the baby is supposed to stand up and hold onto the walker as if they were wheeling a shopping cart, making it roll forward by taking steps. These versions are usually rather noisy and can be tricky to use if your baby cannot sit upright just yet.

What are the pros of baby walkers?

Having your baby use a baby walker to advance further in their walking learning process has several benefits. Some of these include:

  • Improved mobility skills
  • Better spatial awareness
  • Multitasking ability development
  • Gives parents a break

For starters, the main benefit of baby walkers is found in the improved motor skills your baby will have. By putting them on a walker, babies will figuratively and literally take the next steps forward by themselves. This sense of independent locomotion without the risk of falling allows babies to take all the steps necessary towards full standalone walking at their own pace. Everything is intuitive for babies in development, and walking will come to them soon enough with a walker to help.

Furthermore, learning how to walk in a walker gives babies a better sense of their surroundings and different spaces. The inherent safety of the seat and rig of the baby walker lets infants take tours around the house or rooms where they are allowed to hang out on the walker. This increases their awareness and helps them get better at physically locating objects and people around the environment where they are learning how to walk.

Baby walkers with boards of buttons and other entertainment features help your baby have fun while he or she learns, but they also have an underlying benefit that can be very helpful in their long-term development. It will become second nature for these little ones walking around on walkers with boards to do two things at the same time. Pressing buttons or staying focused on whatever entertainment system comes equipped with the walker simultaneously as they walk around will help them greatly further down the road.

Last but not least, putting your child on a walker lets them have some level of independence for a while and it gives you a timeout to catch your breath. Having babies use the baby walker and just be babies allows you to get some house chores done, catch up with some work, cook lunch, or just take some well-deserved me time at that point of the day. It doesn’t mean you won’t pay attention to your baby, but it just becomes much less of a hassle to keep an eye on him or her when they can just do their thing alongside you.

What about the cons of walkers?

While there might not be as many disadvantages to letting your infant use baby walker, these are significant enough to make the devices controversial to use in their own right. The cons of baby walkers are:

  • Underdevelopment of leg muscles
  • Dangerous mobility and access

The first point many people make against the use of baby walkers is that they actually have a negative effect in the natural process of babies who are learning how to walk. The assistance that walkers provide actually hinders their ability to stand straight as a natural progression from sitting and crawling, and it has a much deeper effect in the development of leg muscles. Since the walker is supporting their upper weight with the seat, their feet are taking the steps when they move but their legs are not making nowhere near as close an effort as they would do if they were learning how to walk independently.

Moreover, some scientific studies claim that the use of baby walker actually delays the natural progress of babies learning how to walk. Precisely because walkers are essentially training wheels, infants who learned how to walk on these devices need to take some additional time to calibrate their newly learned abilities and gain the strength they need to stand upright and take steps without stumbling or falling constantly.

On top of that, walkers have been deemed dangerous for the physical integrity of babies who use them. By making them able to go anywhere in a confined space, infants can get access to hazardous substances that they in turn could consume like laundry detergent and other cleaning products. A baby on a walker can also get closer to any power outlet around the house that isn’t covered, or get their fingers trapped playing with swinging doors and things of the sort.

In the most extreme cases, consumer associations have warned that the use of baby walkers can be potentially deadly to children. Using them in houses with stairs and decks puts babies at risk of falling and severely harm themselves if there is nothing to stop them. There are enough documented cases of infant deaths as a byproduct of baby walker use that their sale is banned in countries like Canada by law, carrying a fine and jail time if parents are found to be using a baby walker with their child.

Bottom line: baby walkers have great potential in controlled environments

Having gone over the general qualities of baby walkers and their main advantages and disadvantages, an argument can be made in favor of the use of baby walkers as long as it is under supervision from parents and in controlled environments where children are out of harm’s way. Establishing spatial limits to the use of baby walkers and making sure everything is safe is essential if you decide to get one of these and have your baby use it.

An example of responsible baby walker use would be a living room or a basement with no access to other areas of the house where babies could get hurt. Some parents turn one of the rooms of the house into a playroom precisely with these scenarios in mind, but one of the pros that influence parents’ choice of the device is precisely the freedom that gives both them and their baby to be in the same space. When this is the case and you want to keep an eye on your baby on their walker in the living room, for example, make sure there are no appliances or electronics connected with visible cords that they can trip with. Also cover power outlets with baby proof strips or covers to avoid any incidents. Make sure drawers are also baby proofed and if possible, have someone else along with you to watch the baby if you are taking over cooking or some other chore.

Never let your child hang around on its baby walker in open, public places like pools or the park. They are too prone to incidents when there are no clear boundaries on where they can go on such open spaces. Baby walkers have all the potential in the world but should be used wisely to avoid any of the undesired effects they can have in child development, and most importantly to avoid any regrettable episodes due to lack of care or supervision when learning how to walk. If you need some guidance in terms of what models to buy, you can choose from these baby walkers shown here.

4 things to keep in mind when camping in the mountains

Nature lovers usually cannot conform with just a hike or a quick tour to their closest park, so that’s why the more adventurous of the bunch decide to go on expeditions and camping. Camping conditions can be ruthless at times, and depending on the type of grounds you decide to set up camp on, you need to be equipped with some items that could definitely save your life in times of trouble. Below, we’ll take a closer look at 4 things to keep in mind when camping in the mountains, as it is one of the most popular terrains people usually choose for camping.

Plan ahead for food and supplies

Securing sustenance is of the essence in any sort of trip that removes you from civilization even by one inch. If you plan on going camping in the mountains where access to food and clean water might not be as easy as you think, you also need to have an airtight plan in place so you never run out of food or supplies. If you see yourself lacking something that you might need to survive, just go back before you see yourself in need.

Mind the temperature at all times

Climatic conditions can be a pain to deal with while out in the wilderness, particularly due to how sudden everything can change. Knowing or at least having a rough estimate of the weather forecast for the days you’ll be out camping is paramount, and planning accordingly is necessary as well since quick drops in temperature can be hard to deal with when you’re not prepared. Packing an extra layer of clothes and carrying a sleeping bag liner can save you from the freezing cold at night.

Beware of animals and natural phenomena

Mother nature can be both nurturing and completely ruthless at times, and you can never forget nor be unprepared for wild situations. Mountains are the natural habitat of many different species of carnivorous animals, and depending on the local fauna of your camping site, you might encounter bears, mountain lions, lynx, wolves, and more. Pepper spray is a must if you face any of these animals, as well as some common sense to avoid going near any of them voluntarily. Needless to say, you should also do your best to set up camp far from zones prone to deluge, fires, floodings, and avalanches.

Always keep in touch

While leaving without a trace for a much-needed break from city life might sound tempting, you never know what can happen while out in the mountains, especially if you choose to go alone. If you plan to embark on a camping trip, try to go with a partner or in groups. Always make sure to tell a friend or a family member where you plan to camp, as well as your itinerary if you have one. Set up an emergency protocol in case you don’t come back on the date you plan on doing so, and if you can, bring along a radio or cell phone that can get reception at your campsite.

Which Type of Sunscreen Is Right for You?

Most of the times you apply sunscreen as often as you remember but as time goes by, its significance becomes more evident. Using sunblock can go a long way in reducing your aging rate and suppress age spots. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, one out of five people possess a certain form of Skin Cancer in the USA. Besides, more than 12000 people died of the disease in 2013. Also, people spend 90% of their time escaping the risk of skin cancer infection due to the effect of UV rays. Therefore, skin cancer can significantly be minimized when you limit your exposure to direct sunlight, and artificially using Sunscreen.

Currently, there is a wide variety of sunscreen, which differs in the ingredients that make them. In case of Acne infection, consider reading about ACNE TREATMENT REVIEWS to understand how to keep your skin healthy and for future reference when purchasing a different sunscreen.

Women Applying Sunscreen in Hawaii
Women Applying Sunscreen in Hawaii

Choosing Sunscreen Based on Sun Exposure.

The preference of Sunscreen is based on the intensity of sun rays and the length your exposure in the sun. If your exposure to the sun is minimal, sunscreen of low SPF, about 15 is recommended, which filters about 93% of the sun’s UV rays. For those spending more extended periods, a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and above is recommended. In the case of prolonged exposure, for instance, many hours continuously, a sunscreen of 50 SPF is considered the best. Choosing sunscreens of a broad spectrum will also aid in safeguarding you from both UVA and UVB rays.

The Best Sunscreens for Acne-Prone Skin.

It is advisable to consider if you are allergic to body creams like sunscreen or if your screen breaks out easily. If under this condition, consider using fragrance-free or dye-free products. Easily breaking skins are also irritated by Oxybenzone and PABA. Besides, using Alcohol-free will also keep one safe from having dry skin and redness. The reason why cream sunscreens are restricted for use by people with skin breaks is to avoid clogging of the pores. Ensulizole is recommended for those whose skins are prone to acne since it filters out UVB rays. Taking internal prescriptions would also reduce rosacea.

The Best Sunscreens for Dry Skin.

Emollients are included in making sunscreen to help soothe and maintain your skin. Those treated with lanolin protects the screen from cracking or peeling due to hot sun. Besides, silicone-made sunscreen, with dimethicone will too, protect your skin.

The Best Sunscreens for Darker Skin Tones.

Despite having dark skin, it’s quite essential to apply sunscreen whenever you are moving out. In the case when you apply TITANIUM OXIDE sunscreens, and you notice your skin turning gray or chalky, use micronized sunscreens. The colors will blend well. Moreover, using a chemical sunscreen of 15 SPF or higher an work pretty well.

It is recommended that whenever you remain in the sun for a considerable period of time, you treat the skin with oil which helps in reducing sunburn effects. Besides, they assist you ACHIEVE A MORE EVEN TAN and concurrently maintain your skin. At times, it may be difficult to establish the best sunscreen for you. In that case, consider consulting a dermatologist for the best product.

Go to Helsinki, Finland – Fall in Love With The City!

Helsinki is located on the Gulf of Finland in the southern region of Finland. It is the capital of Finland and covers an area of two hundred and seventy-six square miles and has a population of over five hundred and eighty thousand people. Ten percent of the total population is not native to the city and has been born in other regions of the world. This city is also the educational capital of Finland with six technology parks and eight universities being located in the city. It is also the financial capital of Finland and contains over seventy percent of the foreign based companies operating in the country. Over the recent years, Helsinki has experienced a surge in population as residents of rural Finland have relocated to the city.

The original name of Helsinki is Helsingfors and is a name that is still frequently used by Scandinavian speaking people. This name originated from the name of the adjacent parish in the area. Natives of Helsinki call the city by the colloquialism “Stadi”, a word that means ‘city’ in Swedish. The city of Helsinki was established in 1550 by the Swedish King Gustav I as the city of Helsingfors. There is very little information on life in the city, but it is known that is was constantly under siege by cruel poverty, war and multiple plagues. One particularly nasty plague struck the city in 1710 and killed two thirds of the residents. This town would remain a town of little fame until Russia annexed it after they defeated Sweden in the Finnish War.

Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland

During the nineteenth century several changes were made that helped Helsinki develop into a major city. One of these was the relocation of the Russian Tsar Alexander I of Russia from the capital of Turku to the city. Another important development was the relocation of The Royal Academy of Turku to Helsinki in 1827. The Royal Academy of Turku would eventually evolve into the University of Helsinki. These two events helped to solidify Helsinki’s role and also set it on a path of nonstop growth. It also imparted a Russian influence on the city which can be seen prominently in the downtown area. Helsinki would continue to develop economically during the twentieth century and went through a period of urbanization that made it one of the fastest growing cities in Europe during the last decade of the century. Today, Helsinki generates around a third of Finland’s total Gross Domestic Product. Per capita, the Gross Domestic Product of the city is approximately one and a half times Finland’s national average. This makes Helsinki one of the wealthiest cities in Europe.

The educational needs of Helsinki are serviced by about two hundred comprehensive schools, forty secondary schools, fifteen vocational schools,eight universities and four polytechnics. The universities in the city are the University of Helsinki, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics, Hanken School of Economics, Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy, Theatre Academy and University of Art and Design. The four polytechnics in the city include the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Helsinki Polytechnic Arcada.

Helsinki is a culturally diverse city that has many attractions available to visitors. It is brimming with restaurants, museums, hotels and other attractions. One of the most prominent attractions in the city is Helsinki’s Suomenlinna Fortress. Suomenlinna Fortress was built by Swedish Royalty in 1748 as a means to curb Russian hostility and expansion. In 1973, the fortress was turned over to civil authorities and today its been listed as a World Heritage Site. Located on the island is several art studios and museums, one of which is the Finnish submarine Vesikko. The Vesikko is a submarine that was built in 1933 and used during World War II. The submarine was decommissioned after the war and serves now as a part of the Military Museum of Finland. The Military Museum of Finland was constructed in 1929 and contains over two hundred thousand military artifacts. Some of the artifacts located here include machine guns, artillery, cannons and even a tank. Helsinki is also home to the National Museum of Finland. This museum was constructed in 1910 and is divided into six sections. The museum contains an extensive collection of coins, medals, silver, weapons and jewelry.


A popular attraction in Helsinki is the Linnanmaki Amusement Park. This amusement park was constructed in 1950 by several Finnish child welfare organizations. Over a million people visit here every year and its full of many restaurants, shops, cafes and rides. Some of the features of this park include trains, water rides, bumper cars, coasters, Ferris wheels and carousels. There is also a children’s museum, fun house, hall of mirrors, a viking boat ride and a pirate ship ride.

Another prominent attraction in the city is Hietaniemi beach. Hietaniemi beach was originally used as sand storage during the early parts of the twentieth century but the sand was never used. So, the locals adopted the area as a beach. Its close proximity to the city has made it a popular attraction for tourist and residents alike, especially during the summer months. Another beach in the area can be found at Pihlajasaari Island. This island has camping grounds, a nude beach and even a restaurant.

The Finnish National Theatre was established in 1872 and is located to the north of Helsinki Central Railway Station Square. It is the oldest theater in the world thats still in operation and performances are given here in Finnish. In front of the museum is the statue of Finnish writer Aleksis Kivi. The city also has two other theaters, the Helsinki City Theatre and the Svenska Teatern (also known as the Swedish Theater). Lovers of the musical arts can also pay a visit to the Finnish National Opera. This opera house is located on Toolonlahti Bay and was established in 1993. It has two auditoriums, the main auditorium and a smaller one. The main one can seat over thirteen hundred patrons and the smaller one can seat five hundred people.