3 Places that Showcase Cuba’s Natural Beauty

With travel restrictions beginning to relax when travelling to Cuba and tourism figures growing, travellers are flocking to the island that is famous for protecting itself from outside influences. As a result, the country is charming, its sense of history is palpable and it’s full of wonderful sights that are untainted by the outside world.

Here are three places where you can explore the natural beauty of Cuba.

Varadero Beach

With so much coastline in this beautiful Caribbean island, there are plenty of beaches to choose from for a traveller looking to soak up some sunshine in paradise. The most famous beach is Varadero, where you can holiday in luxury as there are plenty of all-inclusive 5-star resorts to stay at, such as the ones available at Cuba Holidays.

However, you can still experience the natural beauty of the island. The beach stretches more than 12 miles and is home to many natural attractions, including sea caves and coral reefs. Experience scuba diving or snorkelling at Cayo Piedra, or cave swimming at Saturno Cave, or swimming with dolphins at Delfinario.

Old Havana

You can’t visit Cuba without a trip to its capital, Havana. It is colourful, vibrant, lively, and full of natural beauty for a visitor to admire. The city even contains the core of the original city of Havana – a stunning look back into the country’s past.

Old Havana boasts UNESCO World Heritage status because of its well-preserved history. Take a walk around the music-filled, cobbled streets to see the historic architecture of the city, such as the stunning Catedral de San Cristóbal de la Habana and the former military fortress, Castillo de la Real Fuerza.

Viñales National Park

Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Viñales National Park is perfect for any nature lover who wants to learn more about the history of Cuba. Their tobacco and banana plantations still use traditional methods of farming and they’re surrounded by towering limestone rock foundations, also called mogotes.

Take a boat to Cueva del Indio, a beautiful ancient cave, with almost 4 kilometres of underground streams and stunning ochre green walls – you can witness the full natural splendour of the cave and the creatures that live within it.

Nature lovers will adore Cuba and all the beautiful delights that it has to offer. Whether you prefer sunbathing on a beach, exploring a city or venturing into a sea cave, you can see the natural beauty of Cuba wherever in the country you decide to visit.

Louie Santaguida and Green Homes: Top 20 Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly Today

Being environmentally-friendly is not just a fad, it’s a true necessity. We’ve all contributed to the destruction of our planet in one way or another, so it’s our responsibility to start reversing our effects by going green. According to Louie Santaguida, one of the pioneers of green building construction, going green provides a lot of benefits. It doesn’t have to entail too much effort or a big investment to go green, just start at home!

Here are some easy ways you can go green without breaking the bank:

  1. Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Even just a single replacement to a CFL bulb saves up to 400 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Unplug your appliances when you’re not using them. Gadgets like TVs can use up a lot of energy even when not in use since they’re on standby for an average of 17 hours a day.
  3. Use rugs on wooden floors. You can save up to 4% to 6% on your energy expenses.
  4. Open your blinds during the cold season. You let the sunlight in to warm up the house, and that can save you up to 10% on your heating.
  5. Turn down your thermostat just by a single degree °C. This can save you about $73 per year and you don’t really notice the difference anyway.
  6. Are you thinking of installing new hardwood flooring? Consider putting in bamboo flooring. Bamboo replenishes quickly as it’s the fastest growing plant in the world.
  7. Move your fridge in the shade. When it’s in the sun, it’s forced to work harder and uses up more energy.
  8. Stop opening the fridge too frequently as that can cost you up to $50 a year.
  9. When you’re buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star rating. These appliances use up to 10 to 50% less energy than their non-compliant counterparts.
  10. See if you can use a microwave oven instead of a conventional oven. The microwave uses 50% less energy.
  11. When you’re using your oven, keep it closed. Don’t check your cooking too often. Opening the oven door drops the temperature considerably so the oven needs more energy to bring the temperature back up.
  12. Improve the air quality of your home by growing houseplants.
  13. Use organic sheets instead of cotton linens. A full 25% of the insecticide use in the world is due to cotton linens.
  14. When you’re buying a new mattress, pick one that hasn’t been treated with toxic materials and synthetic chemicals.
  15. Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth.
  16. Check your faucets for leaks and fix them. A leaky faucet wastes up to 182 liters of water a week.
  17. Fix your leaky toilet as well. That can waste up to 757 liters of water a day.
  18. Prevent mold by opening windows, since mold is caused by excess humidity. Without the mold, there’s no need to use harmful chemicals to get rid of them.
  19. Don’t use tap water when you shave. Instead, use a cup of warm water.
  20. Put a cover on your pool when you’re not using it. This keeps the water from evaporating so you save on refilling water. The cover also keeps the water clean.

Re-use wasted paper and contribute to conserving the environment.

Last year when Leonardo DiCaprio won his much awaited Oscar; all of us around the world were emotionally moved by his speech on environment. We all for a brief moment thought about all the terrible things that we were doing that harm nature and how we’re terrible at maintaining our beautiful environment. Knowingly or unknowingly we are ruining what is remaining of this beautiful planet.

We don’t actively think but at time we all feel like contributing in some way. We mostly don’t know how to do that. Nowadays, we waste lot of our time especially during the day. Whether sitting in front of the television all day, going out to party all night, or using our money and time on games like poker or online casino – this has become our life. Not to say that this is wrong, but we could devote some of our time to environmental conservation too!

There are a lot of fun activities out there that one can engage in which will not only help conserve the environment but will also entertain you. Today we’ll talk about how one can re-use waste paper. There is so much wasted paper around us and it contributes to so much of the garbage lying all around the world. If everyone around the world starts to re-use this paper, imagine the amount of garbage that would be eliminated?
Let’s look at some fun things to do with old waste paper:

  • Make beautiful paper Mache with used newspapers and papers from notebooks.
  • Paper Mache as most of you created during school time are decorative items that are made using water and glue. Old newspapers and used papers from notebooks can be used to create this. This can also be a fun activity for children in your house. You can also use this to make small paper Mache bowls and plates to hold small things like keys, pen drives, or artificial jewelry.
  • Use up old newspapers and papers from old books for baskets.
  • You can make medium sized newspaper holder baskets using old paper. These baskets are good for holding magazines or newspapers. These also make for a nice decorative piece of art in your living room. You can also make carry bags using this.
  • Turn this into a fun drawing game for children.
  • You can involve your children and their friends into a creative gaming activity. Get small children to use paper & ice cream sticks to make bookmarks, or small dolls. Allow them to get creative with this. Little girls can make paper jewelry with this as well.

Why do kids have all the fun?

If you are a grownup this is the time to put your creative mind to work. You can make wall hangings and lamp shades which can be used around the house. You can also get together with your friends and start a small business of water based artifacts. This will make for a great success story. Won’t it?

You should understand why it’s important to re-use waste paper. Firstly, it takes a lot of water and cutting down of trees to make paper. The same paper is wasted and left to be useless. Instead of wasting the paper that has been made through a long process and letting it rot into garbage you should pledge to re-utilize it today.

Faster & Greener: The Advantages of Modular Construction

Modular construction today doesn’t resemble the temporary trailers and mobile homes of the past.  There are now countless applications for modular construction solutions, both for permanent housing and for commercial and industrial space.  Modular construction is fast becoming the construction method of choice in some regions and industries, and for good reason.  Here are the financial and environmental advantages of using this building method, whose popularity is taking hold around the globe.

Faster Construction Time

The way that we build homes hasn’t changed much in the past 40-50 years. Unfortunately, the construction industry has been reluctant to embrace and adopt some technology advances. There are a few companies, however, like ConXtech that are shaking up the industry with their new approach to modular construction, which is proven to save significant project time.

New modular construction technology allows architects to design a new building using software like AutoCAD or Revit, the auto-populate their design with steel framing sizes to create a “dimensionally accurate model of the frame early in the design phase.”

Once the structural design is ready, data files are exported to the CNC machines manufacture building components. The components are then assembled on site, with the entire process saving months over traditional construction methods. Multiple tradesmen can ready their parts and components simultaneously, using the dimensionally accurate model as a guide.

Lower Project Costs

These faster build times reduce overall labor costs on projects and make buildings ready for occupancy sooner, which becomes a revenue base for a commercial property.  Modular construction is also more precise, so there is less materials waste, which reduces the overall project cost.

Better Quality Control

One of the reasons that modular construction is gaining in popularity is the assurance of a quality product every time.  The manufacturing process itself is standardized with tight quality control to ensure the best product.  Unlike traditional construction projects that are exposed to the elements, modular construction takes place in a controlled environment, where problems like warped materials can be eliminated.

Customizable Designs

Increasingly, modular construction and design companies are able to customize projects to tailor the building to the client’s exact specifications.  The use of AutoCAD in design makes it simple for companies to make adjustments that require extra space or to customize a room for multipurpose use.

Durable Materials

Modular buildings are constructed with the most durable materials available, ensuring that each structure is built to last.  Materials are carefully selected to be economical, lightweight, safe, and durable.  Modular structures are also constructed to be airtight, which ensures their energy-efficiency.

Less Environmental Impact

There are several ways that modular construction benefits the environment.  Many modular construction buildings are built with eco-friendly materials, and this mode of construction is a market leader in the use of recycled materials.

Because modular buildings are constructed in an assembly line environment, the process uses less energy than traditional construction.  As we stated before, there is also less waste.  Many modular construction facilities also store their unused materials and recycle them for use in future projects.

Modular construction offers a more sustainable solution for both residential and commercial development.  These innovative designs are delivering environmentally-friendly projects that don’t sacrifice quality or style. Not only does this method of building bring projects to completion faster, but they will also come in at a lower price tag and last longer than those built with traditional construction methods.

Top Schools To Become A CFA

Are you considering pursuing your CFA alongside your bachelor’s or master’s degree? While CFA self-study materials are highly helpful, you may consider a school that will allow you to study for the CFA alongside your other degree. Here are some of the top schools for CFA certification:

Cornell University: Well known for its MBA program, Cornell University offers the opportunity for a CFA study program. Before attending, you should consider your options, CFA vs CPA certification. One may be a better fit than the other depending on your future career goals. Even with a university such as Cornell, you may still need to invest in CFA self-study materials.

IE Business School: Located in Madrid, Spain, this school gives you the opportunity to live abroad as you obtain your MBA and work through your CFA self-study materials. Madrid is a beautiful, historic city, and if you apply yourself, you can certainly pick up Spanish, and have a chance to network with the international business community.

Indiana University Bloomington: Located in Indiana, the university offers an MBA and a BS in Business along with the CFA study program. While pursuing multiple disciplines is challenging, it is certainly manageable.

Tulane University: Located in New Orleans, Tulane holds a strong reputation in the area of finance and can help you get connected with a variety of firms after graduation. You will still need to work hard to establish yourself, but having a well-connected network is always helpful.

There are many well rated schools both in the US and abroad that offer CFA certification alongside other areas of study. Websites like Crush The CFA Exam will help give you the training material to help pass your classes and the final CFA exam.  The school you choose will vary depending on your areas of study and other things that you may want to accomplish. The best course of action is to start with your specific list of goals and look for the top rated schools that meet your specific qualifications.

How to Decide Whether You Should Hire a Financial Advisor

With the onset of the New Year and tax season quickly approaching, you may be wondering to yourself whether you can handle your finances on your own this year.  You may feel like you are in a precarious financial situation, or perhaps you just want to reap the most benefit out of your finances this year.  No matter the position you are in there is a financial advisor can offer services that can turn your life around. With the help of a financial advisor, you may find yourself reaching goals you never dreamed you could achieve. Here are a few reasons you may want to hire a financial advisor:

You Need Help Establishing Goals

If you have difficulty establishing and keeping goals for yourself, you are not alone.  A financial advisor is essentially a coach who is schooled in helping reach your goals.  If you have an idea in mind, such as lowering your debt, a financial advisor can collect data on our accounts and create a feasible plan to help you get through it.  Likewise, if you are looking to create your own business or buy a house in the foreseeable future, an advisor will create a plan for you to make that happen.  Financial advisors see the “big picture.” They are able to project what you can achieve based on factors like your current status and even the state of the local or national market.

You Need Someone to Hold You Accountable

Let’s face it: some of us get a little more spend-happy than others.  Not everyone is money-minded, and that is okay.  If this sounds like you, using a financial advisor as a resource can help you with your monthly and yearly expenditure.  They will show you how to budget, how much you can and need to save, how to set up an emergency fund, and a whole host of other useful bits of knowledge that can keep your spending in check.  Some people may find that the presence of a financial advisor in their life is enough motivation to stay within spending boundaries and help with personal budgeting.

You’ve Experienced a Life-Changing Event

Whether you have lost your job, experienced the death of a spouse, have taken on elderly parents, or you or someone depends on you experiences health issues, there are times in your life where you will experience change.  Ease the burden of anxiety, depression, and frustration, by hiring an advisor to keep your budget in check.  No matter how complicated the situation, an advisor will be with you every step of the way to keep you motivated to push through to the other side in good financial shape.

You Can’t Navigate a Low Market

Markets rise and fall—for better or worse, it is a fact of life.  Do not feel overwhelmed that you do not understand the green and red numbers that tick across the New York Stock Exchange queue every day, a lot of people are right there with you!  Fortunately, a financial advisor’s forward-thinking skills can help devise a strategy to put you in a secure position should something happen.

Basic Education in Stocks, Bonds, and Investment

Maybe you are looking to expand and strengthen your assets.  You can go about it alone and educate yourself on the way, but some find it useful to consult with an expert.  As mentioned before, financial advisors are trained to see the big picture.  They can look beyond your budget and see big investment opportunities that you may be in the position to take advantage of.  If you are interested in buying real estate, owning stocks, or researching other investment opportunities, speak with an advisor to get expert advice on the topic to reap the most out of your endeavor.  On the other hand, you may not know all about the investments you already have.  For instance, you may not believe you pay into a 401(k) plan, but you certainly pay for the cost of the investments.  Sound confusing?  An advisor can put you at ease and lay everything out on the table for you so that you can understand.

Determine Your Needs

Before hiring a financial advisor, consider whether you need an analyst or accountant’s help. Financial advisors are well-suited for situations of investment options and money analysis. If you’re looking for help with tax resolution, a CPA might be the best bet. These individuals are well-versed in accounting practices and record keeping; they’ve taken rigorous CPA prep courses, passed the difficult CPA exam, and received their designation to practice accounting for the general public. Consider your needs before investing in financial assistance to ensure you make the right selection.

You need not feel at a loss to secure your finances, so invest in assistance to give you the confidence to move forward.

Urgent environmental action needed by Obama before Trump enters the White House.

The US election results are in and Donald J. Trump is the president-elect. It should be a time of jubilation in the United States, however his win is shrouded in darkness and uncertainty due to the ludicrous claims that he made on his campaign trail. Race, sex, ideology and science have all been in the firing line and with his ascension to the White House; his pulse is on a trigger that could send the world into an uncertain era.

Advocates for combating climate change and preserving the planet through sustainable initiatives are appalled at his election due to his dismissal of climate change.

Current US President Obama has taken significant action towards combating global warming and climate change. With less than three months left of his tenure, any environmental plans need to be put in motion. During the presidential race, Trump was vocal about unraveling everything that President Obama has done; with Obamacare being one of the first things in line, but environmental projects won’t be too far behind.

Steps towards using renewable energy are unlikely to go forward with a Trump presidency.

Despite President Obama’s initiative to rollout wind and solar energy, Donald Trump attacked him and his administration for proposing an inefficient solution. Donald Trump explained in one interview that while he was fond of the idea of solar power being used as a renewable energy source, the products that were being proposed weren’t economical and that people wouldn’t buy into them.

He was right in this case. The same thing happened with the rollout of LED light technology. Even though the lights have been around for more than 20 years, it’s only when they reached a price point where consumers would be able to see the financial savings payoff for the light bulbs after a few years that the popularity of LED lights started to take off. Donald Trump knows that a similar solution is needed, but at the moment, no formal solution has been proposed.

Another statement that he made that has environmentalists on the edge is that wind farms did more destruction to the environment than the current power sources such as coal and oil. His claims were unsubstantiated, but since he will be in power from 2017 it is likely that coal and oil power companies will receive a ‘Presidential Pardon’ for their carbon emissions and their impact on the environment.

The Paris Agreement could be torn to shreds.

Donald Trump bragged during his campaign about his ability to get the USA a good deal. And the environmental deal with the rest of the world in the form of the Paris Agreement was not a good one and he would get the US out of it!

The Paris Agreement was the world’s biggest chance for combating climate change by getting governments to reduce their economy’s carbon emissions and invest in sustainable technology that would help the environment. Even though over 190 countries ratified the agreement, the US is one of the leading culprits of carbon emissions along with China, Russia and India. Without US involvement, the agreement would be rendered useless.

President Obama can put laws and actions in place that can lay the essential groundwork for proactive sustainable measures that Donald Trump can build on. At the same time, those measures need to be difficult to unravel and Donald Trump’s motive towards sustainability to change.