What Are The Best Sofa Beds?

Your needs are the top priority, and you need to look into many things when you have prepared yourself to buy new furniture. Not many consider a sofa takes time or thinking. When you are planning to buy a new sleeper sofa you need to know your requirements forest then you can decide on what you are looking.

Do you have a big family with elders in it? You are not the only one who is going to spend more time in the hall. Retired elders are someone who needs an extra care and you have to make sure that you are taking care of their needs. Almost retired people spend most of their time in Talking to others, Watching TV, Snack time and Movies. Those who spend more time in the hall needs sofas that can comfort them. You can read these shower head reviews and choose the best shower head for your home.

Can you predict how many guests you are going to have at your home? if no, then isn’t it necessary for you to spend some time and think about how you can manage to comfort the guest who will spend 70% of the time in the hall.

Let’s look at sofas that can match your Requirements, Family and Guests.

Farina Sectional Sofa (Chestnut Italian Leather)

Who doesn’t a sofa which is not only made from the High-quality of leather? I wouldn’t complain about it. There are many brands who are focused on providing features that cannot be matched with another sofa in the country.

• These sectional sofas are easy to move and fit all houses.
• They do come at a high price but totally worth every penny.
• It’s easy to move, comfort and you can choose from different variant.
• One of the benefits you can have in these sofas that you can have a bed in the sofa which allows the elders to take a nap or watch movies while watching movies.
• The sofas come with 8 cushions, which will add more comfort and you don’t have to buy expensive matching pillows.
• The cushions are made from the same leather quality of sofa.

Chapman Modular Sofa (Cobalt)

When you have a huge family where you cannot compromise with the quality leather and the comfort. When you have a family above four, then you have to start thinking about how much does it cost and what are the sizes will fit your family.

• High-quality leathers are easy to clean.
• A not even ounce of wood is used in the build so that you can expect a steady, hard and rust proof sofa.
• An appropriate bed as well.
• You can customize it the way you want it to be.
• Lightweight sofa which allows you to customize it and move comfortably.
• You get 8 pillows, which are made from same leather quality and the pillow covers quality is number one.

Conclusion

Sofas are something which has to be very comfortable and should be able to fulfill the requirement of your family than guests. Finding the best one would be difficult, but with a little effort, you can do that. Which one suits you the most? Let us know in the comments.…

Paradise Found, On the Cheap

I woke up this morning to the sound of tropical birds singing from the bright green tangle of tropical trees outside my window at the Marriot Phuket Beach Resort. It’s paradise here, the trees verdant and lush, paths turning among the twisted trunks of trees and manicured grasses. Even the air feels alive here, thick and moving. Mai Khao Beach is a sliver of cerulean blue visible from the pools and open air of the hotel lobby, and when one walks to its shore, the power of the waves is enchanting. We’re not allowed to swim due to huge waves and a mean undertow, so I dipped my toes in, and the water is as warm as a bath.

This is the most beautiful place I have ever stayed in my life. Our apartment is two bedrooms, two bathrooms, with a living room, dining room and kitchen. There are three pools, one infinity, and plenty of lounge chairs where men wait nearby with towels and ice water. It feels like pure luxury here, and I am so happy and thankful to call this place home for three whole days.

And yes, I am staying at this luxury hotel ON THE CHEAP. It may seem surprising or even impossible, but I’m doing it! My travel companions, Neera and Amit Melwani, scored this place through a family connection. And we are staying here FOR FREE. To offset costs, we shopped at a cheap grocery store near the Phuket Airport, and bought a total of about $40 worth of groceries to last us for three days. Fresh fruit, bread, coffee, lunch meat, tuna, and the best Thai “ramen”  have ever had, which was thick and spicy just like a soup you’d get at a Thai restaurant. There are 11 restaurants here, but all we’ve eaten so far are sandwiches in our room, some chicken satay from a nearby vendor for $12 split three ways, and then tuna and ramen for dinner. We drank one big beer that we bought for $1. So, we’re in in the lap of luxury, being frugal, and it’s awesome.

Yesterday we explored the grounds, swam in two pools, and read while the day cooled down a few degrees and the breeze picked up to soothe us from the heat. Highs here are are around 93, but with humidity it feels more like over 100. But its cooler by the ocean, and staying by and in the water is a must.

The people here are beautiful and kind, graciously showing us around and accepting us into their country. I know I am in a cocoon here, that much of this country is poor and undeveloped. I saw some of this when I first arrived and stayed in a hotel by the airport. Many homes were in disrepair. Garbage lined the cracked streets, some which were paved, some just dirt and rocks. People stood around looking hungry. I hope to see more of this part of Thailand, which isn’t beautiful and perfect, but is reality. I feel very blessed and thankful to live the way I do.

My budget while visiting this country is $20 per day, and so far, I’ve stuck to it. After the Marriott Beach Club, we’ll hop a bus and then a ferry over to the Lower Gulf, and visit Koh Tao, Ko Pha Ngan, and possibly Ko Samui. If anyone has been there, I appreciate any tips!

When I travel, I feel such pure bliss. To experience another place, another culture, such beauty on this planet we call home, is something I will never take for granted. I think travel changes us, opens our eyes, shows us the world is so much bigger than the small space we orbit in. I hope all of us work to protect and treasure this magnificent blue marble we live on.…

Intentionally Houseless

The response to my article about living in a car and a tent to pay off debt in the crazy expensive San Francisco has been huge, and I want to thank everyone for reading and offering kind advice and reflections. The article was since picked up by the Huffington Post and Business Insider, which has led to all sorts of comments, some ruthlessly negative, others delightfully positive. Read my initial post..

The decision to publish an article about this lifestyle choice was very difficult for me, which is why I waited a over a year to do so. I was afraid of opening myself up to the masses, for ridicule, commentary and judgement. Living in a car and a tent isn’t exactly something many people like to admit they are doing, for in many cities it’s illegal, and in many social circles, looked down upon. I didn’t do it for publicity or to further my career, as some have insinuated, I did it to simply pay off debt and become financially ahead. Most people at my day job had no idea I had given up my home. It was a deeply personal choice, and wasn’t the easiest choice, but I have absolutely no regrets and would do it again.

I’ve since realized that using the word “homeless” wasn’t the right call. While technically I was homeless, I wasn’t socially homeless, or homeless in a dire and desperate sense. I thought calling it “intentional” would differentiate my situation, but I’ve realized the word is too riddled with pain and anguish. It’s not a word to toy with or use to describe a situation like my own. This is a point many people have sent my way, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. The term “intentionally homeless” has distracted many from the true point of my story, which is that sometimes it takes living uncomfortably to become financially ahead. So from now on, maybe we should call it “intentionally houseless”, as one reader suggested, or “living without a home.”

I was by no means comparing myself to people living on the streets. There are so many people who are evicted in San Francisco and have nowhere to turn. Many lose their jobs as well, and when hit with this doubly whammy, end up on the streets. To walk through San Francisco is heart-breaking, as more and more tents gather beneath freeways. The true homeless situation is growing and needs to be resolved. I am lucky that I had a choice. My situation is and was worlds different.

But now, honestly, I don’t have a choice. I don’t live on a sailboat to pay off debt and become financially ahead. I live on a sailboat without a kitchen or a bathroom because it’s my only option now that I don’t have a well-paying full-time job. It doesn’t make financial sense for me to rent in the Bay area even with regular voiceover work hours, not even a room in the East Bay. I can’t justify spending over half my income on rent.

As a result, I am expanding my job search to other cities, somewhere I can work full-time and rent a room without breaking the bank. Shelter is one of the top needs on Maslow’s hierarchy, and each and every city should have options for all income levels. This is San Francisco’s biggest issue.

Even though I’ve received my fair share of vitriol and anger for using the word “homeless”, I am hoping my story casts even more light on the dire housing situation in the Bay area. Luckily, not every comment has been angry. It’s amazing how many people are coming out of the woodwork, sharing their stories, saying they lived the same way I did. Some people lived in their office, others in a van, all to save money and pay off debt.

Living “houseless” the way I have hasn’t been easy, especially these last few months living on the boat. As my Mom said recently, “Many people aren’t willing to be uncomfortable even for a short amount of time to save money.” I guess I am willing to be uncomfortable, because I know at some point, things will change, and I’ll have money in the back to pay a deposit somewhere that’s probably not in San Francisco.

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A Fishing Boat to Paradise

On our last day on Ko Samui, we decided to walk down the beach and find a couple of local fishermen to take us out to an island called Ko Tan, about 5 kilometers off the south coast. They agreed, and for $2,000 Thai Bhat, or $57 bucks, we had a deal.

I wanted to go to Ko Tan because I heard it was off the beaten path, a place many tourists still don’t know about. In my hunt to find the “real Thailand”, I was stoked to have discovered this place.

At 8am Thursday morning, we met up with our fisherman. They pulled ashore in a ragamuffin, beat-up boat full of garbage, and anchored on the beach.

Despite the boat’s poor looks, I was thrilled. I was going on a real adventure, away from the tourist companies, the power boats packed with people, the fancy catamarans. I was going to ride on a boat the way the real Thais did every day.

We boarded, and I was surprised at how shallow the boat was. We sat on boards only 6-inches below the rim of the boat, and started motoring along. The ride was amazing. We buzzed just a couple kilometers away from Ko Samui with a warm breeze whispering over our faces, rustling our hair. I loved seeing the island from this perspective. The long beach I’d walked down. The warm water I’d swam in. The restaurants and lounge chairs where I’d sipped beers and read.

After about 40 minutes, Ko Tan came into view, along with other small islands and limestone rock formations jutting out of the sea. I thought it was so beautiful, with a Thai fisherman perched on the bow.

The island was so peaceful as we motored down a rock-lined passageway to the beach. There were no sounds but the wind in the trees and the boat slicing through water. No clubbing music, no tourists, no speeding cars and motorcycles on a nearby road. I felt like we’d reached paradise lost. Even a large bull thought so, soaking in the shallow surf nearby.

The boat anchored to shore by dropping one anchor in the back and another sticking into the sandy beach. Immediately, I was enthralled by the scene. The waving palm trees, the untouched beach, the Thai fishing boats in a row.

We wandered down the beach and stumbled upon a deserted restaurant and bar staffed by three French guys. They told us there was a coral reef 500 meters offshore. So, we lathered up with sunscreen, me with a sunshirt, and headed out armed with goggles.

The water stayed waist-deep for many, many meters, and eventually we decided to duck our heads and swim. In the shallow waters, I saw waving seaweed and small fish darting through the rocks. I saw coral that looked white, and when we raised our heads above the surface my friend Neera said, “See all this white coral? It’s bleached!” It was true, especially after she pointed out the difference between bleached coral and living. Bleached coral looks like bones, dead. Healthy coral is colorful, and I saw purples and blues and oranges and yellows. Coral bleaching has been happening around the world, when oceans become too warm. It broke my heard to see such devastation on this small island off the coast of Ko Samui.

We got deeper and reached the edge of the coral reef. The bottom plunged nearly 8 feet and we were able to swim along the edge. I saw the most beautiful coral of my life. Huge, colorful coral peppered with Nemo fish, yellow-and-black fish, spotted fish, schools of iridescent fish. I felt so alive, so happy in that moment, that I nearly forgot I was getting tired treading water, diving down, treading water again. Eventually, we left the beautiful coral and fish and headed back to shore.

Next was beers bought from the Frenchmen and a picnic at their empty facility. We all felt like we were in heaven, and wished we could have found islands like this to spend the majority of our trip on. We loved being away from the constant thrum of humanity. The beach was so calm, the jungle so lush here, far away from the developed feel, Koh Tao, Ko Samui and Phuket.

I wandered up the beach alone, looking at houses, saying hello to Thai women sweeping leaves in the humid, midday sun. I took pictures of a beautiful Thai boat anchored alone, and found another restaurant, this one humming with tourists who’d come out here to snorkel in the reef.

After lunch the Thai fishermen found us, and offered to boat us out to another snorkeling spot. We parked near the tourist boats, and this time, jumped in with life jackets so we could float and look at the teeming schools of fish.

Once again, I was astounded by the beauty in the deep beneath me, this universe of life that’s typically far away from the human eye. But then, I saw something that mortified me. Tourists were standing on the coral, adjusting their snorkels and masks, chatting with one another. STANDING ON CORAL. They were too far for me to swim to and tell them to get off the coral, but I couldn’t believe the guides were allowing this. The guides were also giving tourists bread to feed the fish, another huge no-no. I felt so saddened by this, that even the Thais weren’t respecting the natural beauty of their land. And its all because of tourists, money, greed, and lack of public education.

I left Koh Tan that day with a sense that we need to work harder to save our oceans. We are losing coral and fish at an astounding rate. We are killing marine mammals with loads of floating plastic. We are destroying Mother Earth. I wish there was something that can be done on a global scale to reduce trash, educate people, and decrease global warming and ocean acidification. I truly hope its not too late. The world depends on us.…

Scuba: The Unnatural Magic of Breathing Underwater

The first time I tried scuba diving off the beaches of Koh Tao, Thailand, I hated it. Bubbles swarmed my mask as I breathed in and out, going hand by hand down the slimy mooring line which stuck into a rock far below. My instructor Emma, from Sairee Cottage Diving, which I have to say she and it is truly awesome, beckoned me to follow, her eyes big and alive, a murky blue void beneath her, like nothingness. I breathed in, then out, accidentally through my mouth AND nose, and again, my mask filled with water. I couldn’t easily pop up and breathe like I could in the shallow waters of the swimming pool, where we had trained for hours the day before . There were feet of water above me, pressing down on me, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt claustrophobic, suffocated, and I grabbed Emma’s arms with my eyes wide and made the signal to go “up.” I was aborting this dive. I wanted to get back on the boat and never do this again. I closed my eyes and gripped her tightly as she led me back up the mooring line, where I tore off my mask and regulator to take in huge sips of real, muggy air.

“You’re breathing out of your nose,” she told me. “That’s why your mask is coming off. You were breathing fine in the pool yesterday. Remember, don’t breathe out of your nose. It’s not good for our bodies to go up and down over and over. So, let’s try again. You ready?”

Going down again was the last thing I wanted to do, but I agreed anyway. I knew I did great in the pool. I was able to take out my regulator and put it back in. I knew how to empty a flooded mask deep under water. I knew how to breath out of my alternate regulator, or a buddy’s regulator, in case of a problem. I knew how to make all different types of ascents. You can do this,  I told myself, don’t be a wuss.

Once again we let out air in our BCD (buoyancy control device) vests and slid down the mooring line. I grabbed the line with one hand and plugged my nose with the other, making sure I wasn’t breathing out. My mask didn’t take on so much water, and I could see. This was a start. We took the line down to 12 meters, or about 36 feet. I still disliked the experience, and felt trapped, knowing if there was a problem, there’s no easy way out. My mind flirted with What Could Go Wrong scenarios, and I struggled to quell my anxiety. Adrenaline shot through my body and my hands trembled. My breathing felt ragged. I closed my eyes several times, reminding myself to “Breathe in, breathe out. You’re safe. You have air. You can survive down here. It’s okay. Look at the fish. Breathe in, breathe out.”  I pretended I was meditating, or doing yoga, trying to put myself in the present and look at the beautiful coral and fish around me. I plugged my nose with one hand the entire dive, even during the exercises of partially flooding our masks while kneeling on the sandy bottom far below. I don’t remember much of this first dive, just my efforts to calm myself, the silence underwater, the fact that I could breath sweet, dry air in a watery world that humans should not have access to. I couldn’t wait to go back up.

When my feet hit the deck of the boat I was so relieved. But then, Emma said we had another dive that day. I didn’t know if I could handle it. I almost wanted to quit. But instead, the second time I jumped in, I hovered at the surface, practicing breathing out only through my mouth. I could do it!! I went down the mooring line with more confidence this time, my mask sticking firmly to my face. When we began to swim and practice our buoyancy at the bottom, I felt a sense of euphoria. I was doing it! I was swimming alongside beautiful tropical fish, schools of them darting in and out of the coral. Underwater plants swayed in the currents. It was a beautiful underwater world. No longer did I feel a sense of claustrophobia and suffocation. We practiced sharing regulators, doing controlled emergency ascents, losing our regulators, completely flooding our masks. I felt proud of myself, that I’d conquered something so unnatural and terrifying.

I did two more dives the following day, and each time, I felt more and more comfortable and confident underwater. Our final dive was just a “fun dive”, and I felt euphoric. I was weightless, the same feeling an astronaut would feel high above the earth. I was so mesmerized by the colorful tropical fish and coral that my instructor had to wave her light to get my attention several times. There were coral that looked like coils of brains. Another coral that looked like a hollow tree stump. Another that looked like a pink boulder. More that looked like spindly branches reaching from rock to sky. Others that looked like trees, swaying with the currents. I saw spiky sea urchins. A school of yellow fish moving in formation above me. Nervous tiny fish darting and flirting with the plants. It was incredible, and I felt so fortunate to be experiencing such teeming, exotic life. Scuba is opening up a whole new world for me, where I can be even further connected to our natural world.

I’ve come to realize that scuba diving is all mind over matter. Believing the equipment will work. Trusting in myself. Staying in the present. Breathing slowly and deeply.  Moving carefully and slowly. Observing life around me. Knowing my body can handle two, three, four times the pressure of the atmosphere above water. I am strong. I am knowledgeable. I can do this. I am a certified open water scuba diver, and a world of ocean is waiting.

String Theory: What’s Next After the Layoff

When I got laid off from my job as a news reporter at KGO Radio over two weeks ago, I started immediately thinking about my expenses. There was no way I could afford a room on a houseboat and membership at a fancy gym on my unemployment wages, which would equal a meager $1800 per month. I’d only have $200 to spare without dipping into my savings.

So, I did what any budget-minded person would do, who’s flexible and willing to get rid of everything and live out of suitcases, without a kitchen, laundry room, shower, internet, you know, all those creature comforts of 21st century life. I put in my  30-days notice on the houseboat with plans to move onto a sailboat, and cancelled my membership at the San Francisco Bay Club.

While this might seem traumatic and dramatic and crazy to some, to me, I felt only freedom. I thanked my lucky stars that I don’t have a mortgage or a car payment or children or debt. I can use my unemployment to sustain me without breaking the bank. I can travel while looking for job opportunities without paying for rent. I can work on my own blog and brand and travel writing, with the dream of one day being a travel writer, an essayist, something that involves creativity and writing and exploration.

I used budget string theory to become free.

Then, I started thinking of ways to make my life interesting and diverse and adventurous. Often, I think people can start to lose themselves, their identity, their drive when they become unemployed, especially from a profession they’ve thrown their entire heart and soul into. I am determined to not let that happen to me.

So, I booked a trip to Southern California (using credit card points), to see my Mom and Grandma for Mother’s Day. This trip will be mostly free.

I booked a three week trip to Southern Thailand for only $740 roundrip, with plans to travel there on $20 per day. This entire trip will equal the same amount or less than my houseboat rent.

I plan to look up gym specials on Groupon or Living Social, so I can try out a variety of gyms and yoga studios and workout classes for far less than the $210 per month Bay Club.

And I plan to look for work, pitch my writing, practice my craft.

Some people think being unemployed is devastating. I think its just the start of an adventure. Because hey, “I’ve got the world on a string.” The next chapter has begun.

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