5 Timeless Rules for Home Recording Studios

The Beatles

Always dreamed of setting up your own home recording studio? If you have (1) the passion to create and record music and (2) the space to spare for your very own studio, then here are some timeless rules that you need to bear in mind. Whether you’re just starting out or you already have a bit of experience in a professional studio, these tips will help you produce quality audio output, each and every time.

Ringo & John

Having the Right Recording Booth is Essential

First off, make sure that you set up a viable space that you can use as a recording booth. After padding up the walls with acoustic foam, it’s time to draw out an organized plan, which often involves building a booth out of scratch. One tip that many sound engineers swear by is to create a quasi diamond-shaped recording booth.

This way, you won’t have standing waves bouncing off opposite walls. Also, pick building material that you’ll be able to easily work with. MDF for example won’t bend or warp the same way plywood would. Setting up a recording booth will require a bit of carpentry skills, so if you don’t think you can handle the project on your own, look for someone who can help you out.

The Better the Mic, the Better the Sound

This is one rule that you need to remember always. Your microphone doesn’t necessarily have to be the most expensive, you just need one that can give you the clearest sound possible. Sure, you may be able to do a couple edits on the track, but there’s no point in working on audio that was recorded poorly from the get go. If you’re going to spend money on recording equipment anyway, make sure that you invest in a couple of good microphones.

The Beatles Recording

Have Spare Gear in your Studio Always

Invest in extra basic items in your studio if you want to avoid unnecessary delays in your recording sessions. Things like guitar strings, drum sticks, and even microphone cables may see a bit trivial, but these are the little pieces that may just save your next session.

Hit the Save Button Often

Recording and mixing audio can turn out to be very tedious tasks, so make the “Save” button your best friends during all your recordings. There’s nothing worse than losing hours on a project just because you forgot to save the session. This is especially crucial if you’re already running your studio as a business and you’re dealing with paying clients. Have a dedicated external hard drive that you can use to back up sessions nightly so that you won’t miss a beat.

Young Paul McCartney

Keep your Operations Simple

This is the rule to remember every time you make a major decision in the creation, maintenance, and upgrade of your studio. Resist the urge to get all fancy in your work. Doing too many vocal overdubs, or recording an instrument in stereo when mono can suffice, won’t just cost you hours – it will also mess up the tone and originality of the sound. Let the music speak for itself. If it’s good enough to record in the first place, you don’t need to compromise clarity with too many edits.

Hey home studio enthusiasts! Have any timeless home recording rules that you live by? Let us know by commenting below!

Tips & Tricks on Child-Proofing your Living Room

Child-Proofing

Having a child around can be pure joy. The cute giggles, the adorable smiles, and the meaningless babbles can make all your troubles disappear. But this joy can quickly be replaced by worry when your toddler starts walking around and bumping into things in your living room. What’s a young parent to do? Child proof of course! Here’s a list of tips and tricks to help you get started on child-proofing your living room, minus the mess and the stress.

Protect that Couch

A white couch can exude style and class, but it can easily turn into a disaster area when left in the hands of a messy toddler. If you’re not willing to give up that white couch just yet, look for stylish fabric and have it made into a fitted sheet that will help to protect it. Opt for a thick fabric so that you’ll be able to protect even the polyurethane foam from the random milk and juice spills.

Get Rid of your Coffee Table

No matter how much you love that coffee table, you need to shift your priorities once your child starts walking. Why? Because now it’s a matter of choosing between your quirky coffee table and your child’s safety in your home. Coffee tables are often just the right height for your newly mobile child that if he or she trips and falls, it would be easy to hit his or her head on the edge. Banning coffee tables from your living room for the meantime may take some getting used to, but you really have no other choice.

Take Note of Accident Prone Areas

These involve but are not limited to electrical cords and expensive displays. Check your living room to see if there are areas that you need to block off or furniture pieces that you need to rearrange. One of the first things that you can do is block off electrical outlets with bulky pieces of furniture. This way, you won’t find your child messing with any electrical wires or telephone cords.

Replace your Decor

Decorative objects can really spruce up your living room. Glass vases and antique table top clocks can be quite charming to look at, but totally inappropriate for a toddler to play with. Replace your heavy and fragile decor with things that would still be interesting to have in your space. Look for all natural decor pieces that your child won’t be able to easily put in his or her mouth.

Pay Attention to Carpet Care

Little feet always getting stuck in the corners of your living room carpet? Have it fitted with a carpet pad! This can also prevent tripping and slipping on your living room floor in the future. We highly recommend that you take extra measures to keep the carpet area clean with mild carpet cleaners. You wouldn’t want your toddler crawling around on a carpet full of germs and dirt.

Have any child-proofing tips that you would like to share? We’re looking forward to reading your comments in the section below!

9 Party-Proofing Tips for your Home’s Survival

Party

We all love a good house party. And although playing the role of host can be very exciting, it can also be stressful. Aside from planning the menu, getting the entertainment set, and decorating your venue, you also need to deal with party-proofing your home.

From making sure that stains on your polyurethane foam are quickly dealt with, to rearranging furniture so that your guests will have space to walk around and mingle, we’ve come up with a list of ten party proofing musts that can help you prepare your home for your next big bash.

Opt for a Dinner Party

If you want to keep the eating and the drinking in the dining room, opt for a sit down dinner party. As host, this is one of the easiest parties to pull off, plus you don’t have to worry about any potential spills that could happen on your beloved sofa or living room rug.

Keep Valuables Secure

Before you invite guests over, make sure that you secure delicate items from being ruined by a spilled drink. If you have irreplaceable art or fragile figurines, you might want to store them away for the meantime.

Choose Bigger Glasses

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the glass, the better. This is especially true for those who want to get their drink on. Martini glasses may look all hip and fancy, but they can be hard to hold while dancing or mingling around the room. Consider using wine or cocktail glasses instead.

Be Generous with Paper Towels

Paper towels can be the ultimate lifesaver at a party so don’t be stingy and hide them all in the kitchen. Make it easier for your guests to get their hands on paper towels by making them available all over your home.

Make Plastic your Best Friend

If you’re not setting up anything formal, make plastic your best friend at your next party. Save yourself the trouble of doing dishes and just enjoy the party with your guests instead. There are a lot of stylish disposable plastic products that you can use that will make your party hosting duties much easier.

Keep Shoes by the Front Door

Shoes can bring in so much dirt and grime into your home, especially during the rainy season. One way that you can take care of this problem is by setting up a shoe area by the front door. Just don’t forget to provide slippers that your guests can use.

Set up a Dance Floor

Check your area and see if you have space for a dance floor. Try to play around with your current furniture setup so that you can ensure a comfortable party space for your guests. Clear away things that people may trip on.

Uninvite your Pets to your Party

We all love pets, but not if they’re going to wreak havoc on your party. Unless they’re amazingly house trained, then you might want to keep your pets away from the party in the meantime.

Stock up on Stain Removers

Lastly, never underestimate the power of a good stain remover. Accidents happen, even more so at lively parties where people just can’t help but have a good time. This is why you can never go wrong with a good and all around stain remover.

Did we miss out on any party proofing tips that you would like to add? Don’t forget to share those helpful hints in our comments section below!

Vacation Ventures: 10 Sightseeing Items you can’t Leave Without

Let's Travel

Travelling to a new place and experiencing what it has to offer can be a joy. While there are some who prefer to travel light, there are also others who would feel more secure bringing all their necessities with them.

Whatever your travelling style may be, it’s important that you don’t forget to bring the essentials. And we’re not just talking about taking carrying two towels, three pairs of shoes, and an extra blanket for the hotel bed with you. Here’s a checklist of 10 sightseeing must-haves that will make your adventure all the more unforgettable:

The Right Outfit

First off, make sure that you wear the right outfit for your trip. This is the best time to prioritize comfort over fashion, especially if you’ll be walking around a lot.

Cash

Cash is king no matter where you go, so it’s important that you always carry just the right amount at all times. Keep a bit of extra moolah in a secure place other than your wallet for special emergency cases.

Travel Docs

If you’re travelling overseas, always keep your travel documents in a zip lock bag tucked away in your carry-on bag. This way, you’ll know where to easily find everything when it’s time to show them to the proper authorities.

Your Digital Arsenal

No trip would ever be complete without taking a few photos here and there. Before you leave, be sure to invest in extra memory and pack your camera charger. Don’t forget your plug converter if you’re travelling abroad.

Maps

If you’re visiting a specific destination for the first time, make sure to carry a map of the area at all times. Exploring uncharted territories can be a lot of fun, but not if you’re going to waste precious time trying to find a specific landmark and getting lost.

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is absolute must if you’re travelling with kids. Better safe than sorry for those small medical emergencies.

Protection from the Elements

It’s also important that you carry items that will keep you from getting overexposed to the weather. Pack your sunglasses, umbrella, and a bottle of your favourite sunscreen lotion in your bag. Don’t let a bit of rain or sun stop you from enjoying the sights!

A Good Book

Hate waiting? Then having a good book in your bag can really be a lifesaver. It’s definitely going to come in handy during those unexpected delays in the airport, or if you just want to spend some quiet alone times at a local cafe.

Light Snacks and Drinks

Time can pass by so fast when you’re having so much fun. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling a bit hungry or thirsty from all the fun activities you’ve been doing. Make it a point to have a couple of energy bars and some clean drinking water with you whenever you set out of an adventure.

Assorted Knick Knacks

It’s ok to pack a few of your non-essentials if you feel it’s going to make travelling much easier for you. Little things like a small notebook and pen, loose change in local currency and maybe even a small telephone book can prove to be useful at the right circumstances.

7 Simple & Affordable Ways to Wow your Hotel Guests

Russell from UP

We all know that a carefully planned out marketing plan can draw guests into your hotel. But once their bags are in the lobby and they’re checked in, are you still bothered to impress them? Keeping guests happy goes beyond providing them with a decent meal and a comfortable hotel mattress. You need to pull out all the stops to make sure that they’re not just happy with your service, but they leave your hotel completely satisfied. Here are ten simple and yet affordable ways to wow your hotel guests.

Amaze Face

Make the First Impression Count

First impressions always count so make sure that you put your best foot forward even before your guests arrive. One way that you can reach out to your guests is by sending them an email or personalized text message confirming their reservation a week or so before their hotel booking. Let them know that you’re looking forward to welcoming them personally at your hotel.

Watch their Body Language

There’s really no way to tell what your guests have been through prior their arrival at your lobby. For long distance travelers especially, flight delays, bad weather, and fretful children can take the stress to a whole new level. Watch your guests’ body language carefully and offer them something that could take their mind off the stress. Whether it’s a sympathetic smile, or a cold drink, let your actions reassure them that you’re there to help.

Daniel Radcliffe

Be Faithful in the Little Things

This involves making sure that everything is in its proper order. From keeping the vicinity pristine, to ensuring that the staff is able to do their jobs well, you need to uphold the high standard that you want your hotel to be known for. Just because your hotel isn’t fully booked doesn’t mean your staff members can slack off at work.

Remember Names

Always make it a point to remember your guests’ names. Returning guests will love that their recognised and remembered, while first time guests will surely appreciate being addressed by their names. But apart from just remembering, do take note of your guests’ little quirks. When you anticipate their needs, you’ll be able to deliver not just better, but genuine service.

Wow

Offer Suggestions

One foolproof way to wow out-of-town guests is by offering them suggestions on local activities and events that you think might interest them. Do a bit of research and include noteworthy event and restaurant information in their welcome kits.

Let Them In on Some Local History

Everyone likes to feel like they’re a part of something bigger, so be ready to share with your guests a slice of the local history. No matter where you are in the world, there’s always a great story just waiting to be told. Like if you happen to be a manager of one of the world’s oldest hotels, why not tell your guests about the generations that kept the hotel alive?

James Franco

Look After the Kids

Travel has become more and more a family affair these past years, so it should be part of your business model to cater to the young generation. Creating a welcome pack that suits the age and gender of the children staying in your hotel would be highly appreciated.

Do you still remember the last time you were wowed by a hotel? Are there any tips that we missed out? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Stories of Exceptional Hotel Service to Learn from

Hotel Service

Top notch hotels pride themselves in the quality of service that they are able to deliver. Apart from room upgrades, special perks, and well-trained staff, the world’s best hotels are constantly finding ways to cater to their guests’ every whim and desire. If you want to be known for exceptional hotel service that goes beyond providing a comfortable hotel mattress and set breakfast to your guests, then here are five stories that you can learn a lot from.

Be Mindful of your Guests’ Needs        

Luxury hotels may be known for their breathtaking views and state of the art amenities. But no matter how grand a hotel’s facade is, it’s the little things that the staff does that will create the most impact.

“I had overslept and needed to finish some work and checkout quickly so I could make my flight back home. The butler had brought in my breakfast and saw that I was rushing. He asked if I needed anything and I sarcastically replied “Well unless you can pack my bags.” All I heard was a “why of course” and then he proceeded to perfectly fold all my dress clothes into my bags in a few minutes.” – Saikat B.

Create a Homey Environment

Entertaining guests with children can be a tad stressful, but by developing a family mindset among your staff, you can create a homey environment that your guests will surely love.

“I recently checked in and requested a cot for my daughter. When I arrived they had put a cot in the room, put a couple of blankets in the cot but also left a champagne bucket on the side, a kettle, some still water, a few small soft towels and a teddy bear with a note saying ‘we do not have a bottle warmer available however please feel free to use the champagne bucket as a substitute alongside hot water. We have also provided mineral water in case you have milk formula and a complimentary teddy bear for company, hopefully this will be the first of many happy nights here for your family, best regards’.” – Anthony S.

No Problem Too Big or Small

There’s no such thing as a hopeless situation when you have courteous staff who are also creative problem solvers.

“I unintentionally booked a room with 2 queen beds, instead of 1 king.  At check-in, when I realized this, I asked if there might be any king rooms available; the hotel was booked to capacity and there was nothing. I didn’t raise too much of a fuss, though, and assured the front desk manager — despite his constant apologies — it was my fault for having booked the wrong room type, and appreciated their looking in to availability nonetheless.” 

“I dropped off everything at my room and left the hotel for a number of meetings I had in town that day. When I returned to the hotel in the evening, I found a note from the manager apologizing for my having gotten the wrong room type (even though it was my own fault!).  More impressively, though, they had actually disassembled and removed the 2 queen beds that were in the room, and brought in a spare king bed and set that up; while they had no king rooms available, they did have some king beds and used one to turn my room in to what I wanted.

“What’s more, they did all of that for just a single night as they upgraded me to a suite that had become available (with king bed) the next night until the end of my stay.” Brian D.

Value What your Guests Value

And that doesn’t just pertain to their personal belongings. If you want to create a lasting impression, make sure that you value your guest’s time as well.

“At the airport when I checked in, I was told, ‘United desk X has a message for you.’ The message was from the hotel.  It said, ‘When cleaning your room, we found a purse and gave it to an Airport Limousine driver. It will arrive at Narita airport at XX:XX.’  The time was five minutes after reading the message. Nothing was missing.” Dick K.

Go Beyond the SOP

Always be sincere with your action. It’s one thing to say you care, but to actually care and go way and beyond for your guest’s welfare? That right there is being truly exceptional.

“A day or two after checking in, I came down with a pretty bad case of the flu.  I limped thru one day of meetings, but finally surrendered, called my clients and cancelled my meetings.

When the maid service knocked on the door, I explained I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t need their services for a day or two.  An hour later I got a call from the manager asking if she could help in anyway.  I told her I was fine and just needed to ride it out. She said she understood, and hoped I wouldn’t mind that room service had just left a bowl of soup and pitcher of orange juice outside my door.  I would never have ordered it for myself, but it was an absolute godsend.

Over the next two days, I would hear a very discreet knock on the door and open it to find small, healthful snacks — fruit, tea, toast, broth — it was as if my fairy godmother was nursing me back to health.” Andy E.

Know of any stories about exceptional hotel service that you’d like to share? Dare to inspire us by letting us know in the comments section below.

5 Artsy Hotels you should Visit before you Die

Outstanding wall art, neon lights, and surprising art installations – these are just some of the things you’ll never see at your local Holiday Inn. Since travelling has always been about taking in new experiences and enjoying new sights, why settle for the typical lodging when you can stay at fancy hotel rooms designed to stimulate your sense for adventure?

Before you start dreaming of sinking into that comfortable hotel mattress on your next holiday, check out our list of five artsy hotels that’s definitely worth checking into:

Hotel du Petit Moulin

Hotel du Petit Moulin, France

Framed by world renowned designer Christian Lacroix, the Hotel du Petit Moulin in Paris embodies just what the city is all about. With just the right touch of whimsy and feminine charm, this boutique hotel overflows with intricate details and luxurious fabrics. The hotel’s 17 rooms are designed in their own unique themes, allowing hotel guests to experience what the Le Marais district has to offer. Romantics, art enthusiasts, and fashionistas have all fallen in love with this once 17th century bakery turned Parisian sanctuary.

Byblos Art Hotel

Byblos Art Hotel, Italy

At first look, you’ll think the Byblos Art Hotel is just another manor in the Italian countryside. But once you step inside, you’ll be amazed with the artsy interior that combines both classic furnishings with cool modern artwork. It is by far one of the best examples of putting together the old and the new, resulting into a tasteful Italian getaway.

Another awesome thing about the Byblos is that it also houses contemporary artwork from the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Beatriz Millar. Check into any of the hotel’s three suites – the Presidential, the Baroque, and Mendini’s Cult – to experience the high life on grand scale.

Wanderlust Hotel

Wanderlust Hotel, Singapore

Try imagining the most artistic hotel room you can and you might probably end up with something like the Wanderlust Hotel in Singapore. Each room at this boutique hotel feels like an art exhibit, from the industrial glam lobby, to the neon colored rooms, and origami themed rooms. On the top floor, the Creature Comforts area offers an array of surreal rooms that will play on every hotel guest’s sense of childlike wonder. Overgrown typewriter gone mad, anyone?

The Winston Hotel

The Winston Hotel & Bar, Amsterdam

You’d never guess from the sedate exterior of The Winston that this hotel has so much life on the inside. Fitted with its own club and bar, visitors flock The Winston not just for drinks, but also for the creative rooms that they’re best known for. Located in the city’s infamous Red Light District, it’s quite a shock that this unique establishment is considered as a budget hotel. Even if you’re not staying at The Winston when you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to check out the mini art gallery at the hotel’s club bathroom just for giggles.

Le Bellechasse Hotel

Le Bellechasse Hotel, France

Last but not the least, we present another creation from Christian Lacroix. Located just across the Hotel du Petit Moulin, The Le Bellechasse offers guests the opportunity to live in luxurious digs. This dreamy hotel boasts of Renaissance era paintings and old world imagery updated with the modern conveniences of a state of the art hotel. Whether you prefer the Victorian era, or bright and bold prints, there’s a room at The Bellechasse that’s guaranteed to take your breath away.

Have any artsy hotels on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments section below!