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"Making it" in America

"Making it" in America means you've reached a level of success, comfort and security that you find wholly satisfying. It means you've arrived. It's time to relax and enjoy! While the components that comprise a "made it" life can vary dramatically from person to person, in more ways than you might expect, people agree on what it means to "make it" in America!

Making it in America

Unsurprisingly, money is one of the defining aspects of "making it", and for good reason. According to respondents, nearly half (42 percent) state they want to earn more money and enjoy the privileges it affords, such as never worrying about medical bills, and having the abilities to loan money to family and friends and to donate significant amounts to charity. Despite the want for more money, people are not overly greedy; in fact, 77 percent of respondents would not want more than $1 million in annual income, even if it was offered. But a little more surely gives people the sense of more control and security for when life's curveballs come their way.

Work is another major part of people's lives, so it stands to reason that significant work accomplishments and characteristics constitute "making it." Overall, it seems that work and life are relatively in balance. Sure, respondents said they want more quality time outside of work, and vacation, but in terms of the day-to-day, many are close to reaching their ideal situation. People want shorter commute times (from 17 to 10 minutes), more vacation time (from 2.8 weeks to 5.3 weeks), and to work less hours (from 34 to 31 per week). Thirsty-six percent of people have already "made it" in regards to vacation time and 44 percent have "made it" with numbers of hours worked each week.

If people want more quality time, who are they sharing that time with? Seventy-nine percent stated that getting married is a signifier for "making it", whereas 21 percent say being single is the ideal. Other facets include having children (four out of five consider it a requisite of "making it"), and having enough best friends nearby — 69 percent already have the number of best friends they want. Relationships are a top priority to most people because 61 percent of those surveyed have already "made it" regarding their social circles.

It's interesting to see how people feel their lifestyle would change once they hit their personal milestones. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents said that freedom, or autonomy, is not a value they actively pursue now, and 37 percent define "making it" as having the freedom to live life on their terms and not answer to others. What would people do if they didn't have obligations? Twenty-three percent said they'd spend their time exploring, 17 percent would relax, and 28 percent said they'd enjoy time with friends and family.

While the term "making it" doesn't have a concrete definition, people seem to want the same general things: more money, less responsibility, and more time to focus on personal goals and relationships. That doesn't seem so hard to achieve, now does it?

Luxuries We Can't Live Without

After basic elements for survival are met—food, water, shelter — what modern luxuries do you consider indispensable? And what could you honestly do without? We surveyed 1,000 people and asked them about common American "luxuries" — smartphones, dishwashers, personal trainers, etc — then we rated their answers based on commitment level and cost. See how people responded below!

Luxuries We Can't Live Without

It's no surprise that Internet access and smartphones rank at the top, each with the highest score of the lot. Nearly all basic needs, as well as convenience needs, can be researched or accessed through the Internet. As a bonus, the Internet also provides entertainment and communication, thanks to devices like smartphones. Yes, one can survive without a computer in their pocket (civilization managed just fine before 2007, when the iPhone made its debut) but with so much information and connectivity at our fingertips, Internet-enabled smartphones are as ingrained into our daily lives as food, water and shelter.

The scores for entertainment luxuries boil down to personal preference. Mostly men, singles, and Millennials rated items such as premium headphones and music streaming services like Spotify as more essential, and women and Gen-Xers gave premium cable TV and DVR recorders higher scores than their counterparts. Everyone agreed that flying first class was a lower priority, but travel in general rated quite high.

After entertainment, food and drink landed in the mid-grade area on the essential luxury list. Eating out at restaurants, buying lunch during the work week, and eating organic produce all rank high on the index, mostly because of the higher cost associated with these activities. Responders recognize that there are cheaper ways to eat—for example, brown bagging their lunch and buying canned produce instead of fresh—but the convenience, lifestyle match and social aspects make eating out and higher quality foods very popular.

A category as broad as household items allowed for a wide range of what's essential and what's not. Having a clothes dryer, a dishwasher, and a microwave ranked among the higher items for "needs" because while there are alternatives — air drying your clothes, washing dishes by hand, using an oven—the convenience and speed of modern appliances make these items as close to essential as they come. Items like a Jacuzzi and maid service, while convenient and personally appreciated, aren't nearly as crucial to daily care and health.

Surveys like this show that while we may live in the Digital Age and technology is constantly outsourcing more and more tasks to automated machinery, we are only one power outage, Internet service disruption, or zombie apocalypse away from relying on just the basics. It's good to remember what's essential and what's simply a luxury.

The Ultimate List to Vacation Rental Upgrades

When you rent out your pad, it’s not enough to throw down a few pillows on a ratty couch and hope for the best. If you want a 5-star review, you’ve got to provide guests a 5-star experience. And we know just how to do just that. Below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all the ways you can attract bookings over your competitors and nab glowing reviews after guests finish their stay.

AirBnB Upgrade List 1 AirBnB Upgrade List 2 AirBnB Upgrade List 3

You want your listing to be competitive, right? At the most basic level, here’s what some of your top competitors have stocked up on: non-alcoholic beverages, cooking oils and hygiene supplies. WI-FI isn’t an issue, there’s a code-based lock to enter, and guests know their recycling/composting options. No dirt or dust, either—your place must be clean.

A little effort, especially with personal touches, can go a long way to making a big impression. And good news: You don’t have to spend big bucks. You could write a list of your favorite go-to activities, recommended restaurants, or even offer first-time Uber/Lyft passes. If you’ve talked to your guests beforehand, leave them something you think they’d like—maybe passes to a yoga studio, gym or comedy club. Throw in slippers and a yoga mat and your guests might confuse you for the Four Seasons.

There are some low-cost entertainment options you could add in, too. Books, board games, and a nice TV cable package won’t set you back too much—and will keep guests entertained on rainy days. Bonus points if you want to install a surround sound system.

You can create your own “home away from home” for under $500 with fancy soaps, a nice coffee pot, a water filter and luxurious pillows/sheets/towels. A high-end mattress will cost more than $500, but adds to the comfort of a stay.

You want your guests to have an easy, hassle-free vacation at your home. Anticipate what your guests will need, by providing relatively low-cost items like a luggage rack, a toaster and USB charging ports/international power adapter.

Let’s say you want to create a little atmosphere, but you’re on a tight budget. Here are two quick fixes you could make for under $100: install remote control dimmers and blackout blinds. If you’re willing to spend a little more, think about getting the walls repainted, add some new artwork or shop around for some stylish furniture. And if you want to go all out, splurge on a luxury rain shower with a bench. After your guests have been exploring your hometown all day, there’s nothing better than coming back to a shower like that!

Thermosoft Issues Warm Floor Advisory for Halloween

Key Thermosoft employees were stationed at the reception desk of the company’s international headquarters in Vernon Hills, IL to warn visitors to avoid placing candy on their warm floors this Halloween. While it has long been known that candy can melt at elevated temperatures, (think of M&M’s melting in your mouth but not in your hand), the association between warm floors and melting candy is relatively recent, owing to the increased popularity of heated flooring and the easy installation of modern electrical floor heating systems.

Candy can be compromised by the elevated temperatures of warm floors which can reach upwards into the low 80’s (degrees Fahrenheit). While floor temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s are especially conducive to delightfully cozy Halloween evenings for people and pets, especially after long hours of trick-or-treating on a cool night, these temperatures can be compromising especially for chocolate.

Thermosoft is a USA manufacturer of electric radiant floor heating systems that are easy to install, affordable and energy saving. To assist the public in identifying candies susceptible to melting on warm floors, Thermosoft issued the following list:

Almond Joy, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Heath Bar, Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kat, Milk Duds, Milky Way, Mounds, 3 Muskateer, Nestle’s Crunch, Nestle’s Chocolate, Oh Henry, Raisinets, Reese’s, Rolo, Snickers, Sno Caps, Payday, Peppermint Pattie, Tootsie Roll, Twix, Whoppers.
ThermoSoft Halloween 2016
Top: Witch (e-commerce), Captain Morgan (marketing)
Bottom: Wizard (webdev), Sally (accounting), Pikachu (sales)

The above list is not all-inclusive and other candy types and brands may be affected by heated flooring. If unsure about which candies will melt on a warm floor, Thermosoft advises placing candy in an inconspicuous area of the floor under adult supervision. If melting commences, please include it with the above list and retain for future reference.

Hard and chewy candies may benefit from some floor warming to induce softening. These include Bit-O-Honey, Charleston Chews, Dots, Laffy Taffy, Mary Jane and Sugar Babies. If in doubt about the potential benefits of floor warming to soften hard and chewy candy this Halloween, please test as mentioned above.

Thermosoft wishes everyone with warm floors a safe and luxuriously comfortable Halloween. Don’t have warm floors? There’s still plenty of time to install heated flooring before Thanksgiving!

Let Warm Floors Greet Your Guests this Holiday Season

Snowflake lantern

Torch-lite walkway, glowing entry, chestnuts roasting on the open fire, wassail simmering on the stove; these are some of the ways to make your home warm and inviting for the holidays. But if your guests will be spending a night or two, they will really appreciate warm floors in your bathrooms.

If you’re going to spend time cleaning the bathroom floors anyway, and quite possibly cleaning or repairing the grout this year, why not update the tile and while you’re at it, add soothing warm radiant floor heat. Radiant floor heat makes cold, hard tile floors feel warm and soft.

What’s more, electric radiant floor heat is easy to install. It only takes one or two days to complete a bathroom floor and $400-$575 in floor heating materials for a 30-60 square foot bath. Once you’re done pampering your guests, your investment will pay-off in your family’s enjoyment of warm floors for a lifetime.

Add to that the potential energy savings, and your warm floor becomes a good investment as well as an affordable luxury. The more heated flooring you have, the greater the potential for you to save energy by turning down the main thermostat. Incredibly, you will feel warmer while saving money because electric radiant floor heat is more effective and more efficient than convection heating systems.

If you feel like going all out this year, consider heating the kitchen floor where everyone congregates or the basement floor where the kids will be playing. Innovative electric floor heating systems have been designed for every type of floor covering and every room in your home. You can do it yourself or find a contractor. Everyone loves the comfort of warm floors.

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