Behind your doors and windows lies everything you hold dear. Your family, pets, important documents, expensive laptops and televisions, and any number of things rely on the hope that no one will break into your home. In spite of this, many people choose not to take the best safety precautions available, whether it is because they feel safe in their neighborhood or they think they can’t afford a security system.

As home security technologies advance, homeowners and renters get a growing selection of security systems. Finding a security system that works with your budget while still keeping you safer is possible. However, learning about the various systems and choosing one that works best for your needs is the hard part. In this article, we’ll cover the basic types of security systems and what they offer so you can make the best decision for your home and family.

Monitored or unmonitored

One way of dividing up security systems is monitored and unmonitored. Monitored systems depend on landline, cellular, or broadband connection to communicate with the security provider who will call your home and alert authorities in case of a break-in. Unmonitored systems, on the other hand, rely only on alarms such as sirens and flashing lights.

Monitored systems that are connected via landline have the disadvantage of being cut or by losing connections due to power outages. Cellular-based systems (a.k.a. wireless monitoring) have the advantage of staying up even if your telephone line is cut. One disadvantage of monitored systems is that they often come with monitoring fees.

The disadvantage of unmonitored systems is that it relies on your neighbors to call the police in case of an emergency. The problem with this is that not all neighbors are going to go see if everything is okay until it’s potentially too late.

Contracts and Installation

Depending on whether you rent or own your house and how long you plan to stay in your house, you’ll want to read over contracts before signing away. If you plan on moving or are only leasing your apartment, it might be a better option to buy a system outright that you can set up yourself at your next home. Systems that rely on technicians for installs may charge you fees for having to relocate or uninstall your system.

Added features

Home security and home automation are two separate industries that have become one due to similarities in the way they function. Many home security companies now offer automation technologies that allow you to control various items in your home remotely.

If you can’t remember if you locked your door or if you need to unlock it for a house guest, there’s no need to leave work–just hit a button on your smart phone to unlock the door. Other systems even allow you to answer your doorbell remotely from your smartphone in the same way that you would have a conversation on your phone. If you are paranoid about checking up on your house, you could go with a system that allows you to view your security cameras live feed right from your phone or computer.


Now that you know the basics of home security systems, go check out some of the top rated providers and compare prices. You’ll soon be on your way to making your home an even safer place for you and your family.


One of the most useful skills to have as a beginner chef is to know how to use herbs and spices to compliment the flavor of your food. In today’s supermarkets most food comes pre-seasoned. Unfortunately that often means going overboard on salt or overpowering the natural flavors of the food. One way to avoid this is to buy fresh food and spice it up yourself.

Knowing which herbs and spices and how much to use can be difficult. But this beginner’s guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to include various herbs and spices into your meals.

Why spice it yourself?

If you can buy a frozen stir-fry–spices included–at the grocery store why even bother learning how to use herbs and spices properly? As mentioned earlier, those pre-seasoned foods probably amount to added salt and sugar into your meals. This will tantalize your tastebuds, but it’s also not so great for you health-wise. Seasoning yourself allows you to take control of the food you consume.

Using your own herbs and spices will also help you discover new flavor combinations, allowing you to make more meals with fewer items. If you take advantage of buying certain items in bulk–like rice and beans–you will be amazed at how many meals you can pull off with just a few variations in the spices you use.

Oftentimes people will buy pre-made “spice packets” at the grocery store for making various meals (Swedish meatballs, sloppy joes, taco seasoning, etc). While these are handy, if you take a look at the ingredients on the back you might find you already have most of these herbs and spices in your cabinet, minus all of the un-pronounceable additives.

Herbs, spices, and their uses

Basil. Basil is a staple for many sauces. Pair it with meals that include tomatoes and soft, mild cheeses (mozzarella, for example). Fresh basil leaves are miles above the dried ones in terms of taste and texture. Fresh basil is a must for pizza, pesto, and pasta and you’ll want to use a good amount. Buying fresh basil can be expensive, but growing it yourself is not. A well-maintained basil plant on a sunny windowsill will provide plenty of leaves.

Pairings: parsley, oregano, garlic, lemongrass

Cayenne pepper. If you like your spices spicy, cayenne pepper will be your new best friend. No need to douse all of your food in hot sauce to get your fix of spicy foods. Adding hot pepper powder is a great way to compliment certain dishes. Add cayenne to chicken, beef, or fish and also vegetable medleys like zucchini, corn, and bell peppers.

Pairings: lemon zest, paprika, cinnamon, cumin

Ginger. Many people avoid ginger unless it’s in candy or herbal tea to help them get over a cold. You might not even notice, for example, that ginger is in many of your favorite Asian dishes. Ginger also works with dishes involving beef, chicken and fish, and pairs well with sweet potato, carrots, and nuts.

Pairings: garlic, mint, chilli 

Garlic. Just like with basil, having fresh garlic on hand always pays off. Fortunately, garlic has quite a long shelf life. It’s more difficult to find a dish that wouldn’t be improved by adding garlic, but it works especially well in tomato sauces, beef, beans, chicken, and potatoes.

Pairings: basil, parsley, ginger, oregano, dill, turmeric

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