A Journal of Musical Things

Alan Cross runs the popular music blog, A Journal of Musical Things, which covers a wide variety of topics. The blog’s mission statement reads, “Filtering what’s happening in music to save you time, money and effort.” which is exactly what they do. The podcast “The Ongoing History of New Music” is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the music industry.


For more information, visit his site:


4 Home Improvement Trends of 2017

The housing industry is booming, and 2017 is bound to be an exciting year. Last year, the United States built the most homes since 2007, the year before the housing market collapsed. Americans are also projected to spend a whopping $317 billion on home improvement projects this year. If you too are thinking about remodeling your home, here are four home  trends that are in vogue this year.

1) Solar Technology is Heating Up

Solar technology has been available since the 1950s, but it didn’t become commercially viable for the average consumer until the early 2000s. Today, homeowners can install screen printed solar cells and even solar shingles. Advancements in the development of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries have also increased the amount of energy that can be stored in solar batteries. Other benefits of lithium batteries include low-resistance charging and low maintenance requirements.

2) Smart Technology Is Here to Stay

In the 90s, smart homes were the stuff of made-for-TV movies. Today, smart houses are just another part of the internet of things. By the end of 2017, more than 30% of homes are expected to have at least one device connected to the internet. The most popular smart technologies are home security systems and remote surveillance systems. Digital assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home also make it easy for consumers to communicate with their thermostat, dishwasher, or oven.

3) Brushed Metals Are Out

Stainless steel appliances have been popular since the early 2000s, and they’re still in high demand. However, the finish of choice is changing from brushed silver to matte black. The low sheen places an additional emphasis on the object’s lines, and the black finish contrasts with light color schemes which are common in contemporary design. Warm metal finishes like gold, copper, and bronze are also being used to accent the light/dark color scheme created by the walls and appliances.

4) Mixing and Matching Is In

Variety and contrast are two tenets of contemporary interior design. When choosing pieces, look for natural textures that complement one another. This year, two of the most popular materials are marble and cerused wood. Marble is a natural mineral that’s often paired with wood and metal. A cerused wood finish is recognizable because it highlights the wood’s natural grain. This natural finish has been around the high-end market for a while, and it’s really starting to gain traction among modern homeowners.

Best car for living in Worchester Area

Worcester, Mass., is an animated and diverse town an hour west of Boston. The metro area homes 900,000 people and is named after its England counterpart. Worcester is a lovely place to live, with its rolling hills and vibrant community. But living here also has its challenges, particularly around commuting.


Most residents have a car for convenience, and 91 percent of them use it as their daily form of transportation. Public transportation is also readily available thanks to the Worcester Regional Transit Authority, which is frequently used by college and university students to travel downtown. For drivers, the average daily commute in Worcester is 28.1 minutes each way.


Worcester’s humid continental climate causes rapid weather fluctuations and adds another layer of unpredictability to the daily commute. Summers in the area are typically warm and humid, and the winters are almost always cold, windy and snowy. Rainfall is another common foe of daily commuters. Worcester averages 48.1 inches of rain each year, and in winter the snowfall reaches an average of 64.1 inches per year, which is much higher than most of the nearby coastal cities.


If you live in Worcester or are planning on moving here, two things about driving are certain: you’re going to be in the car a long time and that car better have great control.


We recommend two standout vehicles for the Worcester area: the Subaru WRX and the Ford F150.


Subaru is well known for customer satisfaction, price and safety ratings. In 2016, Consumer Reports ranked Subaru No. 2 out of 30 in overall score for their fleet of vehicles in terms of customer satisfaction, price and functionality. When it comes to safety, Subaru had six models win Top Safety Picks in three categories, including the WRX. In the past few years, the Japanese-based carmaker has seen an explosion in sales that’s pushing them to expand manufacturing to meet consumer demand.


As a result, Subaru remains as one of the best options for used-car buyers who want a car that will stay on the road safely, stylishly and comfortably.


All Subaru vehicles come with all-wheel drive and the WRX defaults to a manual transmission, which gives Worcester drivers an added level of control in hazardous conditions the area is prone to.


If you’re looking for a beefier daily commuter then the Ford F150 is your best bet. It’s the best-selling vehicle in the United States and Canada since 1981 and best-selling pickup since 1977.


Ford’s latest F150 model ventures away from the long-admired V-8 and now boasts a twin-turbo V-6 engine, which allows for a greater hauling capacity, quicker acceleration and more conservative gas usage than its predecessors.


On the inside, drivers will find redefined pickup cab interior with increased front cargo space and rear leg room, but fairly standard tech features, unless you spring for optional packages or a higher priced model like the Platinum or King Ranch.


For drivers that frequently camp or called to help out a friend, knowing the F150 can safely tow just more than 10,000 lbs. will come as a comfort, especially as the winter comes around the corner. Keeping safety in mind, the F150 has earned a perfect five star rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with the 2016 model being the only full-size pickup to score a top rating.


3 Hottest Kitchen Design Trends for 2017

3 Hottest Kitchen Design Trends for 2017


Let’s face it, the kitchen is one of the most important areas of any home. It not only is the arena by which we prepare feasts, but also an important gathering place for people to share and enjoy the company of others. That is why designing a kitchen to fit personal needs is absolutely crucial. Let’s take a look at three ways others are spicing up this area:


  1. Industrial Look

While the Industrial look may not seem all too cozy at first glance, it can be tastefully done to preserve the coziness of one’s home. With the exposed brick and butcher block countertops this kitchen tastefully balances the industrial feel with a warm vibe. Bonus points for open shelving!


  1. Neutral colors

Homeowners are moving away from lighter toned wood colored kitchens and cabinets and favoring neutral, earthy tones for big color decisions (cabinets, countertops etc). This allows room for personalization in the accessories like adding a chalkboard wall, statement piece chandelier or plants galore!


  1. Smart Devices



The internet of things is poised to take over our kitchens with interconnected devices from fridges, ovens, toasters and even dining room tables. The application of the internet in the home is seemingly endless. However, for the first time the technology is getting really really good. Millions of people have bought a Google Home or an Amazon Echo with Alexa as a kitchen assistant and we are not far away from having instant ordering fridges and ovens that show you the recipe as you go! During your remodeling or kitchen planning phase, consider what devices you may want in the future, because we are not far from a connected kitchen!


Here are some things to consider if you are planning on a remodel! These three trends have staying power so no need to worry that your kitchen will be out of date before you complete your remodel.

Local Business Spotlight: WOW 1 DAY PAINTING

Local Business Spotlight: WOW 1 DAY PAINTING


If you have ever had your house painted, you are fully aware of how stressful of an event it can be. Luckily, a Boston-area business is here to simplify everything.

The name says it all, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. These interior and exterior home painters here in Worcester will finish the job (regardless of size) in a single day.

Here is an except from their website:


Just because we complete your house painting or office painting project in 1 DAY doesn’t mean it isn’t done right. Our revolutionary system, perfected over 20 years, along with the right number of professional painters, means we can complete your residential or commercial painting to the highest standards.

I found the company to be entirely professional, they did an amazing job for me, and I would certainly recommend them to anyone in the area who needs their home painted.

For more information, visit their website: http://www.wow1day.com/

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