Great Ways To Bring The Spa To Your Home

06/02/2019 Leave a comment Household

There’s no question, in this day and age it’s almost unheard of to lead a lifestyle that doesn’t bring some level of stress along with it. Sure, there are some people who have just seemed to figure it out one way or another, but odds are we haven’t been fortunate enough to do the same.

We can make up for how much stress our daily lives bring us by giving ourselves options for the utmost relaxation within the comfort of our own homes. These treats are often not particularly cheap, but when you really think about it what is cheap in our lives? Certainly not the cost of housing, food, transportation, clothes, you name it. Why not make a little extra room for treating ourselves in the budget? Heck, we sure deserve it considering how hard we work.

So if you’re thinking you deserve a little more reward for your strenuous work and persistence, don’t worry because you are in good company. Here are a few upgrades you can bring to your home to make it easy to take a load off when you need it.

Make Room for a Comfortable Bath

Most homes come equipped with a bath as part of the shower. The funny part is though that all too often these baths are so small that they can barely fit a full grown human, let alone comfortably. Can you imagine how much you would enjoy a bubble bath every weekend, if only you had a comfortable place to make it happen?

Well, what are you waiting for? Why not install a nice, accommodating bath with high sides so that you can sit back and relax with a book, some scented candles, and (heaven forbid!) a nice glass of wine? You’ll probably have to call the plumber to make this one happen, but it’s certainly not impossible. As the old saying goes, you can do anything you set your mind to.

Install a Sauna

Saunas are all the rage around the world, particularly in Eastern Europe. Why haven’t they caught on so much here in the United States? Beats me, but one thing’s for sure: I certainly love to spend a good ten to twenty minutes in the sauna whenever the logistics permit.

There’s a lot of negative press about saunas, and maybe that’s a bit of the problem. There’s also a lot of positive press about saunas though, it all depends on where you look. The other thing is that price and space requirements are often prohibitive. If that is your sticking point, you may want to check out infrared saunas as they can alleviate both of those concerns. Check out MBISR’s guide if this is the case, you may be surprised at how easy it is to find one that fits your home and your budget well.

Make A Meditation Room

On a budget? No problem. We have one more option in store that can cost as little as zero dollars, depending on your situation. Meditation is certainly spreading throughout Western culture – and with good reason. There is so much anecdotal evidence of the benefits the practice bestows on our everyday lives that it’s hard to ignore.

If you’re into meditation, you may want to consider what many seasoned practicers have done and make a dedicated space or even an entire room for meditation. Here you can design the colors, furniture, and artwork in a way that is accommodating for your practice and make it a truly calming and free place to be while you meditate. Add accents like jade trees, zen gardens, and incense to really bring the whole thing together. Then just make sure you stay on top of your practice to keep the stress at bay.

3 Traits of a Top-Notch Garage

03/16/2019 Leave a comment Household

It’s easy to overlook upgrading your garage. After all, you park your car there, you leave for the day, and it just simply works. However, just a few simple upgrades can take your garage from ordinary to extraordinary. Not only can you benefit as you go through your everyday life, but if you ever decide to sell your home then a beautiful garage is going to be extremely desirable for any potential buyers. These three updates will put your garage a step above the rest.

Epoxy Floors

The standard flooring in garages across the country is the bare concrete that was poured when the foundation was put in place. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this – it’s free (with the cost of the garage), it looks relatively unoffensive, and it’s a breeze to clean (with some exceptions, more on that in a second). That said, have you ever considered how much an upgraded floor could bring your garage a much needed face lift?

These days you can have an epoxy coating put down for a relatively affordable price. Not only do these floors look great, but they are incredibly durable. They will also protect your floor from oil stains, which porous concrete would absorb to hang around for years. For the price you’ll pay for installation (which is also fairly easy by the way) you won’t be upset with the upgrade. Find some contractors that specialize with this type of flooring in your area and get moving today.

Smart Garage Door Opener

Everything these days is smart – smart phone, smart watch, smart TV, smart refrigerator, you name it. Why not get a smart garage door opener too? These devices are often WiFi enabled, and they can come programmable with all sorts of unthinkable features that you wouldn’t have considered. And why would you? Garage doors have worked as simple devices for decades, and no one ever complained.

As with the iPhone, once you’ve had a smart garage door opener you’d be complaining if it were taken away. If you’re interested in learning more about these devices for your home, read what BGDOR has to say and see for yourself if it is the right choice for you.

Compact Shelving Units

Let’s face it, we have a bit more stored in our garages than our cars. Can you blame us? In a world full of stuff your garage is the perfect place to keep it. It’s an absolute pity when your garage looks like something from the show Hoarders, and if you don’t stay on top of your organization habits you’ll be on the fast track to starring in the next episode.

Compact shelving units can give you so much space to organize all of your belongings, so that you look neat and tidy when your family comes over. They’ll find other things to criticize you about, sure. But it won’t be a disorderly garage. The best part? Shelving is cheap, and I mean dirt cheap. For the bottom dollar, you can get units from Home Depot or Ikea that will certainly suit your needs. If you’re cool with parting with a little bit more coin, there are even companies who specialize in garage shelving.

Now that you’ve read through, wouldn’t you agree? It doesn’t take much to take you garage to the next level, and if you take the time to make it happen it’s almost certainly going to be worth it. Next time you have a free minute (does that ever happen?), consider throwing it towards improving your garage. You’ll be happy you did!

Sadly, Winter Is Coming – Make Sure You’re Prepared with A Snow Blower

09/24/2018 Leave a comment Household

A lot of wonderful things happen in the winter like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. However, it is also the coldest time of the year, and when you’re not well-prepared beforehand, it could be the most miserable three months of your life. As the end of fall draws near and winter sets in, there are certain things that you can do as a homeowner to ensure that your home and yard are comfortable to live in and prepared for the nasty weather. Here are some of the most important ways to get your home ready for the winter.

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Maintenance

The state that your HVAC system is in when getting into the winter is what will determine how habitable your house will be throughout the season. To make sure that everything is functioning properly when the season sets in you should take care of the following:

  • Have the furnace professionally serviced: Furnace servicing ahead of the winter should include checking to make sure that the thermostat is working and that the gas supply system does not have any leaks. Entering winter with a faulty furnace could mean very cold nights or even worse, broken water pipes resulting in tons of damage.

  • Inspect the doors and windows for leaks: Another important step you should take to make sure that your home is winter ready is checking your doors and windows for signs that they could be poorly insulated. The best way is to call in an expert to do thermal imaging. Any leaking parts should be repaired and insulated again to reduce heat loss and maximize the efficiency of the heating system.
  • Sweep the chimney: Fireplaces are rarely used when the weather is bearable, which means that most people do not even realize there is a buildup of creosote in their chimneys till the winter. Cleaning the chimney will protect your home from fires and also smoke and carbon dioxide poisoning.

The Roof

The roof is one of the most important factors in determining how safe your home and you as the occupants are during the cold of the winter months. Start by inspecting the roofing material to make sure that there are no leaks or other damages. If there are areas which are old and leaking, seek to have them repaired or replaced by an expert. Make sure that you check the flashing and all other components to ensure that they are in excellent condition ahead of the winter. The second component of the roof to look at is the gutters. Have them cleaned and if any are ruined, repair or replace them. Blocked gutters lead to water damage and ice dams when left that way during the winter.

Maintaining The Outdoors

There will be snow accumulation in your driveway, in front of the garage door, and everywhere else outside of your home. A snowblower will be your best friend in managing the thickness of the snow and making sure that your driveway is clear. Here are some of the most useful tips that you need when shopping for a snowblower:

  • Pick the right size: snowblowers come in a variety of sizes from big to small. The size of your yard is what determines which size will be right for you. If you have a big yard, a small blower will keep you working for hours before you can clear everything, and it might not stand up to large amounts of snowfall. Get the dimensions of your yard before getting a blower.
  • Know your terrain: not many people think about the steepness or flatness of their backyards when investing in a blower. You need to pick a snowblower that works effectively regardless of the slope.
  • How much snow to expect: there are some blowers that only have enough power to deal with little to moderate snow build up. If you try to use these for areas that have heavy snowfall, they will keep breaking down. Consider the maximum snow depth that your yard is expected to get before investing in a blower.

There are actually quite a few factors that you want to consider when purchasing a snow blower for your yard, and this is just the beginning. You can check out BSBR’s buying guide for more helpful tips and breakdowns of some of the best snow blowers out there. If the timing is right, you may even want to consider buying offseason, as you can often get great deals. Just make sure that you get a snow blower that can handle whatever your climate throws at it, the last thing you want is a snow blower that’s undersized. Your back will thank you.

If you decide to buy a used snow blower, make sure that you have it serviced and oiled as soon as you get it home. Try starting the snowblower several times to see whether it starts with ease because a snowblower that is difficult to start can become a serious pain every winter morning.

How to Choose the Best Dog Food for Your New Puppy

09/02/2018 Leave a comment Pets

Getting a puppy can be super exciting! But as you try to be a good puppy parent, how can you tell which dog food is right? With so many options, how do you choose which food is going to be right for your pup and which won’t be healthy for it? Don’t worry; choosing a dog food isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem. There are four important things to keep in mind as you research your dog foods: brand, size, calories, and ingredients.

Brand

You may not think brand matters as much as ingredients, but it’s very important! It’s so important because of the AAFCO feeding trials. Some dog food companies come up with a dog food recipe, make the food, and sell it to the pet stores, all without ever feeding it to actual dogs. These brands are untested and may contain nutrient deficiencies for your puppy.

The best brands use the AAFCO feeding trials and do scientific research to make sure they are selling healthy food. They also consult with veterinary nutritionists, providing a balanced food in nutrients. However, since AAFCO is a private company, they can only do so much and most of their requirements are just the minimums. It’s also important to look at the other three factors.

Size

There are two size factors that are important: breed size and kibble size. Breed size for your puppy matters as each breed grows at a different rate. You will want to make sure the nutrients in your puppy food matches what your puppy needs. For example, a larger breed, such as a Labrador, will need more calcium and phosphorus for proper bone growth than a small breed, like a chihuahua. Researching what specific nutrients your puppy breed needs to grow will help you find the best dog food.

Kibble size also matters. Smaller breeds and puppies may not be able to eat big kibble chunks or even big chunks in wet dog food. Keeping the dog food the right size will keep your dog safe from choking hazards or not being able to eat. You may look for dog foods made specifically for your breed’s size, such as a toy breed or small breed puppy formula.

Calories

Everyone knows how energetic puppies are! They grow up fast and need a lot of calories to keep up. Puppies need about a third more calories than adult dogs. While you could give your puppy more food, it is more advisable to pick a higher calorie dog food, especially one specifically made with the dietary needs of puppies in mind. As your pup grows, make sure to increase the calorie intake as well.

Ingredients

One of the most important things to check before choosing the best dog food for your puppy is ingredients. For any dog, the number one ingredient on the list should be a type of meat, not a meat meal or grain like corn. While people are fairly controversial about which grains a dog can and can’t eat, the consensus is that any grain should not be the first ingredient. You should also avoid ingredients like artificial sweeteners like fructose or dextrose, chemical preservatives like BHT and BHA, animal byproducts, and fillers, especially cellulose, which is essentially sawdust.

Puppies need a few important nutrients for their bodies to grow properly. They need more calories and more protein than adult dogs. They also need more fat, but be careful what type of fat is listed. Puppies need the omega fatty acid DHA for their developing brains and diets higher in this fatty acid have shown increased memory and trainability in puppies. Puppies also should consume their daily vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E and selenium. These focus on building the puppy’s immune system. As talked about before, each puppy breed needs a certain ratio of calcium to phosphorus so it’s important to research what your pup needs.

Finding the best dog food for your puppy doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you keep these four things in mind. With so many options, you will choose the healthiest one for your new pup in no time and then you can focus on more enjoyable things, such as playing with your puppy! With love and the right nutritious food, your puppy is sure to grow into a great, happy dog.

Tips for an Unforgettable Dinner Party

08/15/2018 Leave a comment Social

A dinner party can be many things. It can be formal and sophisticated. It can be inventive and almost playful. The one thing your dinner party should never be is boring. You want any party that you throw to be memorable for everyone. You may even want your party to be the talk of the town. There are a number of ways to make sure that that happens.

The Right Guests

Are you the kind of person that has a number of friend circles that you kind of wander in and out of? Maybe it is time to introduce a few of the friends from one circle to a few of the friends from another and see how they mesh. Don’t purposely choose opposites especially people on opposite ends of the political spectrum. That would be too potentially tense, maybe even explosive. Instead, find friends that may have something that might be complementary to one another.

Since people may not know each other, have place cards and try to pair people that you think will have interesting conversations with one another. Don’t get hung up on trying to create “love” connections and forget the rule that everyone should be seated in a certain way. Do what will work with the people that you have invited.

Choose a Theme

Even if you stick to straightforward food and drink and pleasant conversation without any frills or fancy decor, you will want to have a theme to unify and hold the whole party together. For instance, you might choose to do foods of a certain region making sure that each of the dishes flow well together. Of course, you will also want the drinks that you serve to match the type of food that you are serving.

If you would like a more involved theme, you can tie in the decor, serving ware and even dress according to what you have selected. It will be a great way to get your guests excited for what is to come and will give them something to talk about afterwards.

It takes a lot more work but you could do a murder mystery dinner party. It takes some careful planning and you will need the help of a few of your guests but it would be a party that would get rave reviews and everyone would be begging you to help them plan a similar party in their own home.

Set the Mood With Lights and Music

An elegant dinner party should be softly lit by dimmed overhead lights and candles so that the dining area seems to be enveloped in a glowing aura. Soft music playing in the background also helps to set the tone but should be something that will not take away from the conversations at the table. Keep in mind that music could help spur conversation though so don’t forego it completely.

The Host to the Rescue!

Always be prepared for food, drink and guest emergencies. If you see conversation lagging, tell an interesting story or a brief joke. Ask someone a question, especially if you already know the answer and let them have the floor. Make sure that drink glasses are never empty and that everyone has enough of the foods they enjoy.

At the End of the Evening

While you should serve dessert at the table a special treat would be to send each guest home with an individually boxed cupcake from a local bakery. If you are an avid baker and don’t mind the added work, bake them yourself and decorate according to your theme. Wish each guest a good evening, safe travels and give them their treat as they go.

Toilet Talk – What To Look For When It’s Time for a Replacement

08/06/2018 Leave a comment Household

Have you started noticing that your toilet looks a bit old and outdated? It might be one of those rose-colored models from decades ago. Maybe it has a persistent dripping that happens all night long. It might requirement maintenance every month in order to keep it going. Whatever the issue is with your toilet, it might be time to replace it and upgrade to something more efficient and newer. There are some signs you can watch out for that will indicate a new toilet is in your bathroom’s future. Let’s take a closer look.

Overflow Issues

This is a common issue that many homeowners deal with. If you have children in the house you likely have had too much toilet paper flushed down the drain before. Kids trying to flush toys down the toilet can also lead to problems. However, if you notice that your toilet is clogging up numerous times per month with no real known cause, there might be a bigger issue going on. Newer toilets are designed to use less water. At least next time your daughter tries to flush her doll down the toilet, there will be less water to mop up. When you install the new version, you can address any clog issues that might be causing your overflows before you install the new model.

Running Constantly

When you flush your toilet, this will cause water to run for a few seconds or more. When you start noticing that this running sound is occurring more often, without anyone flushing, there might be something wrong with a part inside the toilet. It could be a damaged flapper valve or a broken float. Some of these items can be replaced very affordably. If you can’t seem to find a problem with any of these moving parts, the problem could be deep within the workings of the toilet and won’t benefit from repairs. Make sure you address this problem quickly. If you leave for the day, you could end up coming home to quite a mess.

Improper Flushing

When you go to flush the toilet a couple of different issues can occur. For one, the water levels might remain lower than normal. Also, the bowl can become clogged. There are a number of issues that could be contributing to your inability to flush. You can make sure that the upper tank portion is filling up with enough water. If this area is fine you can check the bowl and drain to make sure nothing is clogged up.

Leaks

One of the most common reasons a toilet needs to be replaced is a leak of some sort. After many years a toilet will eventually wear out because of a bad seal, broken flanges or cracks that have formed in the base of the toilet. Hopefully you have caught this problem before your floor is ruined by a slow leak. Be sure to have your toilet replaced immediately to prevent further water damage. A crack in your toilet isn’t something that can be fixed and it will only get worse with time.

Other Benefits of Toilet Replacement

In addition to replacing your toilet because of functional issues, there are also some aesthetic benefits to think about. For example, an updated toilet can completely transform the look of your bathroom. You can re-do every other aspect of your bathroom, but if you leave the old toilet in place this can be a big eye sore. Not to mention, the added efficiency you get from your new toilet will help pay for the recent updates.

If you have decided that it is time to replace your toilet and want to speak with a professional about the process, it is important to find a reputable and trustworthy company in your area to do the job. You want to make sure the installation process is done right so that you can trust your bathroom is protected and safe for years to come. They can also help you pick a toilet that will work with your current bathroom setup, improving the aesthetics and he overall function of your bathroom area.

Words of Wisdom for a First Time Mother

08/02/2018 Leave a comment Family

There is no shortage of advice given to first-time mothers. Some are practical. Like, do not spend too much on children’s clothing. They will outgrow them quickly. Others are heartwarming. The adage “the days are long, but the years are short” is repeated often.

Becoming a parent opens up a large community willing to share their experiences. They will talk about exclusive breastfeeding. They will try to convince you of the virtues of the Montessori method on young children. A small, but very passionate, group will talk about the value of essential oils for getting children to sleep through the night.

But, there is one thing that young mothers almost never hear: trust yourself.

It seems obvious, but mothers need to hear it. Raising a baby is not a joke. It is physically and emotionally demanding, so it is easy to second-guess yourself.

But, the truth is that nobody knows your baby more than you. On that point alone, you are the expert. More experienced parents might have been doing the parenting thing longer, but they do not have your qualifications. You are the one who carried your baby to term. You were there when he or she came out into the world. You have been training for this moment for 40 weeks, more or less. Holding the baby in your arms means that you passed the interview and you now hold the job. Other people can try to sway you with their experiences, but this is your turf.

Parenting is a maze of questions with few definite answers. It is easy for first-time mothers to get lost. What breast pump should I use? Should I use formula? Will attachment parenting encourage my child to excel or turn him or her into an emotionally fragile wuss? On some nights — fine, most nights — you might stand in the middle of the room, trying to console an inconsolable baby and think, “I don’t know what I’m doing!”

It might seem impossible at the time, but trust yourself.

The details of parenting will work themselves out. People always talk about maternal instincts, but that doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes, it takes time. As you and your baby get to know each other. you will be able to tell if your baby needs milk or just wants to be cuddled. You have to be kind to yourself and give yourself time to learn the ropes. Nobody is born knowing how to run. The first, unsteady steps are part of the process.

Parenting in this day and age is harder because there is too much information out there. Sometimes, they are even conflicting. It is a double-edged sword. On one side, it’s great to be plugged into so much knowledge. If you don’t know something, Google it. You can even hop on to a forum and ask a question. People will answer.

But, the downside is that it is easy to doubt yourself and compare your performance with others. Also, some parents can be pretty intense. Do you want some proof? Go to a parenting website, type “vaccine”, and watch the comments section explode.

When there is too much coming at you, what should you do? You are the only one who can answer that. Parenting is a deeply personal experience and what works for one family does not necessarily work for another. Information is there to help. Other parents can support you. Or they may not. But, it does not really matter.

You are the only one making decisions as a mother. Sometimes, your choice might be the unpopular one; but, stand firm. Whether it is standing up against an internet troll or setting boundaries with your mother-in-law, you need to believe in your judgment.

It would be nice if motherhood came with an instruction manual. But, that is not the case. In fact, it is bound to get confusing for a while. By the time you are an expert on infants, your infant has turned into a toddler intent to say no to everything. When you finally understand the mindset of a toddler, you have a preschooler trying to test limits. Of course, let us not forget about puberty.

No one is really an expert at parenting. But, there are steadfast ones. Years pass by throwing all sorts of curveballs, but strong parents are unfazed. Why? Because they trust themselves. Why shouldn’t they? When you are motivated by the love for your child, you are bound to make the correct decisions. Every choice is examined and all the consequences are considered. You cannot help but want what is best for your offspring. That is the nature of parenting, whether a first-timer or not.

So to you, the first-time mom who might feel tired and overwhelmed and a little unsure of what to do: trust yourself. You got this.