Consumer Real Estate News

  • Self-Care Tips Can Help You Change Your Life

    7 July 2022

    It’s a sad joke that many people who’ve been working from home for a year have been snacking too much, foregoing exercise and even taking Zoom calls wearing a dress shirt on top and pajamas below the waist.
    The fact is, too many have put on some pounds and sunk into a less than healthy lifestyle. As we prepare to re-enter the world largely as it was pre-pandemic, lifestyle coaches suggest easy self-care tips that may not only help kickstart your routine, but may change your life for the better.

    • Enjoy Morning Tea - Research shows that drinking green tea regularly may lower your LDL (bad cholesterol levels) and that people who drink black tea have a lower risk of developing heart disease. That’s because tea is a major source of naturally occurring, heart-healthy flavonoids.
    • Stash the Cookie Jar - Replace it with a bowl of fresh fruit, so that when you want a nibble, you are more apt to reach for a beautiful apple, tangerine or banana.
    • Take a Lunchtime Stroll - Spare 15 minutes for a brisk walk around your block, or further. Of course, that starts with putting on pants, so do that right after your morning shower.
    • Create a Hooray List - And try to add to it every day: Completed a project; Talked to a friend I’ve been apart from; Walked in the sunshine; Found a great new restaurant; Planned a trip to see my kids/parents/grandma; etc. 
    • Give Your Eyes a Break - So much of our day is spent in front of screens. Prevent digital eye strain, dry eyes, headaches and blurred vision by following the rule of 20: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away. Use drops as needed and close your eyes for 30 seconds.
    • Refill Your Water Glass - Your body needs fluids to maintain proper functioning, and dehydration may lead to constipation, dizziness, confusion and low blood pressure. Get into the habit of refilling your water glass every hour to be sure you are getting what you need.
    • Plant Something - Believe it or not, studies show that people who plant are likely to eat more vegetables, and that those who get their hands into the dirt are generally happier people.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Help Your Dog or Cat Adjust to a New Pet

    7 July 2022

    Two or more pets can become the best of friends, even if they belong to different species. When it comes to mixing dogs and cats, the way you introduce them can influence their future interactions and ability to form a relationship.

    Remember That Animals are Individuals
    Every pet is unique. An animal’s breed, age and past interactions with other animals can affect its relationship with your new pet. 

    Some dog breeds have a strong hunting or herding instinct. If your pet belongs to such a breed, prepare for the possibility that it may want to chase the other animal. 

    If you know that your dog or cat has an anxious or aggressive personality, use caution when introducing it to a new pet. An animal that gets stressed by change in general may run in fear from an unfamiliar dog or cat, or it may feel threatened and behave aggressively. 

    A puppy or kitten may be eager to play and may not realize that a larger pet could pose a threat to it. A young animal may chase an older pet, which may cause the older animal to react in an aggressive way. 

    A larger pet that wants to play with a puppy or kitten, but doesn’t realize how fragile the smaller animal is, may unintentionally injure the young pet. Don’t leave an older pet alone with a puppy or kitten unless you have observed them together on several occasions and you’re absolutely certain that the younger animal will be safe.

    Be Patient When Introducing Pets
    It’s generally a good idea to introduce two animals gradually. You can start out by placing them in different rooms separated by a door or baby gate. Feeding them on opposite sides of the door and bringing a towel that one pet used into the other animal’s room can give them opportunities to get used to each other’s scent and presence without feeling threatened. This will also let you gauge their reactions. 

    If both animals seem relatively relaxed, you can try bringing them into the same room. If you have a dog, keep it on a leash when you first introduce it to the other pet. That will allow you to act quickly if things take a turn for the worse.

    When you get the two pets together, watch their body language. If either displays signs of aggression, such as growling, hissing or ears laid back, try to calm the animal. If necessary, separate them from each other. When both have calmed down, you can try another short meeting.

    It will take time for the animals to get used to each other. Don’t try to rush or force the process. Use positive reinforcement to reward desirable behaviors rather than just punishing negative behaviors. If you need help, reach out to your veterinarian for advice. 

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Simple Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill

    7 July 2022

    If you’re like many homeowners, your electric bill takes up a significant portion of your monthly income. There are several steps you can take to reduce your energy usage that will take very little time and will have little or no impact on your day-to-day life.

    Make Your Fridge More Efficient
    Check the recommended temperatures for your refrigerator and freezer, and compare them to your current settings. You may be able to save money by raising the temperature settings a few degrees and still keep your food cold enough. 

    Another way to reduce the amount of energy your refrigerator uses is to keep it full. Food can act as insulation to help the refrigerator regulate its temperature and use less electricity. 

    Many homeowners don’t clean their refrigerator coils. When coils are covered with dirt and dust, the appliance can’t work efficiently. Cleaning your refrigerator’s coils regularly can help it use less energy and save you money.

    Minimize Your Energy Usage When Washing Dishes and Clothes
    Be strategic when it comes to running the dishwasher. Only run it when it’s full so you don’t waste electricity and water. If you run the dishwasher at night, a time when there isn’t peak demand, your electric company will likely charge you a lower rate than it would charge you during the day. These suggestions also apply to running your washer and dryer.

    Your dryer’s exhaust vent can get clogged with lint. That can make the dryer run less efficiently, which means you may need to run it multiple times to get a load of laundry dry. Cleaning the dryer vent regularly can help you avoid wasting electricity and keep your utility bills low. 

    Hanging your clothes on a line to air dry is another simple way to reduce the amount of energy you use to do laundry. If hanging clothes on an outdoor line is not an option, you can use an indoor drying rack.

    Save Energy on Lighting, Heating and Cooling
    If you haven’t already done so, switch all the lightbulbs in your home to energy-efficient LEDs to lower your electricity bill immediately.

    Control the amount of light and heat that enters your home. Keeping the blinds or curtains open during the day in the winter can naturally warm your home and reduce the amount you need to rely on both the furnace and artificial lighting. In the summer, closing the blinds or curtains during the hottest times of day can keep your home cool so you won’t have to rely on the air conditioner too much, saving you money in the long run.

    Unplug Unused Appliances
    A good deal of energy is wasted by keeping appliances, such as a coffee maker, plugged in when they’re not being used. Get in the habit of unplugging appliances when you finish using them and you may see a substantial drop in your electricity bill.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Fancy Kitchen Tools You'll Wish You Had All Along

    6 July 2022

    Whether you hate to cook or enjoy being an at-home chef, there’s no doubt the task can come with its share of chores. Thankfully, you can make your time in the kitchen easier than ever before with the right tools. Whether you’re hoping to whip up a simple dish, or a gourmet treat, these fun and fancy kitchen tools will help you complete your tasks in no time.

    Fish Spatula
    This kitchen tool may not scream fancy, but it is an accessory often found in a professional chef’s arsenal that home cooks rarely possess. In spite of their namesake, fish spatulas can be used for far more than just fish. Their thin and flexible design can not only help you flip delicate fish but other foods that require more finesse when cooking.

    If you have been chopping and slicing the old-fashioned way, you may be missing out on some big-time savings. Purchasing a small mandoline can ensure that your vegetables can be sliced as thin as you like with uniform precision. Most mandolines are even dishwasher safe, making them a kitchen must-have.

    Cut Resistant Gloves
    Even the best home cooks manage to cut themselves occasionally. If you don’t have great knife skills, or you simply want to protect your fingers while you’re quickly slicing veggies on the mandoline, cut-resistant gloves could be your saving grace.

    Citrus Squeezer
    To save space, it’s generally, a good rule of thumb to avoid one-purpose kitchen gadgets. The citrus squeezer is an exception to the rule. Nothing gives your dish a zesty kick like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. Citrus squeezers are handheld and have a relatively small footprint, meaning you don’t have to worry about hand-squeezing lime seeds onto your fish tacos again.

    Microplane Grater
    Since the finishing touches are truly what makes a dish exceptional, don’t pass up on a microplane grater. These are the perfect tool for topping your dishes with lemon or lime zest, grated nutmeg, fine shreds of parmesan cheese, and even garlic. You’ll reach for your microplane grater all the time.

    These classic and fancy kitchen tools should be in every kitchen, once you get one, you’ll wish you had it all along.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Plumbing Projects You Can DIY With Ease

    6 July 2022

    When it comes to repairs on your home, it can be hard to strike a balance between trying to save and making sure you’re getting the job done safely and effectively. This can be especially true with electrical and plumbing projects. Here are some DIY-friendly projects you can tackle.

    Install a Dishwasher or Toilet
    Installation projects will certainly cause you to work up a sweat, but thankfully, they don’t require you to rack up a lot of coins for a professional. The hardest part of installing a dishwasher or toilet is likely just the process of moving it to its designated spot. Most installations are fairly seamless as long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have a basic amount of handyman skills. If you’re needing a step-by-step guide, you’re likely to find instructions for your exact make and model with a quick search on YouTube.

    Prep Your Pipes
    During the cold winter months, exposed pipes can prove problematic. At best, your exposed supply pipes aren’t great at preserving their warmth when delivering hot water, at worst, your exposed pipes could freeze and you may have to deal with a burst pipe. Avoid a costly emergency call to a plumber by simply wrapping your pipes in foam insulation. This easy DIY task will keep your plumbing protected.

    Replace or Install a Garbage Disposal
    Garbage disposals are heavier than you might think (weighing in at 10-20 pounds) so this DIY project may require a helpful friend or housemate who can keep the garbage disposal steady while you secure it to the bottom of the sink. However, with that little extra help, garbage disposal installation becomes an easily accomplished task for the self-appointed handyman in your household.

    Change Out Your Showerhead
    Even the most amateur DIYers can take on the simple task of changing out the showerhead. This task likely can be done entirely by hand by simply turning the showerhead clockwise with your hand to unscrew it from the discharge pipe. If the showerhead seems too tight, pull out some channel lock pliers to help. Once you’ve gotten the old showerhead off, just wrap Teflon tape clockwise on the pipe and add your new fancy showerhead.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.