Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Add More Smile to Your Day

      21 February 2018

      It's normal to feel the blues once in a while. But if you can't remember the last time you smiled, it may be time for a revamp. Consider these simple tips for raising your mood.

      Surround yourself with flowers. Flowers have been shown to subtly lift the spirit of those around them. Grow a flower garden in the spring and summer and bring those blooms inside with you. Feeling low in the winter?

      Create a flower budget. Just $5-$10 a week could bring a gorgeous bouquet into your life. Place it on your desk at work or wherever you spend a lot of time.

      Adopt a pet. Furry friends bring an endless amount of joy into the lives of their owners, from play time to snuggling and beyond. If you have the schedule and resources that allow you to responsibly adopt a pet, do it, and let the smiling begin.

      Do a random act of kindness. Kindness has a boomerang effect, so don't be afraid to dole it out. Volunteer, help out a pal before they even ask for it, or do something smaller: Next time you're in line at the grocery story, offer the person with only one item waiting behind you to step ahead.

      Create a happiness ritual. What DOES make you happy? A long bath with a good book? Journaling for fifteen minutes every morning? Yoga? A walk with a pal? Incorporate more of this into your day to lift your mood.

      Identify downers. Some downers, like a stressful job or a sick family member, cannot be avoided. But others, like a long commute or a toxic relationship, can be identified and cut. Ask your boss if you can work from home one day a week to avoid the commute, or if possible, look for another job closer to home. Another downer that may be hiding in plain view? Social media. Monitor how you feel before and after you spend time on Instagram or Facebook and act accordingly.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Downsizing with Style: Your Next Adventure

      21 February 2018

      For empty nesters with more space than they need, downsizing has lots of appeal – less to clean, less maintenance, maybe even better access to culturally inviting areas. But taking that step brings up natural questions: Will we be able to have some “alone space?” Where will we put up the kids or grandkids when they visit?

      Oregon decorator Karen Olsen tells that it’s all about understanding that every square foot counts, and that a ‘less is more’ approach can make it work.

      Olsen offers seven tips for downsizing with style and comfort:

      Make it possible – Get rid of stuff you don’t use, books you don’t read, furniture that’s too big or too old. Give it to the kids. Donate it to charity. Or take it to a consignment shop for sale. Keep only what you love. Better yet, enjoy starting anew.

      Be flexible – Use furniture that does double duty. An ottoman can serve as a coffee table, extra seating and/or storage. A good-looking sofa bed becomes a guest bed. Nesting tables and mobile pieces on rolling casters offer flexibility to a floor plan.

      Go vertical – Use tall furniture pieces, such as bookcases, built-in cabinetry and armoires. Not only do they draw the eye up, but you can double your storage space without using up valuable floor space.

      Get reflective – Wall mirrors, glass top tables, mirrored furniture pieces, and metallic finishes don’t carry as much visual weight as solid wood pieces.

      Use the corners – Turn what could be wasted space into an eating area, an art gallery, even a small work space.

      Be color-wise – Use a unified color throughout the house. It creates unity and a sense of spacious cohesiveness, especially in a smaller home.

      Be inventive – Turn a small closet into a home office nook. Use those big suitcases as side tables so you don’t need to find space to store them. The right coffee table can open up to hold blankets, pillows, or even your holiday décor.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Refresh Your Home for Spring

      21 February 2018

      (Family Features)--Spring is a time for renewal and awakenings. It's also the perfect time to take your cues from Mother Nature and devise a plan to reduce and reimagine your way to a refreshing, updated home you can fully enjoy once more.

      Reorganize cluttered areas
      If a room (or rooms) in your house are in disarray, start by reorganizing those often-used spaces to give them a like-new look and feel. Begin by removing everything from the room - including the furniture, if you're able - and separate your belongings into boxes or piles based on what you plan to put back in the room, move to another location and throw away or donate. Once you've cleaned the space, resituate the necessary furniture then place items you're keeping back in their places in tidy fashion so they're easy to locate.

      Eliminate the extras
      While you're freshening up the house, it's the perfect time to purge unwanted and unused items, but remember that items in good condition can actually do good for those in need. By donating clothing, electronics, furniture, household goods and vehicles to be sold in The Salvation Army Family and Thrift Stores, you can help transform lives in your local community. A good rule of thumb: if you haven't used it in the last year and it doesn't have special sentimental value, it's probably time to let it go.

      Get rid of grime
      A whole season's worth of dirt and dust accumulates during the cold winter months. A deep clean inside and out can restore your home to its former glory. Inside, take time to launder all of your linens, including curtains, rugs and bedding. Move furniture to vacuum behind and below, and don't overlook dust and dirt magnets like mirrors, light fixtures and the insides of cabinets, especially higher shelves that see infrequent use. Outdoors, hose off or power-wash surfaces like windows, siding, decks and concrete to restore a crisp, clean appearance.

      Revise for real life
      If there's an area of your home that isn't quite working for your lifestyle, spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to make a change. That may mean reconfiguring furniture for a more functional living room or converting an underused guest room into a useful craft or project space. Take time to consider what changes will make the space more practical, and even sketch out some possibilities on paper to fine-tune your ideas before you get to work.

      Discover new decor
      A spring refresh is about more than just decluttering and cleaning, it's about giving new life to your home with new decor, accessories and artwork. One affordable option: seek out unexpected treasures by shopping for great bargains at thrift stores.

      Source: The Salvation Army

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Cookware Gets Healthy

      20 February 2018

      Americans’ growing focus on fitness and nutrition has found its way into our kitchens - not just in terms of the food in the fridge, but the cookware on our counters and stoves as well. Consider some of these items to get your kitchen tools on point with your health goals:

      Kombucha maker. At this year’s Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings Market, Typhoon Homewares introduced a line of fermentation and kombucha-making sets under its Kilner brand. Known for its high levels of probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins, Kombucha is a fermented tea that has become increasingly popular among the health-conscious. This line now allows you to make it at home as opposed to paying the high prices often found in stores.

      Rice cookers. From all varieties of pressure cookers - including the latest sensation, the InstaPot - to simple rice cookers, these handy counter-top gadgets allow you to quickly cook all varieties of rice and grains, including super nutritious quinoa and couscous.

      Green and copper pans. The eco-friendly GreenPan or increasingly popular copper pans offer the benefit of non-stick surfaces, which means you can cook without fats, like oils and butters. To preserve these pans, use only wooden or plastic utensils. Metal will scratch and ruin the non-stick surface, essential to avoiding those unhealthy fats.

      Herb and veggie preservers. Our best efforts at using more fresh herbs and vegetables often go to waste as these items go bad before we can finish them. There are several inexpensive gadgets that help preserve fresh herbs and veggies longer, however, such as Food Huggers that fit snuggly over those half cut fruits and vegetables.

      Blenders, big and small. Whether you go all out with a Vitamix, or keep it simple with a NutriBullet, it’s easy these days to make a quick, nutrient-dense smoothie, soup or dip. There’s something to fit everyone’s kitchen and budget.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Ways to Make Hard Conversations Easier

      20 February 2018

      Whether it's a big talk with the boss, a deep process with your partner, or breaking some hard news to your folks, communication is hard when the stakes are raised. Below are three tips to help.

      Work on body language. You know what your mouth is saying, but what about your body? It can be hard to move outside your mind and examine your body language. Are you closed or folded with arms and legs crossed? Is your body pointing away from your conversation partner? Pay mind to your body language before you begin speaking and monitor it as you go, too. This will help stop you from sending nonverbal messages that may not align with your words.

      Know what you want. It may seem ridiculous, but so many of us enter important conversations without a clear outcome in mind. Whether you want something vague like to simply be heard, or a more pointed goal, such as securing a raise or dividing chores with your spouse, enter the conversation with a clear goal in mind. This will help mitigate unnecessary back and forth and keep you focused.

      Create a calming ritual. If you're the type to get worked up before a big talk, create a calming ritual to have beforehand. Whether it's five minutes of meditation, a walk around the block with your pup, or a journaling session about what you hope to achieve from your talk, taking a moment to ground yourself can be helpful.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.