Decocrated Decor Subscription Review

I love being a homemaker and I have so much fun coming up with new ways to make our home look better.  One way I like to keep things fresh is by using seasonal decor. It brightens my day and just gets me in the mood the season. Recently I had the chance to check out Decocrated. They are a subscription that sends out a curated box of seasonal decor four times a year. [Read more…]

Tips To Improve Your Home For The Summer

During the summer, it’s the perfect time to kick back, relax and enjoy the sunshine. However, this time of the year is perfect to catch up on a few to-dos around the home. Here are a few tips to improve your home for the summer.

Check Your AC Unit

The summer is when you’ll certainly take advantage if your air conditioning unit, so it’s worth knowing a few HVAC repair companies just in case you might need one. It’s always beneficial to get this checked out before summer comes around because once a problem occurs, it can be a nightmare if it happens during the height of the warm weather. In general, to keep your AC unit in good use, vacuum the fins of the unit. Be careful when doing this as they are usually fragile. Replace the filters when needed and keep your home well ventilated.

Do Some Painting

With the warm weather being the main feature of this season, it means that you are more likely to have your windows open for the majority of the day. So if you have a few decor touch-ups that you want doing to the property, then this is the right time to be doing them. For painting, you want to be able to keep your windows open for at least 24 hours, so it’s something that’s worth doing late at night so that it can ventilate out of the room throughout the night and day. Keep the doors closed to separate the smell from the rest of the home.

Wash The Exterior

A power washer can be a great purchase because it can help make the exterior of your home look brand new. This should be something that’s done on an annual basis because a lot of dirt and debris can end up getting caught on the exterior of your home and it can be surprising as to how much dirt it can actually remove from the brickwork. Power washers are dangerous, so it’s important to be very careful when using this and that you don’t have any small children or pets running around that might want to go near it. It jets out water at such a powerful rate that it can cause harm to those who get in its way.

Maintain The Outside Space

Talking of the outdoors, your outdoor space will need maintaining, regardless of how much or little there is of it. Clean out the gutters of any debris to prevent flooding and get rid of any weeds or dead plants that might be around your garden or in between the tiled floors. Regularly mow any grass and look after any outdoor furniture that may get damaged in various weather conditions. Top up any painting to your fencing when needed and be sure to protect your plants and flowers with the relevant pesticides and sprays that might be needed to deter animals and pests.

With these tips, you can come home to a property that’s ready to enjoy all summer long.

Fixer Upper Fundamentals For Your Consideration

Side hustles are booming, as people choose to be a little more proactive with their disposable cash to make it work more aggressively for them. While savings accounts are reliable and a sure fire way of making a tidy bit of interest, the return on your cash is hardly lucrative. Many people choose to invest their cash into property as bricks and mortar is seen as a safe bet, if you purchase at the right price. Getting your hands on a fixer upper to renovate, relist and sell at a tidy profit can be empowering. However, it is not as simple as many renovation shows would lead you to believe. Take a look at these fixer upper fundamentals that you need to be aware of.

Structural Issues

It doesn’t matter whether you buy a fixer upper at auction or through the more traditional real estate route, there may be a range of structural aspects that you need to be aware of before you part with your cash. Subsidence or underpinning of the foundations should ring alarm bells, and you should never buy a property that’s undergone this no matter how much of a bargain it seems. You won’t be able to shift it once renovated.

Instead, look at those properties with only the most basic structural problems that are easy to fix. You might need some new roofing if there is a damp issue. You might need a damp course if there is rising damp in the basement. Or you might require new glazing if there are odd drafts or leaky seals. These are easy to fix, and will increase the value of the pad that you try to sell at the end of the renovation process.

Utilities

It’s vital that the home you buy has all relevant utilities connected. This can take time to organize, but it is crucial to ensure that you realize the ceiling price for the humble abode. Hook up to the latest cable, ensure that WiFi connections are ready to go, and make sure water, electricity and gas is connected. This will allow you to install a gas hob, electric oven and any networked systems throughout the home. This will help to future proof the dwelling, and help you to attract the millennial clientele who want the latest mod cons for their homes.

Be Objective

Forget the avocado suite that you have always wanted for your own bathroom, and the red high gloss kitchen that you’ve always adored. These are much too subjective and personal. Remember, you aren’t renovating your own home, you are creating a lifestyle and space for your potential buyers. You need to seduce them with a blank canvas that allows them to make their own mark on the home decor and style. While boring for you, and you may have to rein in your love of color, you will be making a greater profit. This is a business side hustle venture, not a personal project.

The aim of a fixer upper renovation is to make money to top up your savings or retirement fund, so make sure that you don’t lose sight of this. Buy well, list at the right price and sell quickly to make your fixer upper venture a success.

Bedroom Refresh with California Design Den

There’s nothing like a bed with clean sheets, except a bed with new sheets! I recently got a new set of sheets from California Design Den.

California Design Den offers great looking, high quality sheets.  These are 100% pure cotton,  sateen weave, and 600 thread count.

The sheets are quality tested and inspected.  They are manufactured with fade resistant dyes and anti-pilling fabric and are individually tailored with extra durable, fitted elastic.

Sheets from California Design Den also come in a variety of colors.  I chose this dark grey color, as it matches well with a couple of bedspreads I have.

The sheets are very soft and comfortable and they go great with our bedding!  If you are in the market for some new bedsheets, I definitely recommend these!

 

Practical Tips to Help You Ditch Bottles for Good

We all know how important it is to look after our environment by reducing waste and lowering our carbon footprint. The decisions we make today are going to have a profound effect on our future generations, and it’s vital that we change our ways now to encourage our kids to learn the same habits.

It takes small and steady steps in order to truly break away from those poor habits, but how exactly can we achieve those goals? If you’re someone that has been buying or using bottled products for a long time (such as bottled water) then it can be challenging to break out of that habit. So in this article, we’re going to talk about a couple of practical tips that can help you ditch the bottles for good so you can be more friendly towards the environment and help preserve the planet.

Check if your tap water is safe to drink first

Before you decide to throw out the bottles and drink purely from your tap, make sure the water is potable first. Here are the main ways you can find out if the water in your area is safe to drink:

  • Search a database of tap water reports such as ewg.org
  • Check with your water company by contacting them over the phone
  • If your drinking water is from a well, you may need to contact your state government
  • You can perform a water test with specially designed kits

If you’ve performed all of these and found out that your tap water is in fact not safe to drink or could contain pollutants, then you may need to boil the water first or consider using a water filter.

Consider getting a water filter if it’s not, or to improve the taste

If your tap water isn’t potable from the faucet then you may need to consider purchasing a filter. Websites like theberkey.com will give you plenty of information on the types of filter you can purchase, but there are three main options that you should consider.

  • Purchase a standalone filter jug that needs to be filled with water. Refills are generally a lot cheaper per litre of water compared to bottled water and they’re convenient for a quick glass of water.
  • Add a filter to your kitchen tap or a specific drinking fountain faucet that automatically filters the water as it is needed.
  • Add a filter to your entire home plumbing system. This can be quite expensive but will ensure that all of the faucets in your home carry potable water.

Filters can also help to improve the taste of water if you don’t like how your tap water tastes. Some find that higher-quality filters can make the water taste better, whereas low-quality cheap filters may impede the taste.

Look at how much money you’re spending on bottles

If you want a practical tip to help you ditch bottles for good then you only need look at how much you’re spending on bottled water. Sure, you can generally purchase larger bottles of water for a much cheaper price, but they’re frustrating to store and move around. When you compare the cost of bottled water to that of a filter refill, you’re getting far less water for your money.

Take a look at how much money you spend on bottled water in a month and calculate those costs. Then compare them to the cost of a filter either for your entire home or as a jug with refills.

Understand that water is water and there’s nothing special in those bottles

Bottled water can be incredibly expensive especially if it’s dressed up in a fancy bottle or has ridiculous promises such as rejuvenating your skin or being loaded with some kind of minerals that will help restore your youthful appearance. At the end of the day, water is water and it’s supposed to hydrate us, so there’s really no difference between bottled water or tap water assuming it’s potable.

In addition, some companies even go as far to bottle up tap water and sell it with sneaky advertising tricks to ensure that no one suspects it. Just take a look at this article from forbes.com that talks about Nestlé selling falsely-advertised bottled tap water as spring water!

Bottled water is, in most cases, no safer than tap water

Tap water is typically filtered or purified before it reaches your home. If it’s potable, then there’s really nothing in the water that could harm you unless there has been a contamination. When you compare this to bottled water, then you typically run the same risks and there’s no difference between the two types of water.

For instance, if a batch of spring water is contaminated then it could still reach your store shelf and end up being consumed by you. In other words, there’s really no safety advantage when it comes to bottled water.

Learn the impact that plastic bottles have on the environment

A great way to open your eyes to the waste problem in the world is to see it for yourself. Articles such as this one at truthout.org are a great wake up call that shows us just how bad plastic waste can get. Once you’ve seen the images, it’s hard to imagine what the world could look like a couple of years from now if we continue to contribute to the world’s waste.

Understand the health concerns surrounding plastic bottles

Bottled water serves as a convenient source of calorie-free hydration, but drinking from a plastic bottle could actually be harmful to your health. This is because of BPA, an industrial chemical that’s used to make plastic bottles and resins. It’s typically found in food containers and bottles, such as the ones used to store bottled water.

Research has shown that BPA can contaminate food and drink and may have negative effects on your brain, on infants and also on behavior. This research isn’t widely discussed due to there needing to be more solid proof, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Apps For Optimising Internet Speed

Nobody wants to wait hours on end for a file to download, nor do they want to manually change their network every time they switch on a computer. Thankfully, the following apps offer the perfect solution when trying to get the most from the internet.  

Bandwidth Calculator – Discover how long a transfer will take

The Bandwidth Calculator rescues individuals from spending hours sitting at home staring at the computer screen wondering when their file is going to eventually finish its transfer. Instead, the app will provide all of the data one could possibly need. Not only does the clever tool calculate the exact time needed in order to transfer the file, but if someone has a set time frame in mind they will be able to calculate the bandwidth needed in order to achieve this.

NetSetMan – Manage all networks in one place

There is nothing more frustrating than having to manually change the location-based network every time a computer is switched on. Thankfully NetSetMan eliminates this annoying procedure. Individuals can manage all of their networks via one easy-to-use interface. All of the location-based settings are saved automatically, meaning it is easy to switch between various profiles with minimal hassle.

JD’S Auto Speed Tester – How fast is fast?

When people choose an internet provider they are promised a certain internet speed. JD’S Auto Speed Tester can find out whether the internet provider is living up to their promises or not. The innovative app is free to use and allows people to perform regular internet speed tests. It’s easy to comparatively analyse these speed statistics as speeds can be viewed via the hour, per day, by each week, and at the end of every month. This tool is great when determining whether the internet is performing to the level it should be or not.

Wireshark – The world’s first network protocol analyser

Wireshark has attained a reputation as the industry standard in network troubleshooting and analysis. This app can be used to browse all of the traffic running on a computer network. Whilst the programme scans the network individuals have the ability to create real-time filters. This makes it possible to determine the cause of any bandwidth problems.

TunnelBear – Say goodbye to blocked websites

TunnelBear is a fast and reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN). This app is widely considered to be the easiest to use of the VPN programs available today. Within the mere click of a button, an individual can have access to all websites – even those that have been blocked by a boss at work or those that used to be off limits because of geographical location.  This can also assist you in terms of security, which is something online BS healthcare administration and other degrees like this are increasingly focusing on today because the threats are increasing all of the time.

NetSpeedMonitor – A monitoring toolbar for Windows

This small and unobtrusive Window’s toolbar measures internet connection. The toolbar will provide figures regarding download and upload speeds. Information is provided regarding the volume of transfers on a daily and monthly basis simply via moving the cursor over the toolbar. The toolbar and the pop-up feature have been designed extremely well, ensuring that they do not get in the way of the desktop interface.

Nobody wants to wait hours on end for a file to download, nor do they want to manually change their network every time they switch on a computer. Thankfully, the following apps offer the perfect solution when trying to get the most from the internet. 

Bandwidth Calculator – Discover how long a transfer will take

The Bandwidth Calculator rescues individuals from spending hours sitting at home staring at the computer screen wondering when their file is going to eventually finish its transfer. Instead, the app will provide all of the data one could possibly need. Not only does the clever tool calculate the exact time needed in order to transfer the file, but if someone has a set time frame in mind they will be able to calculate the bandwidth needed in order to achieve this.

NetSetMan – Manage all networks in one place

There is nothing more frustrating than having to manually change the location-based network every time a computer is switched on. Thankfully NetSetMan eliminates this annoying procedure. Individuals can manage all of their networks via one easy-to-use interface. All of the location-based settings are saved automatically, meaning it is easy to switch between various profiles with minimal hassle.

JD’S Auto Speed Tester – How fast is fast?

When people choose an internet provider they are promised a certain internet speed. JD’S Auto Speed Tester can find out whether the internet provider is living up to their promises or not. The innovative app is free to use and allows people to perform regular internet speed tests. It’s easy to comparatively analyse these speed statistics as speeds can be viewed via the hour, per day, by each week, and at the end of every month. This tool is great when determining whether the internet is performing to the level it should be or not.

Wireshark – The world’s first network protocol analyser

Wireshark has attained a reputation as the industry standard in network troubleshooting and analysis. This app can be used to browse all of the traffic running on a computer network. Whilst the programme scans the network individuals have the ability to create real-time filters. This makes it possible to determine the cause of any bandwidth problems.

TunnelBear – Say goodbye to blocked websites

TunnelBear is a fast and reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN). This app is widely considered to be the easiest to use of the VPN programs available today. Within the mere click of a button, an individual can have access to all websites – even those that have been blocked by a boss at work or those that used to be off limits because of geographical location.  This can also assist you in terms of security, which is something online BS healthcare administration and other degrees like this are increasingly focusing on today because the threats are increasing all of the time.

NetSpeedMonitor – A monitoring toolbar for Windows

This small and unobtrusive Window’s toolbar measures internet connection. The toolbar will provide figures regarding download and upload speeds. Information is provided regarding the volume of transfers on a daily and monthly basis simply via moving the cursor over the toolbar. The toolbar and the pop-up feature have been designed extremely well, ensuring that they do not get in the way of the desktop interface.

Top Tips For Keeping Your Garden Maintained

We all keep on top of the maintenance with our homes but how many of us remember that our gardens and outside living spaces are just as important. If we leave them they end up looking like a jungle but if we nurture them they become an extension of our home and provide us with a perfect relaxation zone. There are certain things that you can do to keep your garden maintained and looking it’s best throughout the whole year, let have a look at some of the things you can do season by season.

Fall

Although people tend to think that the start of Fall is the time to move away from any sort of garden maintenance there are still plenty of jobs that you can be getting on with. This could be the perfect time of the year to start looking over bigger jobs such as installing and maintaining pergolas or adding and repairing walkways, driveways and slabbed seating areas as the season changes it’s cooler allowing you to carry our more strenuous jobs. Of course, you don’t have to take of this yourself and you could always look into professionals such as ProActive Landscaping, they are able to help with all your needs throughout the year.

Winter

There won’t be much that you want to be carrying out in the winter however, you should still be making sure that you have the steps in place to be able to clear pathways and driveways, remove and ice problems or build up and look into the condition of your irrigation. It may be worth having a look at stocking up with salt and making sure you have an adequate spade. Then you are able to move onto festive jobs such as installing Christmas lights and enjoying the Holiday Season if you’re expecting snow why not try out a bit of tobogganing.

Spring

Spring is seen as the ultimate time to start your garden clear up and to start any planned projects that you’ve been thinking about over the winter months. You can pretty much get on with anything and everything in the spring months as long as you are lucky enough to avoid the April showers. You should start with the basics and clear and debris, cut back anything that needs it and do an overall check of the condition of all the items in the garden, this means you are able to prioritize what needs to be done before the summer months arrive.

Summer

You may want to just sit back and relax in the summer months and who can blame you! It’s a good idea to make sure you are keeping on top of your garden even if it just by pottering around. The summer months are a good time to watch your garden flourish with green grass, bright colored plants, and well lit evening walkways and seating areas. Just be careful not to water your lawn or plants in the height of the day as believe it or not they can actually burn.

Do you have any other ideal jobs for each season? Please share them in the comments section below.

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Checklist

A kitchen is the hub of every home. It’s actually one of those places that can’t go unnoticed. Since the materials that are used in the kitchen wear out with time, you should consider scheduling a kitchen renovation every decade or so. Doing so helps in ensuring that your kitchen maintains its appeal and functionality. Besides that, remodeling throws in a punch of elegance where it matters the most. Beauty is not the only driving force here. Seeing that your kitchen has more space gives you a sense of pride.

As a matter of fact, homes that have upgraded kitchens command a higher price in the property market than those that are outdated. However, kitchen remodeling is not for the faint hearted. This is because you have to pay attention to every detail and also prioritize your needs. That’s why majority of homeowners prefer to hire a kitchen remodeling contractor to help them with the planning. But it’s not rocket science. You too can do it as long as you are willing to burn some

midnight oil. Here is a list of the things that should not be left out when remodeling a kitchen.

  1. Flooring

If the floor of your kitchen is in a sorry state, you have no option but to install a new floor. But before that, you have to literally remove the old floor. Depending on the square foot of your kitchen, such a job might take two or three days. There are actually two common types of floors that are ideal for kitchens; ceramic tiles and wooden. Both of them are actually easy to clean. However, a ceramic floor remains cold most of the time, meaning you have to wear your slippers or shoes to avoid the cold. In addition to that, you have to budget for the materials regardless of whether you prefer a ceramic or wooden floor. This is because the flooring materials are sold on the basis of square foot. You should therefore measure the dimensions of your kitchen before buying the materials so that you can approximate and avoid buying excess tiles or wood panels.

  1. Countertops and Faucets

A kitchen looks incomplete without countertop finish. When your countertop is functional, you can be sure that you will have enough space when preparing meals or cleaning the dishes. Unlike in the past when countertops were made from concrete, nowadays they are made from either marble or ceramic. The good thing is that there are many designs to choose from. Besides that, these modern countertops are very durable when compared with their predecessors. And that’s not all. Cleaning them is like a walk in the park.

Since they don’t allow water or any liquid to penetrate through them, stains become a thing of the past. You can get rid of a spill in a single wipe. Countertops go hand in hand with faucet. You must therefore install a new faucet after upgrading the countertop. Modern faucets come with chrome finish and retractable shower head among other features. A faucet that’s flexible is much better because you can conveniently fill your pots and other containers without putting them into the sink.

  1. Cabinets and Shelves

Cabinets and shelves provide space for keeping utensils in the kitchen. Instead of repainting your cabinets, you should just demolish them and replace them with new ones. But there are instances when you might want to install new shelves alongside the old ones, especially when you have just bought more utensils. Besides that, you have to choose the variety of wood that you want to use. Hardwood is usually the best but it’s also expensive. If you are on a budget, you should opt for softwood. Fortunately, nowadays you can order for prefab shelves and cabinets and mount them yourself.

Easy Tricks to Keep Your Lawn and Garden Weed-Free

Weeds. When you’re trying to maintain an attractive and healthy lawn and garden, they are the bane of your existence. It always seems like when you get rid of one, a dozen more pop up in its place. Weed eradication can easily feel like a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few easy tricks gathered from the pros, you can stay ahead of the weeds and keep your lawn and garden healthy and thriving all season long.

Know Your Weeds

The first step to any effective lawn weed control plan is to understand what you’re dealing with. Getting rid of dandelions, for example, requires a different approach than eradicating crabgrass or plantain, quickgrass, or thistle. Identifying the weeds in your lawn allows you to create a more effective plan, as there is no one method that will kill all weeds. In some cases, pulling the weeds out is the best option, while others will respond better to herbicide application. If you spot weeds in your lawn, do some research to determine what you are dealing with and uncover the best methods of getting rid of them.

Be Proactive

The best way to deal with a weed issue to keep it from happening in the first place. There are two main ways of doing this. [Read more…]

Scooting Towards Independence

Just because you’re a little less mobile than you used to be, there’s no need to think that you can’t get around and enjoy an active, full and independent lifestyle.

If you use an electric wheelchair at home, you already know how useful they are to get around your house and local vicinity, plus the convenience of having in-home power wheelchair repair at your fingertips. But if you’re looking to go further afield and cover more of a variety of terrains you might be looking to transfer to a power scooter for longer distances.

We take a look at some of the best mobility scooters on the market to help you get the very best value for money and stay on the go.

Must Haves

Before you get stuck in to the task of picking your scooter, it’s worth spending some time deciding on which features are going to be must-haves and which you could do without.

Do you need it to be lightweight and foldable, have a lighter steering mechanism or have a lot of room to store groceries and carrier bags?

Make a list of everything you’re looking for and a budget that you’d like to stay within before you start your search, to help narrow down your search parameters.

The Buzzaround Ex

This is a tough cookie and can get across even rough terrain on its heavy-duty tyres. With great suspension, a roomy basket and the ability to be disassembled and reassembled with no tools, this scooter is a great option for packing on holiday if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing.

The Travel Pro Premium by Pride

This three-wheeler is mid-price in the range and is lightweight and easy to steer. It’s perfect for shorter distances over more even terrain and features great manoeuvrability in tight spaces.

It can be easily disassembled and even features a drinks holder for your coffee on the go.

Shoprider Echo 3 Wheeler

This extremely light scooter is perfect for taking with you in the car. It’s quick connect battery means it can be put together very easily and is super light to transport. At the lower end of the price range, it’s a great standby to have.

There are plenty of options out there for all manner of styles and budgets. It’s just a case of finding the scooter that gives you exactly what you need. Whether you’re planning on taking a holiday and need some mobility options or just need a little more power to get to the shops and back, just a little research will help you find exactly the model you need.

There’s no need to give up your independence just because you need a bit of extra support. Treat yourself to a device that gives you the freedom to roam and explore, whether that’s a lightweight three-wheeler or a heavy-duty all terrain scooter, get your scoot on and look forward to staying independent and free for many more years to come.