Category Archives: misc.

What to Do with Grandma’s Old Ring

It’s a very special moment when a ring gets passed from one generation to the next. It might have come your way because you’re standing on the verge of getting married, or it might have passed your way through a will or estate: No matter how it came to you, there are always a few ways to breathe new life into vintage, antique or valued pieces of art. Here are some practical ideas for what to do with grandma’s old ring.

Do Your Research

Step one is to start by doing your research on the piece so that you know exactly what you have. This includes asking family members if they know the story or origin of the ring; you will also want to take a look at any serial numbers imprinted on the ring, which will tell you more about its contents – and possibly its manufacture. With this, also note its condition and – we’d highly recommend it – have it professionally looked over and graded by an expert.

A Professional Cleaning

Breathing new life into an old piece of jewelry can be as easy as a professional, good cleaning session. Now, it’s very important that you use the right cleaner for your type of jewelry, and for this we’d recommend that you visit a jewelry store and tell them exactly what it is that you want to clean. (There are many horror stories of people who cleaned a valuable piece and did more harm than good.) Read the product’s instructions carefully before you apply it to anything valuable!

 Resizing and Redoing

If you plan on wearing the ring again, it’s also worth putting some thought into getting the ring resized for your hands. Take it to an expert jeweler and they will be more than happy to resize a piece according to your requirements. If you want any changes brought to the piece, like something added or taken away, now is the time to do it. Make sure that you choose a store with a reliable reputation to work on your piece.

Wear It!

If you don’t want to go to the trouble to have the ring re-sized, you could always wear the ring on a chain instead: Ornate or simple gold or silver chains are usually easy to find and can compliment a ring perfectly.

New Life

New life can also be brought to a piece of jewelry by having it turned into an entirely new piece. Yes, most jewelry makers are happy to do this. You can have the piece melted on-to another piece, or melted down and turned into something new. Technically, it’s still the same piece – just with some new and exciting flair.

Have it Insured

Always remember to take special care with a valuable piece: Have it insured, either as a separate piece or as part of your existing household insurance. In the case of robbery, loss or natural disaster – and it happens! – you’ll really wish you had.

Sell It and Invest

Let’s face it: There are times when life hits an unexpected turn and you need some money. Or, you might just decide that you could use the money towards something for the future. Then, consider selling the piece and investing the money. If you want to sell the piece, do so through reputable dealers, and make sure that you have your paperwork in order; take detailed pictures and know exactly what you’re selling.



Quick Inspiration–Overcoming Gym Intimidation

What to Look for When Buying a Wine Cooler

Many websites such as sell wine cabinets or coolers. If you’ve never purchased a wine cooler before, though, you may be lost about what to look for. Which features should you consider to get a wine cooler that meets your needs? Below are some tips that can make the process easier.

Consider the Size of the Cooler

The first and most important thing to consider is the cooler size. How many bottles of wine do you hope to store inside your cabinet? Also, think about how much space you have and your spending limit.

In general, most coolers are large enough to store 12 bottles of wine. This is a pretty standard size. If you have the space, however, choose a size that can fit an extra four or five bottles of wine. For example, a chiller that holds 15 to 18 bottles gives you plenty of storage with a little room to grow. However, they make wine cabinets that are much bigger. Some are large enough to store more than 50 bottles.

Get the Temperature Just Right

Another big factor to consider is the temperature. Any wine enthusiast knows that wines need to be chilled and stored at certain temperatures to preserve the taste. Most red and white wines are stored at two separate temperatures.

For example, red wine is usually stored at between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, while white wine needs to be a bit cooler at 49 to 56 degrees. Unless you like drinking only one type of wine, it may be beneficial to buy two small coolers instead of one large cooler. However, you could consider getting a cooler that has dual climate control.

Block Those UV Rays

Did you know that ultraviolet lights are harmful to wine? The more UV rays that wine is exposed to, the more that it changes the original flavor. One way around this is to look for wine coolers that block UV rays. They typically come with special filters for the glass doors. The filters allow you to still peer into the cabinets, but they prevent UV light from passing through. This feature typically doesn’t cost much and will do your wine a world of good.

Finding the right wine cooler can help you store your bottles properly for a long time to come. If you love drinking wine, you don’t want to be without at least one wine cooler that can keep it at the correct temperature. Considering the above factors will ensure that you never waste a perfectly good bottle of wine again.

Is it Too Late to Start a Blog?

Many people wonder if it is too late for them to start a blog. The truth is that it is never too late to start a blog. Even if your company has been going for a while, you can still benefit from a blog. Of course, most experts recommend that you start a blog long before you ever start a business. But if you are considering blogging, there are some pretty compelling reasons to do it.

Benefits of a Blog

First let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a blog. One of the first benefits to be aware of is that blogs drive traffic. If your business is an online business, and you sell items or services from your website, then you are always looking to get more traffic. Although a blog post will drive traffic to the blog, you can always redirect that traffic back to your sales page by including links within the content or sales widgets on the sidebar. In addition, blogs get you indexed for more keyword terms. This this is especially true for longtail keywords, which is going to drive a significant portion of your traffic. Finally, a blog allows you to communicate with your customer and let them get to know your company better – especially you as a thought leader and industry expert.

How to Create a Blog

So how do you create a blog? In order to create your first blog, you have to make a few choices. The first is whether you are going to use a blogging service like WordPress (the website not the platform) or Blogger, or whether you’re going to install the WordPress platform on your own website and blog there. You also have to choose a name for your blog and decide what sort of content you are going to include. You also want to figure out what sorts of keywords you want to target with your blog posts, which is what we will get into in the next step.

What to Write Blog Posts about

Figuring out what to write your blog posts about is something that everyone struggles with. Many companies write about things that interest them and those within their company, without thinking about how a customer would perceive it. Your blog post should solve a person’s problem or give them information that they needed. A blog post is not an opportunity to pitch someone your products. You can still get that traffic redirected to your sales pages if you do it carefully. In fact, let’s take a look at exactly how to do that in the next section.

How to Use a Blog to Increase Sales

If you want to use your blog to increase sales there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is one of the benefits of having a blog. But the way that you go about increasing those sales is important. For example, your blog post should be nothing more than that – a blog post. If you want, you can link to your sales pages or mention items briefly that apply to the content, or you can post a widget on the sidebar with your items for sale. But the blog post itself should be about the topic. Another way that you can use the blog post to increase sales is by getting people to sign up for your mailing list after they have read the content. This may also be done through the sidebar or through a link somewhere in the content. These are both great ways of using your blog to increase sales.



5 Things Older Citizens Should Do to Protect Their Homes

While grandparents can play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, there is also a need for parents (yes, that is you) to make sure that nana and papa are well protected as they grow into their old age.  This is important as there are many ways that the elderly can fall prey to those with ill intentions in their heart.  As such, it falls on the entire family to find ways to help protect nana and papa and their home and this article will outline five ways in which to do so.


Preventing Home Invasion

One reason the elderly who live alone are deemed to be easy prey by robbers is that they tend to go to bed early.  This means that robbers can hit several houses in one night.  However, there are several precautions which can be taken to prevent bad people from getting into the house.

For starters, they can make sure that all doors and windows are locked when they are home.  This is important as many times robbers will try to enter the homes when someone is in the house as they believe it is easier.  In addition, if they have an alarm then they should use this always – including any panic button which they should keep with them.

Regarding all doors and door frames, they should not only be wooden but should be reinforced by steel or another metal and any windows should be shatter-proof.  Doing so will help to make it harder for any unwanted visitors to enter the home.

When it comes to someone knocking at the door there are two things to keep in mind.  First, always ask the person to identify themselves.  Another tip is to install a security camera and lights at all entrances.  This will help record who comes to the house in case something is amiss.

Remember the saying ‘good fences make good neighbors’?  The same is true when it comes to preventing home invasion.  If your parents live in a home with a gate, they should always keep it locked – better yet is to set it up with a camera and a remote as this will allow them greater control on who can access the property.


Spare Keys

When it comes to keys, it is important to remember is to never keep a spare key under the doormat.  Instead, it is wise to give family members a key to the home and if needed the homeowners can install a touchpad or some other combination lock to help them access the home in case they have misplaced their key.

This is important as many robbers take for granted that an extra key will be kept under a doormat or in a flower pot, or on a ledge.  You see robbers like homes that allow for easy entry and nothing could be easier than leaving a key next to the front door.


Back Up Energy

While we are fortunate to live in a country with a stable power supply there are times when the lights do go out.  Maybe it is from a big storm or it could just be that the system is overloaded – remember the blackout of 2003.

As such, having a backup power system installed in the home could come in as useful when the lights go out.  Not only will this make sure that the grandparents have energy but it will help them to remain comfortable while they wait for a family member to come and get them.  Lastly, a backup power system will make sure that any medical devices are operational while power lines are down.


It’s Not Just Break-ins You Need to Worry About

Unfortunately, many of the bad people preying on the elderly do not sneak around in the night.  Many are smartly dressed and seek to steal from grandparents in other ways – such as providing false or misleading financial advice.

This is a major problem as it leaves older Americans vulnerable to those who tap in the hard worked for value they have in their homes.  For example, there are many in the reverse mortgage market who are looking for shortcuts.  This is a shame as these products have been on the market since the 1960’s and many are even guaranteed by the government.

This means that they are safe products but just to be safe you should check out this reverse mortgage calculator at to make sure your parents are getting a good deal.  Doing so will help to protect their homes for the long run.


Home is Where the Heart is

Maybe as Americans, we have forgotten what life in an extended family is like.  But the reality is that having a large and involved family around is a safety blanket for everyone involved.  Not only does it help to share the work of having a family but it also makes sure that everyone is looking out for each other.

As such, home really is where the heart is and by promoting a place of safety, warmth, and love you are not only helping nana and papa but you are helping all generations to foster relationships and memories that will last a lifetime.


4 Innovative Home Design Trends to Watch Out For in 2018

Home design trends are integral to the work of an architect; clients will always be influenced by the homes they see on interior design blogs, so it’s important to stay aware of the latest movements. This year, layouts, features, and systems are evolving to suit the growing needs of the modern day homeowner, relying on both technological advances and ancient building practices to transform the architectural landscape.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the building sector consumes nearly half of all the energy we produce in the United States, so the lean toward sustainable design comes as no surprise. Whichever way you look at it, the future of architecture is going to be spectacular. Here are four innovative trends to watch out for this year.

Organic Architecture

Perhaps one of the most notable design trends for 2018 is the move toward earthen living. Over the years, home design has become increasingly energy efficient, but environmentalists think we can do better. Cue the development of organic architecture: a reliance on ancient building techniques and biodegradable, earthly materials that take us back to our roots. Despite having been built from dirt and stone, today’s “earth houses” are far from primitive, with structures proving comfortable, strong and beautiful. It is estimated that 50% of the world’s population lives in earthen architecture – and this is something Western countries are starting to pay attention to.

Flexible Floor Plans

On the other end of the spectrum, the world continues to move toward a more seamless, technology-driven existence. This means our homes are becoming more adaptable to our needs, paving the way for sliding partition walls and flexible floor plans. Adaptable design will allow rooms to transform into other rooms and living spaces to change along with our changing lifestyles. A large home office could, for instance, be divided into two rooms to accommodate a nursery; or else a dining room could flow seamlessly into the kitchen for family mealtimes, but become a smaller, more intimate space for dinner parties.

Adaptable “Bonus” Rooms

Dedicated living and dining rooms could also be replaced by large, adaptable multi-purpose spaces. While this trend accommodates our growing need for flexibility, it also remains conscious of the environmental and societal impact of larger homes. The trend towards minimalism and the Tiny House Movement of 2017 means many people are thinking of ways they can downsize or make the most of their existing spaces. Some modern homes also include private “bonus” rooms that can be adapted to suit a variety of needs.

Outdoor Living

This year will also see a trend towards the great outdoors, with many homeowners designing their backyards to accommodate everyday living. We’ve already seen outdoor lighting and garden decor soar in popularity over the past couple of years, but 2018 is set to take the design trend one step further. Expect to see bigger and bolder porch ceiling lights in modern homes, like the statement pendants and outdoor chandeliers available from YLighting, as well as sofas that look like they belong inside, wooden nesting tables and even tapestry rugs.

All in all, 2018 is set to be a dichotomous year for home design. While we continue to rely on technology to adapt our homes to our changing needs, there is also an increased sensitivity toward the environment and a need to return to more primitive times.


Fun Winter Activities You Can Do With Your Kids

One thing that many parents hate about winter is the cold temperatures. When the temperature drops, you’ll likely find that your kids spend more time inside as they play video games or sit in front of the television because they don’t want to deal with the ice and snow. As a parent, you can set a good example for your kids and show them how fun winter can be. Some of the best winter activities are those that you can do inside and out with your kids.

Go Sledding

As long as you have a hill nearby, you can plan a sledding day with your kids. You can pick up an inexpensive sled from almost any big box store. If you plan ahead, you’ll find cheap sleds at thrift stores, secondhand sporting goods stores and even yard sales. Kids can also have fun trying different things out as sleds like a trash can lid or the top to a plastic storage box. When using those items, just make sure that the hill has a softer slope that won’t cause them to fall off.

Plan a Ski Trip

Many parents don’t think about taking a ski trip because they assume that these vacations cost too much. While you may not have money in your budget to stay at a four-star resort, you may have enough cash to plan a day trip to a local resort. Some of these resorts offer specials for those who come on weekdays or those who come in a small group. You can even sign up for family classes or lessons that teach you how to snowboard or ski together. With Little Hotties hand warmers in your pockets, you and your little ones will stay warm on the slopes.

Make Real Hot Chocolate

Take a break from the cold weather outside to make some real hot chocolate together. Anyone can heat up some water and pour in a packet of powdered drink mix. Making hot chocolate from scratch helps you bond as a family and make a delicious treat that you can share. All you need is some chocolate, milk and a little sugar. Bring the milk to a gentle boil before adding the chocolate and the sugar. You can experiment with different flavors like cinnamon and vanilla and top each mug with some real whipped cream.

Try Maple Candy

Teach your kids how to make a simple but delicious snack that they’ll want to share with their friends with just a few simple things. Use a bowl to gather some fresh and clean snow. You’ll then pour a small amount of real maple syrup onto the snow. With a wood craft stick, carefully twist and turn the syrup to mix it with the snow. This creates a small piece of candy with an intensive maple flavor that kids and adults will love. It may even become a family tradition in your home.

Just because winter brings some cold temperatures to your area, that’s no excuse for spending every day in front of the television or away from your kids. You can create a new tradition with your kids that they’ll look forward to every year. Consider making hot chocolate and maple candy or going skiing or sledding together.

3 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

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Buying a house is a huge investment both financially and emotionally. Choosing where to live is no easy decision, you must consider a number of factors and mark each one against your lifestyle. You want your chosen neighborhood to have good transport links to be accessible for work, have an abundance of amenities, good schools, public spaces, and so the list continues. Once you have narrowed down your options, and selected areas on which to focus your search, you can then begin to look for a property that satisfies your needs.

It can be easy to be put off properties by their current condition, but to find a home that you can add real value to, you need to look beyond the cosmetic condition. As long as the property is structurally sound, and ticks your accommodation requirements, you have an opportunity to grow your investment while putting your own design style on it. Here are the top 3 ways to add value to your home.
The Kitchen
Kitchens are no longer just a functional necessity for the home. Kitchens are now multi-use spaces that families spend a lot of time in. If the property you are considering has a kitchen that needs attention, do not despair! While you are viewing it, try and establish whether the walls of the room are loadbearing; if they are not, they can easily be removed to make the room bigger. When it comes to the design for your new kitchen, choose durable flooring that will be easy to maintain, and adequate storage solutions so that counters can be kept clutter free to maximize the feeling of space.
The Bathroom
Bathrooms are the one room in the house that can provide a solitary sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life. Updating your bathroom will allow you to create an environment that you can relax and unwind in. While the bathroom furniture you select needs to be functional, this does not have to be at the expense of style. While trends come and go, a safe yet stylish option would be to incorporate contemporary bathroom products into your design. For example, the Duravit collection of bathroom furniture will give a contemporary update to your bathroom with its earthenware pieces. Even the smallest of bathrooms can be given a luxurious upgrade, just remember to choose furniture that retains visibility of the floor space to create the illusion of space.
The Curb Appeal
People often concentrate on the interiors of their home to add value, but is important to pay attention to the curb appeal of your property. Your outside space provides the backdrop to your home, and is an opportunity for you to show your design flair too. If gardening isn’t your thing, choose low maintenance options for the garden’s design. Remember, that you look out of your windows into this space, so you want it to be optimized for your enjoyment from inside, just as much as when you are outside.
You will hopefully have many happy years in your new home, and while cosmetic updates do cost money to fulfill, by choosing wisely this money will be returned to you when you come to sell the house. You don’t have to do all the updates at once, make a list of what you would like to change, and prioritize the rooms as you see fit.

How to Make Cleaning your House Easier When you are a Parent


Let’s face it. The duties of being a parent are never-ending.  

Our day-to-day consists of getting everyone ready for school, paying the bills, checking items off our to-do list, having dinner ready for all at night, and ensuring that everyone is ready for bed to start preparing for the next day.  

Our days spent as parents can often be described as cyclical since they tend to occur in the same fashion each and every day.  

Think about your day as a parent.  Besides the cycle just mentioned, what other variables can get thrown at you during the day?  

Some deal with work, socialization, and other outside factors as well.  

However, there is one common that all parents also handle, which is making certain that the house stays organized and clean on a daily basis.  It can be hard to make time for this to happen!  With all the other commitments and obligations we have as parents, sometimes, this step can fall through the cracks, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  

There are ways to keep up with your day-to-day and also keep up with the upkeep of housework, too.   

How can you make it happen?  Here are a few tips on how to make it easier on yourself when you clean your home.

  • Think small.  If you stop and think that you have the entire house to clean, it can be overwhelming.  Start small, and break it up into floors or sections.  Instead of saying that you need to clean the entire house, start by saying that today you are going to focus on only the bathrooms in your home.  Making it sound smaller or more of a simple to-do task also makes it feel more manageable and doable.
  • Involve the kids.  Who says that parents should be the only ones that are required to clean?  Everyone in your family lives in the house, so why not have everyone in the family help to keep that house clean?  Have a weekly chore list assigned to each child in the home (Pinterest has some nice ones you can print out).  Giving tasks such as cleaning their room, sweeping and vacuuming the common areas and washing, drying and putting away the dishes are great chores that kids can help do.  It also helps to relieve some of those items that you have to do on your to-do list!
  • Set a cleaning schedule.  Take out the work of thinking about what needs to be cleaned each and every day, and set a schedule so you automatically know what to clean based on whatever day of the week it is.  Have Monday be laundry day, Tuesday is the day to clean up the living room, Wednesday can be bathroom day…and on and on.  Leave a bit of extra time in case there happen to be areas that need some extra attention or a surprising mess that needs to be quickly cleaned, but overall, planning your days to clean certain areas will also help with your time management skills.
  • Invest in good cleaning products.  While cleaning products may be expensive to buy, it is also good to have products that aid in the efficiency of how you are able to use them.  This goes for detergents, brooms, vacuum cleaners, and even your own iRobot robotic cleaner if you can afford it (Parenting Pod has a good summary of the different models available).
  • Remove items that don’t belong in rooms.  In homes with children, toys are more than likely scattered from room to room.  Start removing items in each room that don’t belong there.  Once you have those items in hand, immediately take them to the space or room where they should be.  By doing this, it instantly helps to clear up clutter and make the room appear less-crowded and more manageable.  Most messes start with a foundation of clutter, so by lessening that from the beginning, the cleaning factor may also feel less daunting as well.

As a parent, cleaning is one of the chores that tops our list.  While it can be hard at times to be motivated to stay on top of cleaning up the house and all the messes that show up on a daily basis, it doesn’t have to be.  

Try the suggestions listed above to see if they can help you make that cleaning a tad bit easier.  Before you know it, your home may have such a great cleaning routine going on that the upkeep that goes along with it may take minimal time out of your daily schedule!


Look at These Six Things Before You Buy a Home

Buying a home is a big step. There is a lot that goes into it, and with so many things going on at once, some items might get overlooked. However before you make your purchase, it’s important that you go over some key details to ensure you know what you are getting into. To help you out, here are 6 things you’ll want to look at and consider before you sign any papers.


The Location

There’s a saying in the business world – “Location, location, location.” Essentially this means that no matter what your business is, the location is the most important factor. This is also true for your home. The location of the home will play a large role in not only the price, but how much you enjoy it. How far are you from the local stores? What school district are you in? Are there fun things to do nearby? What’s the weather like in this area? These are all important things to consider before you buy your home. You don’t want to make a purchase, only to discover it’s a long drive to get groceries, or that your area is prone to get bad hurricanes.



Looking a little closer to home, you’ll want to get a read on your potential neighbors if you can. Do they take care of their property? Do they have young kids? Are there any complaints within the neighborhood? Imagine moving you and your family in, only to discover the house next door is a home for a college fraternity. Problems with your neighbors could put a damper on the fun you experience from buying a home, so find out what you can before you move in.



Moving in closer, we have the landscape surrounding your home. What sort of privacy do you have in your yard? Is there a lot of work that needs to be done? Do certain areas flood after a heavy rainstorm? Changing the landscape of a yard is usually expensive, and you’ll want to think about this before you make any decisions. While you can certainly change things after you buy the home, it’s better if you don’t have to do too much work in order to get your yard the way you want it.


Major Appliances

Moving inside the home, you’ll want to examine any major appliances and hardware that are coming with the home. Things like the furnace, washer and dryer, central air conditioning, and dish washer are all expensive pieces, and you need to know what kind of shape they are in. The cost of your home is likely impacted by the inclusion of these pieces, but if they are in bad shape or need repairs, you don’t want to pay extra for them. Examine each carefully and make sure they work, and even consider having an expert come into the home and inspect them for you. Here is a list of the appliances you should check before including them in the sale of the home.



After the appliances, you’ll want to check on the floors within the home. Are they in good shape? Are you going to need to replace the carpeting? Do you notice any signs of water damage? Replacing the floor of a room can be costly, especially if it’s a larger room, so the less you have to do the better. Don’t be afraid to get down close and really examine the floors if need be to ensure they are in good shape.


The Roof

Finally, after looking down at the floors, look up towards the ceilings and the roof. If the roof is in bad shape, you could be in for some costly repairs. Take a look on the outside and see if you notice any damage. On the inside, you’ll want to look for signs of water damage within the ceilings – or signs that water damage was covered up. You can hire an expert to come in and examine the roof for you, or you can try to do it yourself. Either way, just be sure the roof is in good condition before you buy anything.


Doing Your Due Diligence

When buying a home, you need to check over every nook and cranny. There are some parts of the home you’ll want to give extra attention to however, as they could lead to costly jobs down the road. If you’re set on a home, consider hiring local professionals to examine it one last time before you complete the sale.


For instance, if you’re looking at homes for sale in Woodinville, WA, you could work with your local realtor, or check online listings, for professionals in that area. Experts in the area will know best what to look for in those types of homes, and will be able to give you a solid assessment. No matter how you go about it, as long as you are thorough, and examine the items mentioned above, you should find yourself pleased with your new home.