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4 Stylish Fireplaces Perfect for Your Home02.07.23

4 Stylish Fireplaces Perfect for Your Home
Here are four sophisticated fireplace designs to warm up any home! Peninsula Fireplace Open on three sides (hence the name), this modern design can be enjoyed from virtually any vantage point. Suspended Fireplace For a distinctly modern look, a suspended fireplace can hang from the ceiling or be mounted to a wall. Fire Ribbon Designed with a gas burner, fire ribbons are often used to create a long horizontal flame that complements any living space with crisp, flowing lines. Double-Sided Fireplace A double-sided fireplace can separate tw Published with permission from RISMedia.

Money Mistakes Everyone Can Learn From02.06.23

Money Mistakes Everyone Can Learn From
Not Preparing for EmergenciesAn emergency fund is important for anyone. A signing bonus"whether you’re a pro athlete or a non-athlete receiving a one-time bonus for meeting goals at work"can help give a big boost to an emergency fund. Aim to have one years salary in savings for emergencies, such as losing your job. Saving and Investing EarlyHaving large paycheck for 10 years or so can lead to forgetting about saving and investing for the long-term. If you’re a high earner, regularly getting significant checks can make you think the good times will last forever and that you dont need to save for retirement. Living paycheck-to-paycheck can also be difficult and push you into putting off saving or investing for retirement. Try not to let that stop you from contributing to a 401(k) retirement plan at work, especially if your employer matches your contribution. Its turning away free money. Too Many Hangers-OnChances are you dont pay for your friends and family every time the bill shows up, but you may be paying people in small ways that can add up. Do you loan money out without ever expecting to be repaid? Do you charge a few rounds of drinks after work, only to forget it until your credit card statement arrives? Your generosity could be costing you, especially if you cant afford it. Cut back such spending and put that money in a savings account instead. Any financial mistakes could be devastating if you dont get them under control. Published with permission from RISMedia.

Wood Floor Alternatives Worth a Second Look02.05.23

Wood Floor Alternatives Worth a Second Look
Wood floors are a top choice for modern homeowners. Proponents believe they offer warmth as well as elegance, but they do require care to maintain their luster and are costly. Fortunately, say flooring exerts, technology makes it easy to achieve the look and feel of wood flooring without the need for special care"and at a far lower cost. Check out the look and feel of these alternatives at local flooring or big box stores. (If you don’t plan to do it yourself, factor in $30 to $45 an hour for professional installation): BambooBamboo flooring is an eco-friendly alternative to hardwood that is easy to clean, shrugs off wear and tear, and results in a similar look. Available in vertical, horizontal or strand-woven varieties, it will cost $2 to $5 per square foot. Engineered WoodDesigned to handle moisture and wear, engineered wood flooring is durable, moisture resistant and available in a variety of wood-look patterns. This faux wood flooring is so much like the real deal (because it includes real wood in the layering) that it can even be refinished. Expect to pay $8 to $12 per square foot. LaminateLaminate vinyl is a photo of wood that is laminated onto vinyl flooring. Very resistant to high-traffic wear, it’s available in a wide variety of wood-like designs. It’s moisture-resistant, making it a great choice for kitchens and bathrooms. Laminate vinyl can come in sheets, tiles or planks. The price is significantly less than hardwood, with luxury vinyl tile coming in at $2 to $5 per square foot. Porcelain TileA perennially popular flooring material, porcelain flooring comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and designs, many of which mimic wood-grain textures. In general, tile is durable, easy to clean and water resistant, making it ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. Large-format tiles can serve as a dramatic decor element, visually expanding a room due to minimal grout lines. Average cost is $4 to $9 per square foot. Published with permission from RISMedia.

5 Design Features for a Luxurious Shower02.04.23

5 Design Features for a Luxurious Shower
Here are 5 features to create the perfect shower area in your home… Dual Showerheads Dual showerheads allow for a spacious shower area where couples can go about their routine without having to wait. Rain Shower Rain showers create a relaxing and luxurious feeling of water cascading down on you. Vitamin C-Infused Shower Vitamin C-infused showers reduce chlorine levels in your water and leave your skin feeling softer and healthier. Steam Shower Relax for a few minutes each day and enjoy the restorative benefits of steam heat. Capture a View Elevate your shower experience with a breathtaking view. Published with permission from RISMedia.

Homeowners: Know How to Complete These Basic Tasks02.03.23

Homeowners: Know How to Complete These Basic Tasks
Owning a home is infinitely rewarding but issues do pop up, and theres no need to call a handyman every time something goes haywire. The home repair experts at HGTV suggest four things every homeowner should know how to do: Change smoke detector batteries. Do this twice a year or anytime you hear a loud chirping. Get up on a ladder and twist the body of the unit off the bracket. If it isnt hardwired, it will completely remove. Change the battery and twist it back in place. Find the main water shut-off valve. If you ever come home to a flooded floor, you need to be able to shut off the water to the whole house ASAP, especially if the source of the water leak is unclear. Thats why every homeowner should know where her main shutoff valve is, and every home is different. Look near the perimeter of the house at ground level nearest your water meter. The shutoff valve might be in a basement, crawlspace, closet or garage, but should never be covered over with drywall. Look for an access panel or hose bibb (a threaded faucet.) Change the air filters in your HVAC system. Locate your return air intake and open the door by releasing the clips at the top of the frame. The disposable filter rests just inside. Note the size and/or take it with you to the home store for comparison. Bring a stack of new filters home, slide a new one in place and close and latch the door. Find a wall stud. If youre hanging a picture or shelf, you need to be able to locate a wall stud to nail into for support. You can shell out the 20 bucks for a battery-powered stud finder, but there is a simple alternative. Start by locating an electrical outlet along the wall, since the receptacles are typically fastened to one side of a stud. Studs should be located every 16 inches or so, although yours may vary. Tap on the drywall"it should sound hollow as you move to the left or right. As the sound changes, that indicates where the stud is. Published with permission from RISMedia.

5 Ideas to Upgrade Your Basement02.02.23

5 Ideas to Upgrade Your Basement
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How to Incorporate Wood Into Your Interior Design02.01.23

How to Incorporate Wood Into Your Interior Design
Whether you like a rustic, industrial or mod look in your space, the next time you’re considering an interior redesign, don’t miss out on decorating with wood. Floors If you can, wood flooring is one of the loveliest ways to use wood in your space. Choose a stain that compliments your space"like a light blonde wood for smaller rooms or a darker variety to make wide open spaces seem intimate. FurnitureIf you do have a wood floor, choose a different wood tone for your furniture to avoid your pieces getting lost. Blonde wood furniture atop a darker, mahogany floor can be gorgeous. WallsDon’t let wood paneling taint your impression of wood walls. Choose a natural, grainy wood and apply it to one wall for a chic, rustic pop of color. ArtLook for wood pieces so gorgeous you’d like to hang them on your wall. Turn to farmer’s markets, craft fairs and even Etsy for seriously gorgeous wooden art pieces. Accessories Wood coasters, wood coat racks by the door, wood crates as end tables and even staining your wooden window frames can all add a little extra wow factor to your space. Published with permission from RISMedia.

How to Ease Into Minimalism01.31.23

How to Ease Into Minimalism
Are you interested in the idea of minimalism, but unsure of where to start? Consider the following… Get your family on board. You’re fighting a losing battle if only one person in your household wants to minimize. Chat with your spouse, kids or roommate about why a minimalistic home space is important. Once everyone is on the same page, go room by room and itemize your belongings. After youve taken stock of everything in your home, start the purging process. Begin by ditching duplicates to get you on the right track. And, most importantly, aim for dual function furniture, like a kitchen island that opens into a dining room table. Published with permission from RISMedia.

How Much Screen Time Is Right for Your Child?01.30.23

How Much Screen Time Is Right for Your Child?
In the modern world, children are exposed to technology at a young age. Many parents introduce their children to technology early in the hope that they will grow up to be tech savvy and do well in school and on the job. With all of the challenges and stresses of being a parent, it can be tempting to sit children down in front of the TV to have some time to cook, clean and do laundry. Scientists have noted that too much screen time, particularly at a young age, can affect childrens development. The amount of time that children spend in front of screens should therefore be monitored and limited. Effects of Too Much Screen TimeToo much exposure to technology can cause children to become detached from their families and friends. Kids may spend so much time focused on TV, video games or a computer that they are not having conversations with others, even if they are sitting in the same room. Kids who spend several hours a day in front of a screen dont spend nearly as much time playing outdoors. Exercise helps children develop motor skills and maintain a healthy weight. Exposure to sunlight and fresh air can reduce stress and contribute to a sense of wellbeing. Children lose these benefits if they spend hours inside focused on a screen. Too much time watching TV and playing video and computer games can cause children to become overstimulated. This can cause them to become easily distracted, making it difficult for them to concentrate in school. If children have TVs, video games or computers in their bedrooms, they are often tempted to use them at night when they should be sleeping. Even if parents impose strict bedtimes, studies have shown that using a screen shortly before going to bed can make it difficult to fall asleep, which means children may not get the rest they need to stay focused in school the next day. It’s important to make a distinction between time spent watching TV and playing video games for entertainment and time spent using a computer for homework. The risks to childrens health and development come from overuse of screen time for entertainment. The Right Amount of Screen TimeThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 18 months not be exposed to screens at all because of the impact on their brain development and ability to bond with family members. Between the ages of two and five, the AAP advises parents to limit screen time to an hour a day. For older children, parents should use their discretion. Talk to your family about the benefits and risks of technology and set guidelines for your children. Set a positive example yourself. Make a point of spending time with your children talking face to face without distractions so you can develop strong bonds as a family. Published with permission from RISMedia.

Using Encryption to Protect Your Computer01.29.23

Using Encryption to Protect Your Computer
No matter how complex your computer password is, it isnt enough to stop a thief from using other methods to steal your personal information if they find or steal your computer. A strong password may prevent someone from logging into your computer, but thieves can remove the hard drive and put it into another computer to access your files. They can also find other ways to copy files off the computer, and may even be able to reset the password and gain access to email, passwords and other personal information. Encryption can help by jumbling data on important files or whole devices using a mathematical process. The encrypted areas can only be accessed with a password, known as a key; thieves wont be able to reset the password if the device is encrypted. To encrypt your hard drive, you can use a free program such as VeraCrypt or do it yourself in a few minutes through programs already installed on Windows and Apple computers. Search How to encrypt on your computer and follow the simple directions. Windows computers have a Device Encryption area in the System folder. Users must log into Windows with a Microsoft account. If your computer doesnt support device encryption, you can use another built-in encryption tool called BitLocker. Its available only on Professional versions of Windows and above, though Home edition users can upgrade for $99. Mac laptops are also easy to encrypt. A feature called FileVault encrypts an entire system drive and can be turned on in the Security & Privacy section under Preferences. Dont store the encryption key (password) on the computer being encrypted. Instead, save it in a safe place in case you ever get locked out. Write it down and dont put it out in plain sight. Better yet, lock it in a physical safe that only you can access. Without the password, you wont be able to retrieve your information online if your computer is lost or stolen. Modern iPhones and Android phones automatically encrypt data if a PIN or password is used. Encryption only needs to be turned on with a desktop or laptop computer. Along with encryption, you should keep a good backup of your data on another hard drive"which you should also encrypt"or with a cloud service that keeps your data secure. Published with permission from RISMedia.

5 Tips to Help Declutter Your Home01.28.23

5 Tips to Help Declutter Your Home
Here are a few tips to better organize your living space. One Room at a Time Decluttering your entire home can be a daunting task, so its best to tackle one room at a time. Identify the Nonessentials Consider whats essential and whats not. If you can live without it, toss it, or better yet, donate it! Curate the Surfaces Countertops, tables and shelves tend to bear the brunt of a disorganized living space. A Place for Everything Once youve identified a designated place for everything, make the effort to develop good habits to maintain organization. Hide the Wires Whenever possible, go with wireless technology to keep the ambience feeling streamlined. Published with permission from RISMedia.

4 Surprising Credit Card Rewards Facts01.27.23

4 Surprising Credit Card Rewards Facts
Credit card rewards can be a free way to travel and get cash back for your daily expenses. But if youre not paying your credit card bill in full when it arrives, then youre paying interest and those free rewards are no longer free. Thats not a surprising fact, but its a top one to keep in mind when considering these four surprising facts about credit card rewards: A 1% reward Dont expect to receive nearly in much in rewards points as you do in spending to get them. The typical reward point is worth about 1 percent of what you paid to earn it when you cash it in for airline miles, hotel room, cash back or any other reward. The lender expects that you wont pay the monthly bill in full, and possibly late, meaning youll pay interest charges and late fees. That can make rewards points more costly. Remember the annual fee Rewards cards with annual fees usually offer better rewards than cards without them. But the fees can require you to spend a lot of money to make the rewards worthwhile. If the average rewards point is worth 1 cent, youd have to spend $9,500 annually, or $791 per month, to offset a $95 annual fee. Annual fees can be worthwhile in other ways. A rewards credit card can offer rewards such as upgrades on flights and rooms, airport lounge access, and free luggage check-in. New cardholders may have the fee waived in the first year as an enticement to join. Rewards expire Look on your credit cards website or in the agreement it mailed you, and somewhere in the fine print youll find details on when your rewards points expire. From 12-24 months is likely, though some may let you buy back points after they expire. Points drop in value If you dont redeem points regularly, you could see them drop in value as airline frequent flier programs and other programs change their redemption requirements. Youll likely get advance notice from the credit card company before any program changes are made. With a few months notice, you should have some time to redeem your points earlier than planned and get the most out of them. As with any financial product you pay for, be sure to read the fine print in the long, boring contract you get in the mail when the credit card is sent to you. It should explain in detail how its rewards points work. I hope you found this information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate information needs today! Published with permission from RISMedia.

5 Amazing Building Amenities for Luxurious City Living01.26.23

5 Amazing Building Amenities for Luxurious City Living
Published with permission from RISMedia.

5 Ways to Pick the Perfect Color Scheme01.25.23

5 Ways to Pick the Perfect Color Scheme
If you’re revamping your interior design scheme, you may be considering a new color palette. Should you go with earthy hues? Vibrant jewel tones? Cool blues and grays? Below are five ways to pick a color scheme that will work for you. Choose from what you have. If you’re not revamping with an entirely new furniture set, then you may want to pick a color from what you already have. A boldly patterned sofa or floor rug can serve as a jumping off point. Start with three. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with options, choose three colors you love and keep it to there, with one as your main color, another as your secondary and a third for accents. (Four if you count white, which is more of a neutral). Base with black. If you can tie black into your color scheme, you’ll always have something easy (and versatile) to return to. No need to get macabre"think black appliances in the kitchen, black end and coffee tables in the living room, and black cabinetry in the bathroom. Decorate with 60-30-10. This rule, used by many interior designers, gives you a mathematical breakdown of how much of each color you should use to give your space balance. Go with 60 percent of your main color (like, your walls), 30 percent your secondary (hello, furniture) and 10 percent that pop of accent"light sconces, art, throw pillows, blankets, etc. Move from dark to light. So, you have your chosen colors"now what? A top designer tip when adding color to your home is to place the darkest colors low, like the carpet, floor or furniture, and then move to medium shades for the walls and art, and the lightest hue on the ceiling. Published with permission from RISMedia.
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