Saturday, February 11, 2017

7 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home


Selling your home is probably one of the bigger financial transactions you will ever encounter. Before actually putting it up on the market, consult your local real estate agent to see what you could reasonably sell your home for. She should be able to give you a list of homes that have sold in the area over the past few months. While your agent works on that, here are a few tips you can use to improve the appeal of your home to give it a pop and get you a higher sales price.

  1. Keep it tidy – cleanliness implies that a home has been well taken care of and your prospective buyers will definitely notice these things. Even the small things can make your potential buyer hesitant, such as excessive dust or dirty dishes in the sink. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions and you want to make sure you come across as though you’ve treated your house like a million bucks (or more).
  2. Choose your colors wisely – putting on a fresh coat of paint can make the difference between night and day. If you have “colder” colors on your walls now consider repainting. Warmer or neutral colors are more inviting, make the rooms appear larger and are more modern. Keep in mind that you always want to know what your buyers are looking for. Something as small as changing the color of your walls can go very far and oftentimes is a great return on your investment.
  3. Get packing – clutter is a huge turnoff for any potential buyer! They don’t want your old worn-out stuff and could be that last, final observation that keeps them from putting in an offer. Not only that but it makes the room looks smaller, it keeps some natural sunlight out, and makes it very hard for your buyer to envision their furniture in that same space. Take the time to throw away or donate any unused items and give your home some breathing room – your buyers will appreciate it.
  4. Get the carpets cleaned – if your carpets are beyond being salvageable then have them replaced, otherwise, it would be In your best interest to hire a professional carpet cleaner to erase some of those stains due to normal wear and tear. Not only that, but if you have pets, they help remove any pet stains or odors that could be buried deep in the roots of the carpet or locked within the fibers. Addressing the high traffic areas in your home is also important as this is where a lot of stains, dirt and debris will collect. In addition, your carpet cleaner will also finish off your carpet with a nice scented fragrance to leave the air smelling pure and deodorized. Doing this one thing gives you a huge bang for your buck and a nice return on your investment.
  5. Keep the plumbing in order – If you live in a rural area or your home is on the older side, you may have a septic tank. Septic tanks are individual systems to hold and rid your home of waste water and matter. You can give your buyer sound peace of mind by letting the know that you just performed a septic tank pumping recently. This will not only give them another 3-5 years without having to pump the septic tank again, but will keep the longevity of the septic system going well into the future. Not taking care of your septic system can cost you well over $15k in replacements if you don’t perform periodic maintenance.
  6. Window treatments – these are important because they can stage the mood of a showing. If your treatments aren’t properly adjusted, they can affect a room’s temperature by not allowing enough sunlight to enter. Make sure to adjust shades or blinds appropriately when showing your home in the morning, afternoon or evenings.
  7. The back side – part of selling your home quickly includes having great curb appeal and backside appeal! Clean up the area in the back as much as possible. Home owners like to see nice green grass that has been freshly cut. Again, it gives the appearance that you have really taken care of the home. If possible, plant some flowers and shrubbery to make the backyard more inviting and so that it encourages you to want to stay.


Implement these 7 tips when trying to sell your home and you are sure to realize the upside potential you were hoping for. Remember, staging your home is vitally important for a quick, top-dollar sale. Don’t skimp on the smaller ticket items, and P.S., great smelling candles also help.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

15 Ways to Warm Up Without Cranking Up the Heat




So many people plan ahead for winter, but it’s easy to forget how long the season can be in certain areas of the country. The shortened days, icy road conditions and cold temperatures can really take their toll once the holidays are over.
After a long winter with larger utility bills, the last thing you want to do is crank up the heater. Space heating is one of the biggest energy uses in the home, taking up nearly a tenth of the annual cost of electricity. While the weather is finally warming up outside you can use a few hot tricks to stay comfortable indoors without adjusting the thermometer.

Throw on a Beanie
A lot of heat is lost through our heads. Even though it only takes up 7-9% of our body surface, our heads account for about 10% of heat loss. Pulling on a fleece beanie can feel almost the same as bumping the temperature up a few degrees inside.

Throw on Some Socks
Another part of the body that can get chilly quick is the feet. The University of San Diego has conducted studies that found when people had cold feet they felt colder overall. Parents can pull on a pair of wool socks for warmth, but kids can be a little trickier. Seamless socks for kids are a great option for layering since they’re warm, comfortable, and less bulky. Just be sure the little ones are careful when they walk around on hard surfaces.

Throw on a Sweater or Two
Layering your clothes can help you keep warm outside or inside. In the late stages of winter an extra sweater is usually all it takes to get comfortable indoors. But it’s sometimes hard to stop kids from shedding their clothes. Like their socks, you’ll want to make sure sweaters are extra comfy so they keep them on.

Throw on Some Blankets
While you’re vegging out in front of the TV or asleep in bed layer on an extra blanket or throw. It may get a little cold when you get up but you’ll be toasty while you’re sitting or lying down.

Sip on Hot Beverages and Soups
Sipping on hot liquids can warm you up from the inside. Plus, they’re a delicious way to enjoy colder weather before the spring sets in.

Move Furniture Away From the Walls
Cold can seep in through the windows and walls. If your furniture sits right up against the wall you’re more likely to feel it.

Use Your Curtains Strategically
If you’re at home throughout the day use your curtain to let heat in and keep it inside. During the warmest part of the day open the curtains to allow heat and light in. Once it starts to cool off close them again.

Stay Physically Active
If you start to feel cold and want to warm up then get on your feet. A few sets of squats or a quick kitchen clean up is enough physical activity to warm up the body naturally.

Plug in the Humidifier
A lot of things contribute to the temperature of the air, including humidity. The more humid it is inside the warmer the air will be. Don’t have a humidifier? Then keep the bathroom door ajar when you take a shower to add more moisture to the air. Also, don’t use the vent when you shower or it will suck the humid air out.

Reverse the Turn on Your Fan
At the start and end of winter, you can actually benefit from keeping ceiling fans on the lowest setting as long as the circulation is reversed. Fans have a switch that allows you to control the direction that they turn. During the winter set the fan so that it turns clockwise to draw cool air up to the ceiling and push the warm air down.

Weatherize Around the Doors and Windows
If you haven’t already, weatherize around the doors and windows. This means sealing all the cracks and crevices around the edge where air leaks in. For about $10-15 you can make the temperature inside more comfortable year round with caulk and weather stripping.

Use Your Fireplace
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace this is a great way to warm up the immediate area without a heater. Just make sure to close the flue when a fire isn’t going.

Change the Sheets on Your Bed
Staying warm while you’re asleep largely comes down to your bedding. Instead of cotton sheets use fleece or flannel materials.

Warm Up Your Bed
Before crawling into bed you can make it warm and snuggly with a hot water bottle or hot soapstone.

Close the Doors of Unused Rooms
To help direct the heat into the living spaces keep doors to other rooms closed. If you have a guest bedroom or office that’s rarely used shut the vents to the room as well.



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

4 Insurance Plans That Protect Your Family and Financials





Insurance is an interesting thing. You pay for it every month, but you pray you never have to actually use it. But when you do need it, boy is it nice to know you’re covered.
Many people think of insurance as gambling against yourself when in actuality it’s an investment that protects your family’s financial stability. For the majority of people who live paycheck to paycheck, even a small accident could drain their savings account. Instead, you can use insurance as a safety net and sleep a little easier at night.

Auto Insurance
The experts over at acceptanceinsurance.com know a thing or two about planning for all the unexpected events in life. Every day they help people handle the aftermath of car accidents. Their team notes that between property damage and potential medical expenses even a small accident can be very costly.
Given that in 2015 alone there were 6.3 million police-reported car crashes the chances that you’ll be involved in one is high. That’s why auto insurance is at the top of this list. Out of all the types of insurance, you can purchase, this is one that is most likely to be used. When you’re selecting an auto insurance plan pay attention to:
  • ·  The monthly premium
  • ·  Deductible amount
  • ·  Actual cash value for replacing your vehicle
  • ·  Liability insurance coverage (for damages caused by your vehicle)
  • ·  Collision insurance coverage (for damage done to your vehicle)
  • ·  Comprehensive insurance (covers theft, vandalism and damage done by nature)
It’s also important to check the state auto insurance requirements. Most states require that all drivers have a minimum level of coverage.

Homeowners or Renters Insurance
The next most common type of insurance is homeowners or renters insurance. Let’s be honest. As a homeowner, I know from personal experience it’s the largest investment most of us will ever make. Insurance helps protect that investment and can ensure your family has a roof over their head if the worst happens.

There are a lot of options when it comes to homeowners and renters insurance, but one thing you’ll want to pay close attention to is how your possessions are covered. You can choose one of two options:

Replacement Cost – You’ll be reimbursed in the amount that it would take to replace the items that were stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Actual Cash Value – You’ll be reimbursed based on the value of the item at the time it was stolen, damaged or destroyed.
Typically, the replacement cost option has a higher monthly premium, but it offers better coverage. If you have really expensive items like an heirloom or piece of artwork you may need to add what’s called a rider for additional coverage.
Two other types of property insurance you may want to consider are mold and flood insurance. These are separate policies that you can add onto a conventional homeowners insurance plan.

Disability Insurance
A growing number of people are switching from salaried positions to independent freelance or consulting work. It can give you more flexibility and actually increase your annual income, but you don’t have the coverage provided by an employer if you get sick or have an accident.
Without worker’s comp, sick leave and PTO you have to find another form of coverage if you can’t work. This is precisely what disability insurance is for. In the event you are injured and unable to work, your insurance plan will provide periodic payments to help you cover expenses while you recover. Usually, disability insurance payouts are 45-65% of your gross income. That may seem a little low, but the funds are tax-free.
If you operate your own company (even if it’s a one-man operation) you may want to look into business insurance as well. In addition to disability insurance, you can also get property and personal injury coverage.

Life Insurance
If something were to happen to you and your significant other or spouse would your kids be financially secure? Would your family be able to cover the cost of a funeral?
Death isn’t something most people enjoy talking about, but it’s a fact of life. If you don’t plan for the worst your kids could be the ones that really suffer. On top of having to deal with the loss of their parent(s) kids are suddenly left without a provider. Even if another guardian steps in they may not be in the position to offer the same amount of financial support that your kids are used to.
Life insurance is a way to guarantee your kids are financially secure. Make sure the payout would be enough to cover funeral arrangements, pay off outstanding debts and cover all of the standard living expenses until your kids are at least 18 years old. If you want your kids to go to college bump up the policy amount to cover in-state tuition as well.



Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holiday Gift Guide: Fiskars Billhook Saw!




Hey guys! I'm back again with another Fiskars post! This time, our friends at Fiskars sent us the Billhook Saw to try out. I have to say, I think this is my favorite tool that we have tried out so far! In my opinion, this thing is like the "All In One" of yard tools! This amazing tool is designed to saw branches, cut stems and shoots and chop vines. It's really a one stop shop for your yard needs. This has been an amazing tool when it comes to clearing our fence line and cutting up some small trees and bushes along the house. 


The curve of the blade is great for pulling stems and weeds, and it's easy to use one hand for cutting and one hand for gathering weeds. The blade is hardened steel, and it stays strong and sharp through heavy use. The billhook saw also features a very cool contoured grip which helps your hand comfortably fit in the tool. I really like this feature, although you wouldn't think it would make a difference, it does, and it makes the tool much more comfortable to use. 











I'm telling you guys, the Billhook Saw has been a great tool addition to our entourage of yard cleaning stuffs!! I am really sad that Winter is here, since now I have to stop working outside. It's very hard for me to stay inside and do inside work. I would much rather be outdoors working in the yard, alas, I guess it is that time of year to stay inside and we will get right back at it in the Spring! In the meantime, make sure to follow Fiskars on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and youtube to stay updated with their latest products, tips and tools to help you with any job! 



Join The Wellness Recycle Program! #WellnessPet #PetSmart #Ad

This post is sponsored by Wellness and the BlogPawsTM Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share the availability of Wellness Products at PetSmart, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Neither Wellness nor PetSmart is responsible for the content of this article.

So, you guys, we are on month #3 of feeding our Lucy girl Wellness® Complete Health™ dog food, and I have to say, I am really loving this brand. Not only do I feel better about what I am feeding my girl, but I honestly think that she feels better as well. She's just a puppy still, a little over a year old, but I can really tell a difference in her energy levels and I think that overall she is more healthy now that she has been exclusively eating this food. I have to say, that I am also very impressed with the Wellness brand itself, and the company's attention to sustainability and also to being environmentally friendly. 

Wellness is the first ever pet food company in the US to partner with TerraCycle. This program is really revolutionary in the fact that it encourages pet owners, schools, and organizations to mail in (free of charge!) their empty pet food packaging to earn gifts or cash for their favorite non-profit or school! How amazing is this idea? Keeping waste to a minimum, encouraging sustainability and recycling, all while helping to support local causes? What could be better?! You can easily sign up for the Wellness Recycling Program from the TerraCycle website, and it's free to send your packaging into the program. After that, each pound of waste recycled equals 100 TerraCycle points, which can be redeemed for gifts or cash sent to your favorite school or nonprofit organization! I love this idea! 

If you are interested in trying out Wellness Complete products for your furry friend, check them out at PetSmart. Also, make sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up to date with all the awesome things that they have going on right now! Wellness is an amazing brand, and I am so happy that we found them! They are doing great things and I am happy to be along for the ride with them!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Wellness. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Amazon Prime Photos has all new features! Plus an opportunity to win a $500 gift card provided by Amazon.com


Guys, today I have something really exciting to share with you all, that in my opinion, is a game changer when it comes to photos. Photos are probably one of my biggest love/hate relationships that I have. I LOVE taking photos of my kids and the things we do on a daily basis. I love documenting memories, and it's something that is super important to me. However, actually sharing those photos, printing them out, or doing anything with them is the difficult part for me. They always end up stuck on my phone forever, never to be seen by anyone but me. 

But of course, Amazon has found a way to revolutionize photo sharing! Amazon, the folks who have changed the game when it comes to just about everything in the online world, are now taking over photo sharing and and photo storage with Amazon Prime Photos. This amazing app now allows Prime members to share and save family photos with the all new Family Vault feature, which allows unlimited photo storage and sharing for up to five family members. Prime Photo Members can now even order prints, photo cards, calendars and more straight from the Prime Photos app. Seriously, what could be easier than that? You can download the new Prime Photos app by clicking here! , and it's available on computers, IOS and Android phones,and tablets as well! 



I love the fact that Prime Photos is FREE for Amazon Prime members. What an amazing bonus feature! Plus, the Family Vault can be shared with up to five family members. That's an awesome way to share and rediscover old family photos. With unlimited photo storage, you can revisit old memories and share new ones for years to come. This would be such an amazing way to connect with family members across the miles.a Rafflecopter giveaway  Now you can download the Prime Photos app for yourself to share with your loved ones! Amazon is also giving away some amazing gift cards to celebrate this app, and you can enter to win between now and the end of 2016! 

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!
Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.
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