FINDING THE RIGHT MATTRESS
You’ve got more options than ever when mattress shopping these days with no shortage of brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers to choose from. Here are the factors you should consider when you’re shopping for a perfect night’s sleep.
- Mattress construction: The most popular types are inner spring, memory foam, and adjustable air. Each has pros and cons when it comes to durability and comfort customization.
- Firmness: Firmness plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep. Mattresses that are too firm or too soft can cause aches and pains, so it‘s recommended that you test a mattress for 10- to 15 minutes in store before making a purchase.
- Sleeping position: Match your sleeping style (side, back, face-down, etc.). You want one that keeps your spine in proper alignment. For example, some are better for side sleepers, while others are better for back sleepers.
- Size: It’s not quite as simple as choosing between a king and a queen mattress. You should also consider your height, as some are a better fit for shorter people while tall people will want a longer mattress so their limbs aren’t hanging over the edge of the bed.
- Stability: For couples, you should consider how the mattress reacts when one person moves, so the other person’s sleep isn’t disturbed in the middle of the night.
FIVE TIPS FOR A GREAT BACKYARD
Summer is here, so entertaining has made the move from the living room to the backyard. It’s the season for barbecues and campouts. Here are five ways to make sure your back yard is everyone’s favorite.
- Make sure there’s a place to cook! The way to your guests’ hearts is through their stomachs. You could have something as simple as a charcoal grill or as elaborate as a fully-featured kitchen, but it‘s essential that you can prepare some food outdoors.
- Lighting matters. At the very least you need enough lighting to keep the party going when the sun goes down. But for a back yard that really pops, add some decorative lighting to walkways, landscaping, or anything else worth highlighting.
- Gather around the fire. This one’s a no brainer. Everyone loves a good place to make hot dogs and s’mores—just make sure you’re not violating any neighborhood ordinances.
- Bring the beach to your backyard. A little water will make everything look better. It could be something as simple as fountain or as elaborate as a waterfall or fish pond.
5. Don’t forget the foliage. Trees, shrubs and flowers are all important for adding the finishing touches to your outdoor entertainment space. The trees and shrubs can provide some much-needed shade when the sun is out, and flowers add just the right amount of color.
STAY HEALTHY THIS SUMMER
A few simple tips for improving your personal health:
Summer is the time for family vacations and road trips, backyard barbecues, and days at the beach. But as the pace of life slows down after the hustle and bustle of winter and spring, it’s also a great time to make some small health-conscious changes that can make a big difference at the end of the day. Here are a few simple-but-effective tips for improving your personal health this summer.
Eat more berries
Eating a cup of mixed berries each day can have tremendous health benefits. Berries are rich with antioxidants, which help prevent tissue damage and lower the risk of age-related illnesses. It’s just a small change to your diet, but a little goes a long way!
Have some fun while exercising
This doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. Make the most of the summer weather by doing activities that are both fun and keep you moving. Cycling, hiking, swimming, playing games with the kids—these are all great ways to get some exercise without making it feel like a chore that you have to squeeze into your schedule.
Wear your sunglasses
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but there’s a lot more to wearing sunglasses than just fashion. A good pair of sunglasses should block out at least 99 percent of harmful UV rays.
Play in the dirt
Planting and maintaining a garden can be a great stress reliever. Even something as simple as a few flower boxes or potted plants is a good start.
IS HANDS-FREE ACTUALLY SAFER?
A recent poll by the National Safety Council showed that 80 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that using a hands-free device while driving is safer than using a handheld device.
The truth—according to more than 30 studies—is that hands-free devices are no safer, because the brain remains distracted when you’re having a phone conversation.
“While many drivers honestly believe they are making the safe choice by using a hands-free device, it’s just not true,” said David Teater, senior director of Transportation Initiatives at the National Safety Council. “The problem is the brain does not truly multi-task.”
Talking on a handheld device while driving has been banned in 12 states, but there are no bans on hands-free devices, so it’s easy to understand why drivers may be confused about the risks.
For your own safety, try to avoid talking on the phone while driving, regardless of whether it’s handheld or hands-free.
DON’T BE A VICTIM: TRIM THOSE SHRUBS
Crime prevention studies show that burglarized homes have less visual access (overgrown shrubs) than their neighbors who were not burglarized.
Burglars seek to victimize homes with easy access in and out, and most importantly, they don’t want to be seen.
A common thread in burglaries are homes with overgrown trees and shrubbery.
When walkways and windows are covered in green they may look great to you, but they look like “opportunity” to the would-be burglar.
When looking at your home from the street, can you see all access points clearly and easily? If not, make sure you trim the green and keep you and your family safe.
5 THINGS THAT MAKE US HAPPY WITH OUR HOMES
According to a recent survey conducted by houzz.com, here are five things that consistently make people happy with their homes.
- Big windows and comfortable furniture: Nearly 75 percent of respondents listed these two items as major difference-makers. It’s a no-brainer—people like lots of light and a good place to relax.
- A big-screen TV: This is more likely to be a key feature for men than women. 40 percent of men said having a big-screen TV makes them happy with their homes, compared to just 17 percent of women.
- Overall design and layout: 87 percent of the 6,000 people surveyed said the design of the home is a major contributor to overall happiness. If you’re unhappy with your home and there’s a project you’ve been wanting to tackle, get to it!
- Home cookin’: 39 percent of respondents said the scent of good cooking or baking made them happiest. Clearly, it helps to have a capable chef around the house!
- Keep it tidy: 72 percent of homeowners said they’re happiest when their houses are clean and well-organized. If you want to be happier with your home, try having a place for everything, and put everything in its place.
5 MYTHS ABOUT SUN SAFETY
The warm weather is here, and it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and have some fun with your family and friends. But it’s also important to protect your skin. Here are five common myths about sun safety.
Myth No. 1: It’s fine to tan as long as you don’t burn.
A sunburn is certainly more harmful than a simple tan, but any extended exposure to the sun can be harmful, regardless of your skin tone.
Myth No. 2: An umbrella will completely protect you from the sun.
Though an umbrella will go a long way toward keeping your skin safe during a day at the beach, the sand still reflects 17 percent of UV radiation. Wear sunscreen in addition to staying in the shade.
Myth No. 3: You don’t need sunscreen on overcast days.
False! About 80 percent of the sun’s rays still pass through on cloudy days, so you still need sunscreen.
Myth No. 4: The sun can’t pass through windows.
Glass filters out some UV rays, but not all. Be especially cautious if you or your passengers are exposed to the sun on a long car ride.
Myth No. 5: You need sun exposure to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Extended exposure isn’t necessary—your body will get enough vitamin D from food, multivitamins, and minimal time in the sun.
5 of the Dirtiest items in your home
Of course, one of the dirtiest items in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty items and suggestions for cleaning them.
- Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
- Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
- Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
- Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
- Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.
How to get a better paint job
Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few top tips to getting a better paint job, make your painting experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more professional finish.
Prep beyond tape and drop cloths
A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.
Be ready for spills and splatters
At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.
Use heat to remove tape
Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.
A DRY FOUNDATION IS A HAPPY FOUNDATION
Keeping water away from your home’s foundation is an important part of maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Water can cause soils to expand and contract as well as do damage to the interior of the home should it flood.
Keep your gutters clean and make sure downspouts will divert water to a place where it can drain away. If your home is equipped with a sump pit you may want to install a pump, or if you have a pump make sure it is operating properly. If your basement has a drain be sure it is clear in the event that you have an interior water leak, such as a broken pipe.