Tag Archives: Caring For Our Community

Top 5 Easy Houseplants You’ll Grow to Love

Decorating your home with indoor plants is affordable and stress-free. Here are five ideas on how to incorporate low-maintenance houseplants to your interior decor.

Add a touch of green to your home. Indoor plants brighten up any room and they can also help purify the air in your home. Here are five low maintenance houseplants and instructions on how to grow and take care of them—no green thumbs required! #cbrmr

1. English Ivy

Caring for ivy plants is easy and rewarding. English Ivy is known to grow effortlessly. It can even thrive under fluorescent light. Place your English Ivy on your bookshelf and let the vines grow for a dramatic effect.
houseplant - ivy

2. Jade Plant

Jade is a popular succulent because it requires little care. It needs moderate lighting. You can water the plant when the top soil is dry to the touch. If you are feeling creative, try mixing up different kinds of succulents for a terrarium garden.
houseplants - jade

3. Air Plants

As the name suggests, these plants don’t even need soil to survive! Each leaf of an air plant absorbs water and nutrients. Air plants need bright indirect light and they need to be soaked in a bowl of water for 30 minutes once a week. Show off your air plants on a piece of driftwood for a rustic look or in a hanging terrarium for a minimalist look.
houseplants - airplant

4. Areca Palm

Turn any room into a paradise with Areca Palms (aka Butterfly Palms). Areca Palm usually reaches a height of 6 feet when it is grown indoors. It requires bright indirect sunlight and it should be watered biweekly or when the soil dries out.

Photo credit: @almostmakesperfect

5. Basil

These fragrant herbs grow indoors just as well as they do outdoors. Just make sure they get plenty of sunlight and water them often. The best part of growing a basil plant is that you can eat it! Garnish your favorite pasta dish or make a delicious basil cucumber gin.
houseplants - basil

Top 10 Damaged Items When Moving & How to Protect Them

Protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!

 

If you are moving this season, we want to help you protect your precious belongings and make your move a smooth one!

Before you start to pack, make a game plan. Which of your items are fragile? What will you need to pack them? We’ve seen some folks pack themselves so, unfortunately, we know which household items are most likely to break and typically aren’t packed properly. We have compiled a list of the top 10 items damaged when moving. It’s surprising what items make the list. Not only have we complied the most breakable list, we’ve included tips on how to protect them properly so you can “break” this pattern.

1. Drinking Glasses

It is no surprise glasses are the #1 breakable. But, with simple steps you can ensure they arrive in one piece.

Protect: One of the key factors to keeping your glasses and wine glasses from breaking or getting crushed is using the proper box. Use a “dishpack” box that  has double thick walls for extra protection. Place a glass on packing paper horizontally. Grab a corner of the packing paper and roll the glass into the paper. Make sure to tuck the sides of the paper in, like you would do wrapping a burrito. Repeat 3-5 times (depending on thickness of glass) with more sheets of packing paper. Make sure to label your glass burrito: “Wine Glass” so it won’t get tossed aside with the packing paper during the unpacking process. Cushion the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Place the wrapped glasses vertically (yes, you read that correctly: VERTICALLY) in one layer in the box. They are much more secure vertically. After completing the first layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Fill all remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

2. Plates

The biggest moving crime — plates are often placed in boxes without enough packing paper. You don’t want to hear the dishes rattle in the box!

Protect: To keep plates from breaking, first wrap each plate in packing paper. Repeat 3-5 times with more sheets of packing paper until the plate is properly secured & cushioned. Label your little plate package: “Plate.” Again, use a secure dishpack box. Always, use plenty of tape on the bottom and tops of every moving box, just don’t use one strip of tape, use multiple strips and run the tape both directions to make sure that box is secure. Before placing any of the wrapped plates in the box, cushion the bottom of box with crippled packing paper. Then place the wrapped plates VERTICALLY in one layer in the box. After completing one layer, place packing paper on top. Repeat these layers until the box is full. Once the box is full, fill any remaining space with crumpled packing paper.

3. Artwork

Glass artwork often breaks because there is not enough cushioning in the moving box and the top of the box is left with a gap. The top of the box then collapses and the piece of art breaks.

Protect: To protect artwork from breaking use a picture box. Line the bottom of  the box with crumpled paper. Place the glass art in the box, then stuff front, back and along the top with paper and or eco-bubble wrap. You want to be sure the box is completed packed with paper (top, bottom and sides) with no air gaps.

4. Lamp Shades

Lamp shades are an awkward shape and large, making it difficult to pack. If not packed properly, they can easily be dented or torn.

Protect: Wrap the lamp shade in eco-bubble wrap, covering every inch. Then fill the interior cavity of the lamp shade with packing paper (do not use newspaper as the print may rub off onto your lamp shade). Fill the box with enough packing paper to keep the shade from shifting around inside. Do not place anything on top of the shade, not even soft items such as linens. Use only packing paper to secure the lamp shade from shifting.

5. Liquid Cleaning Supplies

Many times homeowners pack bottles of liquid cleaning supplies without sealing them properly. This causes leaks and damages things inside and outside of the box. Do not pack or move flammable supplies!

Protect: First, remove the cap from each bottle and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the opening. Then tightly screw the cap back on. Use tape again to secure the cap to the bottle. Begin placing the cleaning products in a small book size box and check the weight as you go. You don’t want to pack the box too heavy. When the box is full and not too heavy, place packing paper all around the bottles to keep them from shifting. And, this is important, remember on every box be sure to use more than one strip of tape on the bottom and top of the box and run the tape in multiple directions. When a box is not taped properly, boxes can open at the bottom and spill on the floor. Always, label every box with its contents, room in the new home where the box should go and directional arrows pointing up. Repeat the label on each and every side of the box. You will hate us for this tip while you’re writing and rewriting the same thing over and over again and love us later when you have stacks of boxes and don’t have to turn boxes around to find out what’s what.

 6. Wine & Liquor Bottles:

Again these bottles can easily leak or break, and damage items in and outside of the box.

Protect: Use a divided/cell box you can get free from a specialty wine shop or liquor store, or purchase a cell kit from a moving store. Use smaller boxes so they are easy to lift and carry. Again, be sure you double and even triple tape the bottom of the box. If you’re packing opened bottles, ensure they are properly sealed by tightening the caps. Tape the caps on to the bottles. Roll each bottle in packing paper with 3-4 layers of paper. Secure the wrapping with tape and make sure there are no loose ends. Label the bottle: “Bordeaux.” Finally, place the bottle into the box. If there’s any space or gaps between the bottle and the divider, fill it with paper. Make sure the box is not too heavy.

7. Mirrors

The big mistake with mirrors is that people pack them in picture boxes without any eco-bubble around the mirror. If the front of the mirror faces the wall of the box without protection, it will break.

Protect: Use a flat box or have your movers pack the mirrors in a custom wood crate to provide extra protection. If you’re doing the packing, line the flat box with crushed packing paper to create a padded bed for the mirror. Wrap the mirror completely in multiple sheets of paper or eco-bubble. Tape the wrapping tightly around the mirror and place the mirror in the box. Fill any gaps with more crumpled paper. Only pack one mirror to a box.

8. Glass Pictures

Glass picture frames are easily broken if not packed in the right box. We want to keep those precious memories in one piece!

Protect: Use a picture box. Line the bottom of box with crumpled packing paper. Wrap each picture frame in packing paper or eco-bubble and pack each frame in the box vertically. Stuff packing paper in between each picture and on top, making sure nothing will shift.

9. Stereo & Audio Equipment:

The reason stereo and audio equipment gets damaged is folks stack a few components in the same box and they do not put any layers of padding in-between the pieces of equipment.

Protect: If possible, pack your stereo equipment in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Remember, dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. After double taping the bottom of the box in the both directions, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding. Wrap each electronic component separately in eco-bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. Do not stack! Stuff packing paper in open spaces and on top for extra cushion.

10. Books:

This one is a surprising one, but if books are packed improperly they can actually get damaged. When books are placed too tight together the edges get folded and covers get damaged. Also, if books are packed with too many air pockets/gaps inside the box they can shift during transportation and get damaged (smashed corners, wrinkled covers, etc).

Protect: Use a book box. Place books flat, horizontally and stack them with the heaviest books on the bottom and the paperback books on top. Be sure not to make the box too heavy. Pack paper on top and sides if there are any air gaps.

With these steps your move will be unbreakable! Remember, you can always do some of the packing yourself and leave the rest to the professionals. #cbrmr

8 Vegetables to Grow in Your Garden this Spring

Grab your gardening gear. Here is a round up list of the easiest–and most practical–vegetables to grow in your garden.

As the weather warms, you are no doubt yearning to be outside to get your hands working in the dirt again. If you have never tried gardening, spring is the perfect opportunity to give it a shot and plant your own vegetable garden. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise, and it also allows you to get the highest possible amount of nutrients from your food. Fresh vegetables are much healthier for you than those bought from the store, as they begin to lose nutritional value the longer they sit on a shelf.

Get your gardening gear out from storage. Here is a round up list of the easiest–and most practical–vegetables to grow in your garden.

1. Tomatoes

If you are new to gardening, tomatoes should absolutely be your first plant to try. Homegrown tomatoes, ripened in the sun, are a delicious addition to any meal. They are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and several vitamins (including A and C). They are also one of the only sources of the beneficial antioxidant lycopene. If you’re just starting out or have limited space, try growing tomatoes in a container on your deck first. Usually, you can get by with just an 18-inch deep container. One plant will yield dozens of tomatoes throughout the season. Just remember that tomatoes like lots of sun and heat, so if you live in a colder area, it may take a little bit longer to get them growing.

2. Beans and Peas

Beans and peas are incredibly easy to grow. Depending on your preferences and your gardening space, you can choose to grow either bush or climbing varieties. Bush beans support themselves, while climbing or “pole” varieties need a stake or trellis to climb up on.

If you’re feeling extra organic, consider planting your beans and peas next to your corn. Beans fix nitrogen in the soil which aids the corn, and also use the stalk as a natural trellis. Both peas and beans are high in fiber, iron, potassium, and a wide range of vitamins. Plus, they continue to produce basket upon basket of delicious vegetables throughout the entire season.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great vegetable to grow as it is one of the most nutritionally dense. It is high in crucial nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

Although broccoli can be grown in containers, it’s just as easy to plant it directly in the ground. It is commonly known as a cold-season crop, so it can withstand a light frost–and actually tastes better after doing so. Meaning, you can plant it when soil temperatures are still a bit chilly in early spring and keep it going long into autumn.

4. Peppers

There are dozens of varieties of peppers you can grow, but most of them are all cultivated in about the same way. Consider bell peppers for your first try at pepper planting. A cool feature of planting bell peppers is that you will have different types of peppers at every growing stage. Harvest them young for crunchy green peppers, or wait a few weeks to allow the sun to further ripen them into delicious red peppers.

Whichever type you choose, peppers are full of nutrients, such as riboflavin and potassium. They can also be planted in pots, but grow best directly in the ground. Like tomatoes, they like lots of heat. Make sure you plant them in a warm, sunny area.

5. Carrots

A word to the wise–if you have rocky or clay soils, consider planting carrots in a raised bed or container. Carrots like fertile, loose soil and need plenty of room to stretch out and extend their roots. Carrots are an icon of healthy eating and are high in vitamins A, B6, and C. Sow carrot seeds about two to three inches apart, and be sure to thin them as they form tops.

6. Leafy Greens

There are dozens of varieties of greens you can plant in your garden. Choose the one that best works for your climate and soil type. Popular varieties that tend to work almost anywhere include spinach and kale. Both are cold-season crops that can be started a bit earlier than other crops, and can be harvested continually throughout the year. As a bonus, once they begin to die back and your harvest dips, you can reseed over the existing plants to produce new, fresh plants. Regardless of the type of greens you plant, these are easy to grow and harvest and contain high amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins.

7. Cucumbers

 Make room for at least one cucumber plant in your garden this summer. Cucumber plants produce large quantities, all of which spiral out in spiky vines. They can spread up to twenty-five feet away, so make sure you have plenty of room. Whether you plant pickling or slicing cucumbers, you should plant about five seeds in 6-inch high hills, and then thin to the two strongest plants. These warm-season crops love heat, so consider planting them on top of a layer of black plastic to heat up the soil.

8. Zucchini

The last plant on our list is zucchini. Zucchini plants have a reputation for being prolific producers, developing so many fruits at a time. The roots of the plant need regular moisture, but besides that, this is a low-maintenance vegetable that will pump out a bumper crop with just a single plant. You can eat both the fruits and blossoms of these delicious giants. Like cucumbers, they prefer warm, moist soil, so the black plastic sheet method works well in this situation, too.

Growing your own vegetables is a noble task that can take very little time and skill. If you’re ready to start on your path to self-sufficiency, give these tasty plants a try this spring.

8 Clever Ways to Store Books Around the House

Although reading books can seem like a long lost art in the days of digital devices, there still remains something special about the smell of a brand new novel and being able to flip through physical pages. For dedicated bookworms with cherished collections, it can be a struggle to store and display your favorites without a dedicated home library. Follow along for eight ways to stylishly integrate books into any room in the house.

In the Kitchen

This is not just limited to cookbooks. Any books you’ll want to read over a good meal or while waiting for the oven to preheat are just as applicable. There are many ways to add a homey vibe to your space by installing open shelves beneath a kitchen island or along a blank unused wall. Just make sure to keep the books away from appliances so the pages and binding don’t get damaged by heat.

 

In the Bedroom

As we venture further into fall and winter, many bookworms will want to curl up under the covers with a hot cup of cocoa and a new novel. Keep your reading list at arm’s reach by storing books along a windowsill or stack them up in a corner of the room. For a more permanent solution, buy a new headboard or nightstand with built-in storage.

 

In an Unused Fireplace

Fireplaces make a lovely focal point in many living rooms, but can be a hassle to maintain and use. You can breathe new life into this space by cleaning it thoroughly and stacking books in the empty space. The different bindings will create visual interest and bring color to the previously black abyss.

 

In the Bathroom

One of life’s luxuries is being able to read a good book in a relaxing bubble bath at the end of a long day. This can be done by building recessed shelves above a freestanding tub. For renters, there are plenty of budget-friendly over-the-toilet storage cabinets that accomplish the same purpose. Be sure to take proper precautions against warped pages caused by moisture with an exhaust fan.

 

Above a Desk

In many home offices, the space above the desk goes largely unused. Simply look up for more space. You can create a home for a decently sized collection of books by installing open shelves above your computer all the way up to the ceiling. The transitional Philadelphia space shown here illustrates the idea nicely.

 

Under the Stairs

If you still haven’t found the right fit for what to put in that little nook under the stairs, look no further. Bring in an asymmetrical or diagonal bookcase to house your collection or carve out an alcove to recreate a Harry Potter vibe. Bring in a comfy chair or cushions and you’ve got the perfect personal hideout space for the season.

 

Around an Entryway

This one requires the expertise of a skilled woodworker or architect. Frame any doorway in your home with a gorgeous collection of novels that surround it left, right and above. Add a rolling library ladder to reach the highest shelves and bring rustic charm and character to any space, as seen here.

 

In Your Front Yard

If you’re really unable to squeeze any more space out of your home to store books inside, consider moving outdoors for a unique solution. The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that seeks to bring communities together and share books with one another through a house-shaped box in their front yard. Fill it with a few of your favorites that you’re willing to share and encourage your neighbors to take one, leave one of their own or both. Although this is not quite a storage solution, it’s a great way to connect with your community and discover new reading material.

Household Tip: The Power of Three

There’s a decorating guideline that dictates that things displayed in odd numbers, with “3” often being the go-to number, adds depth, looks more natural, and makes arrangements more visually appealing than even-numbered groupings.

Three isn’t considered a crowd when it comes to arranging furniture, displaying artwork on walls or positioning contents on a tabletop. In fact, even adding a third colour to a room can change a flat design into something that feels more welcoming. For example, you may follow the 60/30/10 equation when choosing room colours, where 60% is the main room colour, 30% is the secondary colour and 10% is the accent colour.

Lighting arrangements also benefit from the power of three. Most rooms need to be lit by one ambient light, along with task lighting and then accent lights, all of which work together to result in a balanced and practical combination.

 

Aging in (Your) Place

With an estimated 11,000 North Americans turning 65 every day, it’s safe to assume that more and more conversations are turning to housing considerations that will accommodate the aging population.

As baby boomers approach and then reach their magical retirement age, a number that fluctuates dramatically depending on individual health and financial status, they’re starting to view their living arrangements through a different lense.

Is it time to downsize from a bigger house to one with fewer stairs, or perhaps into a condo? Or from a condo in a family building to another condo in a different area, with amenities more suited to your changing needs and interests? Should you sell your existing home and move into a retirement home? Or should you stay in your existing home and renovate it to allow you to age in place?

Aging in place refers to staying in the home of your choice, for as long as you are able to. This involves looking at your home with a critical eye, starting with the practicality of simply getting in and out of your front door easily and safely. Consider if the existing structure can be modified, and if so, if the cost and upheaval resulting from the renovations would even be worthwhile.

Here are some projects to consider, whether it makes sense to implement them in your existing home, look for them in a new home, or apply them in a new, downsized property:

  • Move the master bedroom to the first floor.
  • Add a bathroom to the first floor.
  • Add grab bars in the bathroom, along with a bench in the shower, and a higher toilet or an elevated toilet seat. A walk-in tub may also be an option.
  • Widen doors to allow for walkers and wheelchairs. Also consider width of hallways.
  • Replace stone/tile with carpet/wood.
  • For properties with stairs, install a lift chair/ stair glide system.
  • Add lever-style doorknobs.
  • Include more automation in the home, from a programmable or voice-activated lighting system and thermostat to smart fire detection and security systems. Install doorbells, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms that turn on lights when they’re activated, in case you don’t hear the alarms go off.
  • Modify storage with pull-out shelves, also referred to as roll-out, glide-out or slide-out shelves, that allow easier access to deeper spaces for clothing, food and other belongings.
  • Add extra lighting for increased visibility and security.

Of course, the outside of your home should take into account any current or possible future mobility issues, from the width of the front door, to the stairs going from the entrance to the street, to the need for railings and ramps, to the condition of the concrete or ground surface and accessibility to transportation from there.

If you can’t remodel your current home to allow you to age in place safely and comfortably, or if the cost and process of renovating to get to that point is prohibitive, it may be time to move. When discussing your decision with your real estate sales representative, be sure to be clear about your wants and needs for your next home.

Remember, for every homeowner needing to downsize, there’s a new family anxious to fill those rooms with another generation’s worth of adventures and memories. #cbrmr

Container Gardening Upgrades for a Fresh Spring

While prepping for gardening this spring, go through some of your old pots and containers. #cbrmr

If you’re a gardener, you most likely have some old pots and containers in your garden shed or even your garage. And you probably didn’t get rid of them because you figured you might have a use for them eventually. While prepping for this spring, instead of buying replacements pots and containers, go through the ones you already have stored. With a little imagination and some supplies, your pots will look better than new in no time!

Clay Pots

A good clay pot can be expensive and if dropped, the fall can put a decent size crack in it. If it’s chipped or broken but is still durable, here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • You’ll need all-purpose joint compound, spray paint or textured spray paint in a desired color, and fine-grained sandpaper. Clean off the damaged area with the sandpaper. Remove any loose clay as you’re sanding and carefully blow on it to remove the dust. This will let you get a good bond when filling it in.
  • Next, using the joint compound, fill in the cracks using a popsicle stick, spreading both inside and outside the pot. Make sure the cracks are well-covered. It dries relatively fast, so spread and smooth it out as you go. It can also be sanded down later if it’s not super smooth. If needed, add more layers until it’s filled. Let it dry for 24 hours and run the sandpaper over it to smooth it out one last time.
  • Seal the pot with the spray paint or textured spray paint, let dry, and it’s good to go.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are another type of container commonly used for gardening. The problem with these containers is that the weather can cause them to weaken, discolor, and sometimes crack. Have no fear, these containers can easily be fixed and your favorite plastic container can be used time and time again.

  • For this you’ll need clear gorilla tape, spray paint, textured stone paint, and fine-grain sandpaper. First, lightly sand all the areas which you’re planning to tape, so the tape has a good grip when applied. Be sure to remove all the dust from the surface of the pot. If you don’t, when you use the gorilla tape, it will form bubbles because it won’t seal. If you apply some rubbing alcohol before applying the tape, the surface will be clean.
  • Next, tape both sides of the crack with strips of gorilla tape. Rub it firmly to get a good seal but don’t use more tape than you need. For edges or curves, use small pieces, that can overlap about a ¼ inch. Try to avoid forming air bubbles.
  • Finally, spray the pot with the base paint and then spray it in thin layers with stone texture paint. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly. If the paint bubbles, let the paint cure for 24 hours. Spray it with the textured paint if desired for a different look.

Repurpose With a New Design

You can also repurpose an old pot with designs, like adding a mosaic design. You’ll need a terracotta pot, some broken tile pieces, pot shards or vase filler chips, spray paint and glue. Paint the pot with the spray paint and let dry, then gently glue the tile, shards or chips on one by one in the design of your choice.

You can also add a new design by using lace on a pot or container. All you’ll need is lace of the color of your choice and transparent adhesive. Varnish the pot with the adhesive and paste the lace over it. Let dry and use as desired.

As you can see, upgrading your container and pots for spring can be both fun and easy. What ways have you revamped old containers?

Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.

2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.

3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.

4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.

5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.

6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.

7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.

8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.

Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.

9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.

10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.

 

Take Inventory

Many of us are surrounded by so much “stuff” in our homes, day in and day out, that we barely even notice it anymore. And that’s a problem when it comes to trying to recall everything that’s missing after a home break-in, major fire or other home disaster. Take some time now to create a thorough home inventory so that if you ever need to itemize your missing or damaged belongings on an insurance claim, you’ll be sure to cover everything and receive your fair settlement faster.

Today’s technology makes taking inventory easier than ever; you may want to utilize an app that allows you to create an inventory spreadsheet to catalogue your belongings, and upload receipts for large items such as furniture and electronics.

If you don’t have time to create a written inventory of everything you own right now, you could at least create a video of your belongings by walking through each room and visually capturing it all, zooming in on makes, models and serial numbers as necessary, and narrating details as you go along. Once you record everything, and that means not only the big, expensive things but also smaller items that would still add up if you needed to replace them, store the digital inventory in the Cloud or off-site on an external hard drive, ideally in a safety deposit box if you have one.

Now that it’s on your mind, why not make an appointment to talk to an insurance professional for suggestions on how to create an efficient inventory list, and to help sort through what kinds of coverage you need to protect your home and belongings? #cbrmr

The Best Ways to Store Fruits and Veggies

How do you store veggies and fruits? What can stay out on the counter and what needs to go in the fridge

Guest post by Jennifer Tuohy

To keep your food fresh, it’s important to know how to use the crisper drawers of your refrigerator properly. Follow the tips below for the best way to store fruits and vegetables both inside and outside of your refrigerator.

In a Cool, Dark Place

Never store these items in the fridge. Your pantry is a great place for these fruits and veggies, which do best out of the sunlight:

Veggies:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash

Fruit:

  • Melons

On the Counter

These items will do fine on the counter for three to five days, if you leave them whole. Put any produce that needs to ripen in a brown paper bag for a few days to speed up the process. For longer storage, transfer produce to your fridge’s low-humidity drawer.

Veggies:

  • Asparagus and celery —Stand these up in a shallow glass of water.
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Kale, collards, and chard — These also do well in a shallow glass of water.
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes

Fruit:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Citrus fruits — Keep these in a bowl with plenty of air circulation.
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Pears
  • Pineapples

 

In the Low-Humidity Drawer

Produce that can dry out a little should go in this drawer, with the humidity slider open. This drawer is one-step removed from the main fridge, slightly less chilled but still dry. Store any cut or sliced fruits and veggies here. Place these types of produce directly into the drawer:

Veggies:

  • Corn — Leave it in the husk.
  • Peppers — Store them in a plastic bag.

Fruit:

  • Apples — Store them here if you like them cold.
  • Ripe stone fruits, such as peaches and plums — Leave them in the drawer as-is.

In the High-Humidity Drawer

Produce that needs a moist environment goes in here, with the humidity slider closed so that water vapor is held in the drawer to keep things fresher for longer. Fruit does not keep well in a high-humidity drawer.

  • Beets — Cut off the tops, then store the beets in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Green beans — Keep these in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel.
  • Leafy greens like lettuce and spinach — Wash and dry them thoroughly first.

In the Main Fridge Compartment

  • Fresh herbs — Store them wrapped in a damp paper towel in an airtight container.
  • Mushrooms — Keep them in their packaging or a brown paper bag.
  • Berries and grapes — Store them unwashed. Wash them just before you’re ready to eat them.

One of the best advantages of storing fruits and veggies in their proper place is that you are far less likely to end up with a crowded crisper drawer, which leads to soggy forgotten food. Your crisper drawers are indispensable for keeping produce fresh, but only if you use them correctly. Also, if you keep lots of produce sitting out on the counter, you could find yourself and your family reaching for it more often than bags of chips in the cupboard. #cbrmr