Consumer Real Estate News

    • 4 Pattern Trends to Try in Your Home

      27 July 2021

      Whether you’re working with stripes, plaids or a floral pattern—or want to incorporate all three in one space—it takes a creative eye to make this bold design choice. Of course, there are certain colors and patterns that just don’t mix, but if by making smart choices and sticking to your color theory, you can create a trendy, unique and all around gorgeous space full of character and personality. Here are four popular pattern trends to try in your home!

      Bold Florals 
      Florals are a trend that never goes out of style. From a statement piece of artwork on the wall to smaller details on a throw pillow, almost every home you walk into features a floral pattern somewhere in the home. But because they are so free-flowing and natural, it can quickly become overwhelming when you mix too many patterns and colors in one space. When designing your space, choose a color or color scheme, fabric or artwork that you want to make a statement in that space, and work from there. Instead of trying to fit a floral pattern into an already decorated space, drawing inspiration directly from that pattern will create a cohesive design. 

      Pretty Plaids
      This classic pattern is often found in a wearable form or with the holiday decorations in the winter. However, plaid can create an interesting look, as well as tie together a well thought out color scheme, in almost any room in your home. The trend has surpassed flannel shirts and has made its way into interior design in some interesting ways. Instead of going for a plaid bed sheet set or throw blanket on the living room couch, consider making a statement wall with a clean buffalo plaid wallpaper. This will add a contemporary look to a country-style home instantly.

      Classic Stripes
      Stripes offer many different options when it comes to interior design. You can go for vertical, horizontal or even diagonal stripes, depending on your aesthetic preference. The best part about this pattern is that, even as cumbersome as stripes can be, they are often a nice compliment to bolder designs, such as florals, and can even help to balance out an overwhelming space. Just be smart when working with stripes, as using multiple lines going in different directions can end up looking messy. For a nautical theme, stripes are a classic move. But, you can add these into a vintage-inspired space for balance or a more modern space to add dimension. Be careful, however, to limit the colors of your stripes to two colors to avoid a cluttered look.

      Textured Tiles
      Tiles can be used to create the most beautiful designs. With an endless amount of patterns, including floral, stripes and more free-flowing designs, you can draw inspiration from all different styles from all over the world. You paint directly on tiles or even use the tiles themselves to curate your own unique pattern. Some tiles even have a texture on their surface, allowing you to add dimension and patterns to a space without using an array of colors. Tiles can be used in many different parts of the home—the bathroom floor and shower, the entryway, the kitchen floor or backsplash—giving you the opportunity to add a punch of style, design and uniqueness throughout your space. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Ways to Keep Your Cool in Summer’s Heat

      27 July 2021

      As we move into the hottest months of summer, being smart about staying cool is essential. If you don’t have central air conditioning in your home, health professionals offer practical tips for beating the heat.

      • Stay Hydrated - Sweating is your body’s natural way of keeping cool because when sweat evaporates from your skin, the process absorbs energy in the form of heat, which helps to cool you down. But sweating also causes your body to lose water, which could lead to dehydration, so carry a reusable water bottle and drink more than the recommended 8-10 cups a day.  But limit the ice, as icy water can activate your metabolism as your body tries to bring it up to body temperature, making you sweat even more. 
      • Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Overeating - Eating smaller, lighter and more frequent meals, including salads and fruits with a lot of water, conserves energy and helps keep you hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol, on the other hand, are diuretics, which means they increase urine production, causing you to lose even more water and increase the chance of dehydration.
      • Use Ceiling Fans Correctly - In the summer, ceiling fans should be turning counterclockwise, forcing cool air down and hot air up toward the ceiling, making the room feel cooler.  
      • Get a Swamp Cooler - If you live in a hot, dry climate, a swamp cooler, aka an evaporative cooler, can do wonders for cooling down a room. At a cost of $150 or more, it can be a worthwhile investment. But because it adds moisture to the air, it’s not an option if you live in a humid area.
      • Try a Box Fan and Ice - Put a frozen gallon jug behind your box fan and blow it toward you to make the air coming from the fan feel a lot cooler. The jug will perspire, so place the jug in a container. Adding a little salt to the water before you freeze it will make for cooler ice.
      • Cool Your Sleeping Area - Putting your top sheet into the freezer for a while before going to bed may give you enough relief from the heat to help you fall asleep. Even consider moving your mattress to the floor where the air is coolest.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why and How You Should Clean Your Refrigerator's Coils

      27 July 2021

      Your refrigerator has condenser coils that remove heat and keep the air inside the appliance cool. The coils can get covered with dust, dirt and pet hair. That can make the refrigerator less energy efficient, which can lead to high electricity bills. 

      Cleaning your refrigerator’s coils once or twice a year can make the appliance more energy efficient, help you keep your utility costs in check and keep the fridge from wearing out sooner than it should. This is a simple process that should only take about 15 minutes.

      Locate Your Refrigerator’s Coils
      Before you get started, put on a mask so you don’t inhale dust. Unplug the refrigerator so you don’t get electrocuted. Then, locate the condenser coils—metal tubes arranged in a U-shaped pattern—located in either the back or front. 

      If the condenser coils are in the back, pull the refrigerator away from the wall. Be careful not to damage the floor.

      If the coils are in front, they will be located on the bottom of the refrigerator, behind a removable grate. You can leave the refrigerator where it is and remove the grate to access them. If you have trouble removing the grate, check your owner’s manual for instructions. 

      How to Clean Refrigerator Coils
      Use both a vacuum brush attachment and a brush to clean your fridge’s condenser coils. You may find other vacuum attachments helpful to get into all the nooks and crannies. Use a condenser coil brush or paint brush to remove dust and debris. You don’t need to get the coils spotless, but you should get them as clean as possible.

      Be careful when it comes to the amount of pressure you use while cleaning. There may be a lot of grime on the coils, so you will need to use some pressure to get them clean, but you don’t want to use so much that you damage them. 

      As you work, dust may spread on the floor and become airborne. Vacuum as you work to minimize the mess, then perform a more thorough cleaning after you have finished removing dirt and grime from the coils.

      When you’re done, replace the removable grate, if applicable. If the coils are in the back, slide the fridge back up against the wall, then plug it back in.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Ways to Cut Carbs This Summer and Never Miss Them

      26 July 2021

      Summer is the time of year where friends and family gather for a cookout or a picnic, likely packed with yummy, carb-filled treats. But, if you are looking to lose weight or simply boost your health, those delicious carbs aren’t the best choice. While it’s not healthy to snub carbs altogether, nutritionists say that whether for health or dietary reasons, or just to help keep your body in swimsuit shape, there are clever ways to cut some of those carbs without sacrificing flavor or fullness.

      1. Swap Portobellos or Peppers for a Bun -If you’re a mushroom fan, skip the bun and serve your burger between two grilled portobellos. Pile on the lettuce, onions and tomatoes for a tasty and substantial meal without the carbs. For another taste pleaser, roast or chargrill a couple of red, yellow or orange pepper halves and make them the bun for your burger. Not only is this delicious and healthy, but it adds some color to your plate as well.
      2. Skewer Your Leftovers - Pass on a sandwich and thread chunks of leftover cooked chicken and veggies on skewers. Eat them for lunch with a salad and/or fresh fruit and you likely won’t miss the carbs.
      3. Whip Up Veggie Salads - Instead of potato or pasta salad, chop up a variety of summer veggies, dress them in a bowl with a simple vinaigrette and take them to your next outdoor gathering.
      4. Try Zoodles - Spiralized veggies are a new taste sensation and a great alternative to carb-filled pastas. Try them steamed and seasoned as you would your noodles, or with marinara sauce and turkey meatballs to enjoy a healthy alternative to a classic Italian favorite.
      5. Make Ultra-Thin Pizzas - Use flour tortillas as the base, then pile on your favorite pizza toppings. They’re a lower-carb base and the right size for a personal size pizza.
      6. Mash Parsnips or Carrots - Ditch the potatoes and mash up cooked carrots or turnips instead. They have far fewer carbs and their sweet taste may make them a family favorite.
      7. Bake Some Apples - Instead of fruit pies for dessert, cut down on both carbs and sugar by baking up some large red apples. Core them, stuff them with a little butter, some Stevia and a few chopped walnuts, then serve them with a dollop of vanilla yogurt—nobody will even miss the pie crust. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Tips to Prepare a Pet-Friendly Fire Safety Plan

      26 July 2021

      (Family Features) After more than a year of nearly constant companionship, many pet parents are preparing to leave their pets at home while they transition back to the office. With more time away from home, it’s important for families to be prepared in the event of a fire.

      As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a vast majority of pet owners (91%) said they will leave pets home alone more often, according to a survey commissioned by Kidde and conducted online by The Harris Poll. Of those, more than 1 in 3 (35%) said they are nervous about doing so. 

      According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 die due to home fires. 

      “We know people will do anything to keep their furry family safe,” said Sharon Cooksey, fire safety educator for Kidde. “We’re committed to ensuring pet owners are equipped with the right products, resources, tools and confidence to prepare their family members – both two- and four-legged – in the event of an emergency as we transition to more time out of the home.” 

      To help protect your pets from the dangers of home fires and train them to respond positively to the sound of smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, consider these tips from Kidde.

      Include Pets in Fire Escape Plans
      Pets should always be included in a family’s evacuation plan. Stay aware of their typical hiding spots or locations where they often nap in case you must evacuate quickly. When you are not home, keep pets in areas near entrances where firefighters can easily find them. 

      Train Pets to Appropriately Respond to Alarms
      In the event of an emergency, ensure your pets are familiar with the sound of smoke alarms. According to celebrity pet trainer Sara Carson, you should pair the sound with a command that instructs your pets to proceed “outside” or whichever term you use to identify the best way for them to exit the home. As you practice the routine, reward your pets for positive responses.

      “As a proud dog mom of five super collies, I know pets are like our family, so it’s important we take proactive steps to keep them safe in the event of a home fire,” Carson said. “To successfully train your pets, make sure you keep training fun, short and always end on a good note.”

      For a full demonstration on how to train your pet to respond positively to a smoke alarm, visit

      Use Window Clings to Alert First Responders
      n an emergency, first responders need to be able to quickly assess the number of pets in a home. Consider attaching a non-adhesive decal to a window near your front door to let rescuers know how many animals are inside. 

      Maintain Smoke Alarms
      Smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years. In addition to testing alarms once each week, check the manufacturing date on your alarms to make sure they are current. If they are older than 10 years, it’s time to replace them.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.