Holiday Gift Guide- For the Home

Getting ready for the family and/or friends to head over for some holiday celebrations? If you are like us, you are. Here are some items we are loving right about now as we deck the halls and cook too much.

The Ninja® Intelli-Sense™ System with Auto-Spiralizer is perfect for meal prep, and has a “smart” base with a touchscreen that lets you choose between four high-performance appliances. Intelli-Sense Technology lets you use a Smart Menu of choices for each appliance on it’s base, and it’s both easy to clean and durable enough for regular use and wear as well, so you don’t need to worry that because it’s high tech, it’s super delicate- it’s not.  It also comes with a recipe book with creations by chefs you can make at home using your new machine(s). Choose from items like home made pastas, margaritas, pizza dough, fresh salsa, and much more. You can pick yours up at retailers nationwide for about $269.99.

The Ninja® Cooking System with Auto-iQ™  is another fantastic four appliances built into one machine- you get the ever-useful slow cooker, a stove top, a steamer, and an oven you can use for baking. One of the cooler aspects of the Auto-iQ is that it lets you choose from more than 80 pre-programmed recipes (as well as whatever other recipe you choose). All you have to do is add the ingredients, select a recipe from the included cookbook, and the Auto-iQ will cook it.  Really. If making meals in one pot weren’t easy enough, doing it at the push of a single button makes it almost too easy- almost. Pick yours up wherever kitchen gear is sold for about $149.


Zenhaven Mattress by Saatva Review

A great nights sleep every night.

Let’s face it, we all spend a lot of time asleep. Many of us wish for that time to be longer most nights, but we spend more than 2 days out of the week in bed so that bed should be the best possible match for you. Not always an easy order, and now with all of the delivery mattress companies out there it can be even more confusing. That is why I was so excited to find Zenhaven by Saatva.

I honestly wasn’t too sure what kind of bed I wanted. Traditional spring mattress, memory foam, or something more. Finding Saatva was a total bonus because they cover all of the options with their different lines. Saatva makes a super affordable coil centered mattress with organic cotton cover and a euro pillow top. Their Loom & Leaf line is eco-friendly foam with cooling gel for maximum comfort. The one I chose was something I had never even heard of which is the Zenhaven natural latex mattress. By having all of these options with one company their customer support was able to guide me through the selection process and answer all of my questions. It was a reassuring experience and truly pressure free. They made picking a mattress a dream and I could not be happier with my choice.

So here is a little bit of info incase a Latex centered mattress is new to you too. The benefits? A mattress that is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial because we have all heard the stories about what unseen horrors can develop inside your bed. Healthier sleep starts at the center of this mattress and works its way out with the organic wool layer, and the organic cotton cover. Their whole operation focuses on Eco Purity in every stage of production. Sustainable harvesting, CO2 reduction, no harmful byproducts, and built eco-responsibly in America. What could be better?

Rebuilding After Disaster

There are few things more traumatic for a family than seeing their home damaged by fire or severe weather. The loss of treasured items is compounded by the financial loss and inconvenience of getting things back to normal.

If you have had the misfortune of experiencing one of these events, you already know what a complicated process it is to clean up and repair things. It is also a time when it is very easy to make mistakes because there are many people involved, including insurance adjusters, contractors, salespeople, and even government entities like FEMA and your fire department.

As you get the process underway, try to stay on track with these tips. They’ll help you focus on the right steps to recovery.

Know How To Prioritize

When your home has been damaged, you want to save everything. But in a practical sense, spending hours and hours trying to restore replaceable items in your home is not a good allocation of your time.

Focus on the things that are irreplaceable but salvageable and work on those first. Don’t worry about general belongings like furniture. A couch that is soaked with water from a flood or from firefighting efforts will take days to thoroughly dry, and even then will be filled with odors, dirt, and fungus. Bernhardt Furniture can replace those items, so put your energy into finding and preserving things like heirloom china and family photographs.

Make Sure The Damage Has Stopped

Does Your Home Have a Damp Proof Course?

A damp proof course is one of those things that most of us probably won’t give much consideration.  It is a discreet little black line amid the bricks on the exterior of our home that works away without any effort and we ignore it.  Until something goes wrong and we find signs of damp in our homes – then we turn to see if the damp proof course or DPC is doing its job.  Or we may discover that we don’t even have a DPC in our homes at all.  So what are damp proof courses and how do you know if yours is working?

Damp proofing basics

Damp proofing is a general term used to describe measures taken within homes and businesses to combat the process of damp and associated conditions.  Damp proof companies will use a range of techniques and treatments to stop damp, prevent reoccurrence and deal with the conditions that occur due to damp such as black mold or dry rot.

There are several different types of damp that affect properties, with three being the most common – rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.  The measures needed to deal with damp within a property depends on what type of damp is present and how it has gained a foothold in the property.

Damp protection

There are two main ways that damp proof companies will secure your property against damp problems – a damp proof course or DPC and a damp proof membrane or DPM.  The DPC is the most commonly used system and is the one that you can see as a thin black line in the brickwork of your home.

Do I need a Land Survey before I buy a house?

The obvious answer to this question is yes, but there are so many more questions to consider when buying a house that we should probably start at the beginning. The first step, even before you begin house shopping, is to look at your budget. Does your life style allow you to purchase a house yet? Next in line is the amount of money you can borrow. This depends on how much debt you have and how good your credit is. Once you have an idea of the amount of money you are working with, you can start visiting banks and financial institutions to negotiate a mortgage. Only then can you seriously look at houses that are within your buying range.

Study the market, look at the selling prices, don’t be blindly seduced by the first house you like without comparing it to others. In this fluctuating interest rate period, play conservative and stay within your means. Once you find a house you like, complete all the building inspections, including a land survey. Then, following the legal proceedings in your selected area, make an offer, and wait. If you are lucky and the stars align, you will soon move into your new house.

Throughout this process, you need to remember that buying a house is possibly the biggest purchase you will ever make. Therefore, you must protect your investment by making sure the house of your dreams does not become a money pit. Your best protection is prevention and this is done through thorough inspections. Money spent on termite inspections, building inspections, drainage surveys, mining surveys and land surveys, completed by a licensed land surveyor, will save you money down the road on expansive repairs or boundary disputes.


3 Features found in dream homes

Whether you are a millionaire or a college student, everyone has an idea of what their dream home would look like. Ever since the idea of becoming a home owner crossed your mind, you think about what your house will have that will make it home. The price, the location, and the number of rooms might differ from one individual to the next as personalizing a house is an excellent way to express oneself; but some features remain similarly important to everyone.

The kitchen is the heart of a home. In a dream house, the kitchen generally boasts a lot of countertop space, many cupboards, and a separate pantry. Most interior designers agree that a dream kitchen should have an island that doubles as a bar seating area. It offers family members a place to sit and eat while meals are prepared. The island or the peninsula also provides additional counterspace and cupboards, both essential features of a dream kitchen. Let’s not forget state of the art, top notch, energy efficient appliances; a dream kitchen cannot be without them. Whether they are stainless steel or embedded in the cabinetry, appliances make a statement about the cooking status of the home owner and must not be neglected.


How to Move Home Stress Free

Moving house is regularly considered to be one of the most stressful and frustrating events. The process involves buying packing materials, hiring a moving truck, making the actual move and arranging your belongings in your new home. With the many activities involved, failure to prepare and plan properly is bound to make the experience even more stressful.

Considering the frustration and challenges that come with such times, most people neglect their needs and health. However, moving home does not have to be stressful. By following the tips below, you will make the entire process manageable and stress-free.

Give yourself time

While sometimes you may be forced to move last minute, most of the time people plan before moving house. In order to make the process stress-free, it is important to plan ahead.

This means that you start preparing at least eight weeks before moving. Giving yourself ample time to plan and organize all activities will increase the chances of having a seamless process.


Whether you hire a professional moving company or do it yourself, moving is likely to be a costly undertaking. You may also incur additional expenses that you had not planned for.

Since such unplanned expenses can be frustrating, you should come up with a budget well before the day of the move. It is also important to ensure that your budget is flexible enough to accommodate all the important costs.

Start packing early

Even the most organized person will have a lot more to do than they had anticipated. If you are to avoid a mad rush, you should start packing early.

This will not only help to ensure that everything is packed in an orderly manner, but will allow you time to rest in between the packing session. You will also have time to buy the necessary packing materials, depending on the shape and size of your belongings.

How To Increase Your Home Value In 8 Easy Steps

If you have plans of selling your home in the future, you really need to take care of the many details in your abode. You may need a little bit of makeover to boost its value.

The good news is, you don’t need to spend big bucks to sell your home at an expensive price. Small, but valuable improvements can make it worth more.

Check out the list on how you can improve your home’s value:

  1. Install new windows.

Windows are one part of the home that buyers often check when purchasing a property. The future home owners don’t want a home that has damaged windows, where nearly 30 percent of energy escapes based on research. Well maintain windows are one reason why they will be interested to purchase your home. Windows add a statement to a home.

  1. Upgrade your popcorn ceilings.

Do you still have popcorn ceilings? Removing them is one sure way to add value to your precious property. This kind of ceiling is obsolete and having them in your home may turn the buyers away. Replace them with modern ceilings because a contemporary style of home is more pricey.

  1. Add a new bathroom.

Does your home only have one bathroom? It’s time to add another one in a space that is unused for a long time. Consider the convenience when deciding to add another bathroom. Your home buyers will surely love to have a bathroom upstairs and downstairs, especially when they have guests.