This is it! You’re finally buying a house! The to-do list has never been longer, larger or more exciting. Getting pre-qualified, going through the offer process, passing inspections and, of course, moving in, are all thrilling experiences. Overall, the process is a net positive - otherwise millions of Americans wouldn’t do it. However, just because you can soon look forward to building equity in a property of your own doesn’t mean you can ignore the less-than-exhilarating aspects of home ownership.
Pet wear and tear can sometimes cause permanent damage.
If your new home is in need of repairs, new carpets, or a cleaning service, you can find reputable local service providers through EZBZ. Try it today, it's free, quick, and easy.
Bringing a child into your home is a beautiful experience, and just as you can expect your lifestyle to change as a result, so should your home. As your baby develops and becomes more mobile and curious, they explore, discover, and test every corner of your home.
“Accidental injury is the leading cause of death in kids up to 14 years old — and more than a third of these injuries happen at home,” Staci says, explaining why she became a childproofing professional with Baby Safe Homes Denver.
A professional babyproofer is trained and can help you identify potential hazards in your home you may overlook and reduce the risk of accidents.
Safety latches are an easy way to help prevent your child from accidentally poisoning or harming themselves.
In many cases, it only takes a microscopic amount of a common household liquid to severely harm a child, which is why this tip is so important. Parents should also save the Poison Control number in their phone for easy access in the event of an emergency: 1-800-222-1222.
There are straps available that will prevent furniture from easily tipping over.
Baby Safe Homes Denver strongly recommends hiring a qualified professional to install furniture and TV straps that can help secure the furniture in your home and reduce the risk of a tip-over accident.
"On average, a homeowner will spend 8-12 hours and several trips to a variety of stores only to end up frustrated because the products do not fit or are too difficult to install," Staci says.
If you're looking to save some time and money when babyproofing your home, consider hiring a professional babyproofer such as Baby Safe Homes Denver. If you're in the Greater Denver area, you can contact Staci directly for an in-home consultation on (720) 504-4838.
Kids spend a lot of time sitting. They’re either at school, strapped to a car seat, or in front of the TV. That’s incredibly unhealthy. Kids need physical activity for the healthy development of their heart, lungs, muscles and motor skills.
Skateboarding is a sport, a lifestyle, and a culture. It’s great for socialization and for developing balance and motor skills. Kids have been skateboarding for decades, and that comes as no surprise. Skateboarding is fun, but it’s also an efficient way to get around if you can’t drive.
You don’t have to do ollies or grind down rails in order to have fun, but, you might impress your kid with those skills, and that’s never a bad thing. But, that’s not why you should skate with your kid.
The benefits of skateboarding include:
- It’s a full body workout – Every part of your body will be active when you’re on a skateboard. You’ll twist your body, you’ll use your arms to stay balanced, and you’ll use your legs and feet to skate in the direction you want.
- It teaches precision – In order to nail a trick you have to be precise, otherwise, you’ll fall.
- You will burn calories – The average person will burn 200-500 calories per hour while skating.
However, don't just step on any skateboard. Make sure it's quality and stable enough to support your daily tricks and exercises. So, be sure to research online and in stores to find that cool skateboard that will offer you safety and fun.
Chores can be fun if you do them as a family and turn them into a game. Pretend that dust bunnies are monsters and that all your kids’ toys have to be saved from them. Your little one will turn into a superhero with a broom in a matter of seconds! By doing this, you can finish your chores quickly and get your kids active at the same time.
Gardening involves lots of effort, so team up with your kids. After all, kids are great at digging up dirt, aren’t they? Let them dig and let them help you plant new seeds. Teach them about the importance of veggies at the same time.
The most important thing to do for your kid is to be an active role model. If you present physical activity as something fun and enjoyable, your kids will too! It’s a great way to encourage them to prioritize their health as they grow up, and eventually have their own kids to exercise with. You’ll want to stay health too if you want to see those grandkids.
Looking for a local sports or exercise class to do with your kids? Try using EZBZ – the free concierge service.
There are plenty of reasons why the holiday season – that is, late November through to early January – is most people’s favorite time of year. As Andy Williams crooned in the 1963 classic song, “There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow… It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Alcohol also effects your will power, and will make it easier for you to overindulge. Jamie recommends drinking slowly to avoid falling into a binge of food or drink (or both).
If you have already been on a road trip, you probably know what kind of preparation is necessary so that you can make the most of the experience. You may have been adequately prepared, or perhaps you realized at some point that you hadn’t really done everything you should have. If this is the case, you will probably never make the same mistake again.
On the other hand, if you have never been on a road trip or never had any problems with your car, you might require a check-list that will help you organize a trip with no hiccups. Every responsible driver needs to minimize the chances of their car breaking down due to poor maintenance, which is why it is a good idea to go through this list well before you embark on your trip.
Check the Cabin and Air Filters
The cabin and air filters get dirty and clogged quite easily, especially if most of your driving takes place in an area with polluted air. The fact that your filters are not functioning well does not only affect the quality of air in the cabin, but it also has an impact on engine performance. This, in turn, increases fuel consumption, which means your expenses increase.
How often you change the filters depends on many factors, but doing it at least once a year is a must. Naturally, if you drive a lot or plan to go on a longer trip, you should change them often. When it comes to the cabin filters, their primary role is to keep harmful substances away from the vehicle, thus helping the heat and air conditioning systems function correctly.
Check the Car Fluids
A road trip requires your car to be in excellent condition, so that it can sustain all the pressure that comes with driving for extended periods of time or in areas with extreme temperatures. To make sure your car can handle such a trip, you need to inspect car fluids, such as the engine coolant and various oils.
The coolant will prevent your car from overheating easily, while transmission fluid allows you to shift gears smoothly and without any problems. Brake fluid is vital, since it keeps the brakes in perfect condition, which is extremely important and can potentially save your life. Investing in top quality engine oil, such as any of the renowned Castrol oils, is always a smart idea, but make sure you get the right one for your car. Finally, windshield washer fluid is important in case of adverse weather conditions.
Check the Tires
The quality and state of your tires have a significant impact on safety. The hotter the weather, the harder the tires, which is why you need to choose the right kind for your road trip. Naturally, when the weather grows colder, the pressure can drop quickly, so be prepared to check tire pressure and refill the tires if necessary.
Another critical issue is the tread of your tires, because you need enough tread to have a safe ride. If you are not sure about the state of your tires, visit the nearest expert and have them checked. Tires are one of the most important elements when it comes to having a safe and trouble-free trip and you should confirm that you don’t need to replace them before the trip. It goes without saying that you should have a functioning spare tire and car jack with you inside the vehicle before leaving on a road trip.
Check the Car Battery
You can count on your car battery to last between three and six years, which means you need to know how long you have had the one currently in your car. If you don’t know how to check the state of your battery, visit the nearest auto mechanic.
If you’d like to clean your battery and help it run a bit longer, you can remove it and deal with any signs of corrosion. Just make sure that the battery is completely dry before you reattach the terminals.
Have an Emergency Kit
Having an emergency kit in your car is very necessary, especially if you are planning a long road trip. Such a kit needs to contain jumper cables, first aid supplies, car shades for parking in the sun or any other item that might help you deal with various emergencies.
You should also be aware that even though you have taken appropriate measures of precaution, some problems with your car still may occur. Your job is to minimize all possible risks so that you and your passengers will have a great time on your road trip.Looking for a professional to assess your car? Try using EZBZ, the free online concierge service. We’ll connect you with the best automotive professionals in your area. Download the app and try it out today - it’s free, quick, and easy.
We elaborated on the top 10 reasons why your child should start riding a bike below:
1. Good Exercise
2. Good State of Mind and Body
3. Strengthens Family Bond
4. Kids Have Fun
5. Save Time and Money
6. Environmentally Friendly
7. Promotes Good Citizenship
8. Builds Happiness and Confidence
Recent studies suggest that around 30% of heat loss in your home occurs through your windows. This is a problem in older households especially, as they are more likely to have drafty or energy inefficient windows. While many homeowners opt to replace such windows, this is not always the most practical solution.
A woman installing an Indow window insert, an affordable alternative to window replacement.
Despite their drafty drawbacks, old windows are often more beautiful.
While maintaining old buildings can be an expensive exercise, window inserts are one of the few methods of structural maintenance that is more affordable than the alternative. Jonathan points out that in addition to keeping the aesthetic of your property consistent, the “historical preservation” of a building can be an important aspect of maintaining the character of your neighborhood or town.
When it comes to the various brands and models of window inserts available, Jonathan recommends Indow. Unlike other brands, Jonathan says they require no “alteration of existing frames, construction, track or magnets to install”, which makes them perfect for the preservation of older windows. Jonathan also cites testing at Portland State University that showed Indow inserts typically save 19% in energy costs over single-pane windows.
The search for a local handyman isn’t easy, but the work you put in now will save you big-time later.
The requirements for licensing and registration differ from state to state. Some locales have statewide requirements, while others rely on local jurisdictions to regulate who can perform home maintenance work. This provides protection for both the handyman and the customer in the event something goes wrong. Without licensing and registration, you could be left holding the bag –and with no way to file a complaint or get your money back. In Westchester County for example, you can quickly check whether a handyman has a valid HIC license on the County website. HomeSquare is licensed, to be sure!
Your handyman should always be licensed and insured.
A license alone isn’t enough. Insurance is necessary to protect your investment if something goes wrong. Workers’ compensation covers injuries sustained on the job, while liability and other insurance policies provide an extra layer of protection in case something gets damaged while the work is being completed.
"The best testimonial is glowing feedback from a satisfied customer."
Don't rely on a word of mouth contract with your handyman.
Any honest and trustworthy handyman would be willing to put their numbers to paper. Committing to pricing in writing is a mark of reliability and integrity, especially in an industry where people may feel like they’re vulnerable to scammers or rip-off artists. If necessary, this will also give you proof of the given price.
EZBZ is a great way to find and compare local contractors in your area. Download the app today and try it out yourself. It's free, quick, and easy.
The ability to live a greener lifestyle is at the top of the list for more prospective home buyers than ever before. This is, in part, due to millennial buyers, who currently make up the largest segment of prospective home buyers in the United States.
- providing documentation that clearly shows how the solar panels provide a cost savings for the homeowner, such as showcasing a year of pre-solar energy bills for the home, along with those from a more recent twelve-month period when solar power was in use
- providing a packet of detailed information about the solar panel lease, including the date of installation, the installing company, terms, service plan information, and any applicable warranties or exclusions
- providing information to help prospective buyers understand that the value offered by the solar panels on the home should continue to increase as energy costs and utility bills continue to rise
Looking for a realtor experienced with solar leases? Try using EZBZ - the free concierge service. We'll help you find and compare realtors in your area that match what you're looking for. Download the EZBZ app or call us on 1-855-461-8619 to get started.
It’s no surprise that starting a family has a significant impact on your diet, and it’s not usually for the better. With so many priorities, it’s very easy for parents to neglect their health, a fact reflected in a recent study that claims less than 3% of American adults live a healthy lifestyle.
Jamie Feit has been a nutritionist for over 20 years, and a mom almost as long.
If you like to snack throughout the day, don’t assume you’re a lost cause. Jamie says snacking is “important for several reasons.”
“One meal made of several components should be made for the family [for dinner]; a protein, a starch, a vegetable or salad, and a fruit.” Jamie says. “My kids love vegetables from seeing them on the table from a young age. They never liked chicken nuggets because I never made them.”
Small-bodied and slow moving, the Asp Caterpillar seems harmless. Covered in fluffy hair, you may even think it looks cute. But appearances can be deceiving.
The AACC calls it "one of the most toxic caterpillars in North America."
In short, the Asp caterpillar is terrifying.
Asp Caterpillars are typically only found in the south-east, particularly in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. They live in trees and bushes, so can typically be found in your garden, yard, or local park. Asps love to feed on oak, maple, elm and sycamore trees, and have been known to fall from high branches on to passersby. They are especially abundant from September to November.
Having trouble with one of your household appliances? There’s no need to panic. Despite rapid advancements in science and technology over the past twenty years, appliance problems are still almost as common as they were then. The difference is that now you have the Internet at your disposal, which means easy access to articles like this one that can help you identify and potentially resolve the issue without hiring an appliance repair professional.
A warm fridge is often cause by dirty condenser coils.
A warm fridge is particularly frustrating as it can feel more time-sensitive than some of the other problems in this list. You don’t want to have to throw away all the food in your fridge just because the repair person was late. While a warm fridge is one of the most common appliance problems that professionals are called to repair, it can often be resolved with just a little elbow grease.
Secondly, unplug the fridge so it is completely off. This is important so you don’t accidentally electrocute or burn yourself. Once the power is off, find the coils on your fridge and clean them thoroughly. A vacuum and brush will be immensely helpful. And that’s it! You’re done. You are free to turn on your fridge again and see if it works.
If your dryer is making a strange sound it should be investigated immediately.
If you hear an unusual sound when using your dryer, the chances are there is something wrong internally that should be fixed as soon as possible. Depending on the specific sound your dryer is emitting, it could be one of the following problems.
A rattling sound in your dryer may be a zipper or button that has fallen in to the dryer vent. Check below your lint filter with a flashlight and clean out anything you find in there. It’s a good idea to do this regularly to keep your dryer clean and healthy.
Dishwasher that Won’t Clean
A dirty dishwasher can be frustrating but is easily fixed.
Dishwashers have one job, so when they aren’t doing it correctly it can be very frustrating. The first thing you should do is make sure that you aren’t over estimating your dishwasher’s abilities. Try putting a smaller load on to wash; if the dishes still come out dirty, you'll need to do some more investigating.
The next thing you should do is give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning. Start with cleaning out the food filter, which you can locate by consulting your dishwasher’s manual. If your filter looks pretty good, the issue may be with the washer’s spray arms. The spray arms are designed to shoot hot water and detergent at the dishes, so it’s very likely they are responsible for the problem.
Spray arms typically have four or more holes that can be easily clogged by a buildup of food or scale deposits from hard water. Cleaning your spray arms can be difficult, but is certainly not a task you need a professional for. The spray arms are also easy to find and remove – most dishwashers have an arm at the top and bottom, but there may also be one in the middle. You can find a detailed tutorial for removing and cleaning dishwasher spray arms here.It’s also a good idea to confirm you are using the right type of detergent for your dishwasher. Using a detergent that is not recommended for your brand and model could be causing multiple problems. Don’t forget to clean out the detergent hatch as well, as a buildup in the dispenser could potentially be the root of your problems.
Gas Burner Not Lighting
Cleaning your gas burner regularly will help keep it functioning efficiently.
Problems with your gas burner are always disconcerting thanks to the omnipresent threat of a gas leak. Suffice to say, if you smell gas or suspect a leak, immediately evacuate the area and call 911.
If you just can’t seem to get the burner to light, there is a less cause for concern. Like a warm fridge or non-functioning dishwasher, the issue will probably be resolved with a little cleaning. It’s easy to spill food when cooking on a gas burner, and this can easily cause a buildup in the ignition port that prevents the flow of gas. By cleaning out your burner you can quickly get your burner working efficiently again.
To get started, disconnect the burner from power. After that, remove the grate and burner cap, both of which should come off easily. This should give you access to the burner’s ignition ports which you can now clean with warm water and soap. Vinegar or baking soda will help with more stubborn blockages. Keep in mind that these are general instructions, so it’s recommended that you consult the manual for cleaning instructions specific to your gas burner.
Replace the parts you removed and give the burner time to dry thoroughly before reconnecting it to power and trying to use it. Your gas burner should work perfectly now.
These are just some of the common appliance problems you can fix without the help of a professional, although the chances are you will still need help from a licensed repair person during the life of one or more of your appliances.If you do need an appliance repair person now, try using EZBZ – the free concierge service. Our team of local business experts can help you find and compare reputable repair professionals in your area. Simply post a request online or through the EZBZ app, or call us on 1-855-46-8619 for a local recommendation.
There are numerous reasons why you may want to add another room to your house. You may need another bedroom because your family is growing, or perhaps you want to add a private bathroom to your master bedroom. Whatever you want to build, be sure to consider the following before starting the process to ensure you won’t have regrets during or after the project is complete:
If you really want an addition to your home, it’s hard not to immediately jump straight into the planning process. Realistically, though, the first thing you should do is ensure you have the funds necessary to complete the project. HomeAdvisor estimates that the average national cost of building an addition is $41,628. Don’t fret if this is beyond your budget, as the cost can vary greatly depending on the type of addition you want and where you live. However, it is likely you will need a minimum of $20,000 regardless of where you live and what you are building.
Once you have a clear budget, it will make every subsequent decision related to the project easier, for example, when deciding on a contractor. Keep in mind that you should hire the company that is most likely to be reliable or do high quality work. Don’t let their quote be your single deciding factor. Hiring an unlicensed contractor because they are more affordable could end up being far more expensive for you in the long-term.
If you’re worried about the cost, you may be able to save money by thinking about what you really want from the project. For example, remodeling an existing room is typically far less expensive than building a new one, if that’s an option. Ask yourself objective questions to confirm that the addition is a smart investment. Will it add value to your home? Will you still be living there in five years?
Local Zoning Laws
Almost every residential area in the United States has their own set of zoning regulations and restrictions. These rules dictate where and what you can build, including additions to your home. While the nature of these laws can be controversial – restricting what you can do with your own property – they are typically not arbitrary. Often, they exist to protect public health, safety, and comfort.
Most residential areas restrict homeowners from building anything within 20 feet of the front of their property, 7.5 feet on the sides, or 15 feet from the back.
The best way to learn what zoning restrictions you must adhere to is to contact your local municipal planning or building department. A real estate attorney would also be able to answer any questions you have, and can even help you fight some restrictions. Of course, this is another expense that your budget will need to cover.
Thinking critically about the design of your new room can help you save time and money, not to mention ensuring that you will get what you want out of the project. Will the addition be detached or built in? Will you use new materials or attempt to blend the addition in with the rest of your home?
For medium to large scale additions, it is recommended that you consult an architect. An architect will help you confirm the addition will add value to your home and can be integrated seamlessly. They will help you make important decisions and can work in collaboration with your construction company to get the best results.
A Contingency Plan
Construction is inevitably loud, messy, and long. If it’s happening within your home while you live there, it will likely be extremely inconvenient to you and your family. If you start thinking about the impact the project will have on your daily life in advance, it will be easier for you to make the construction process as stress-free as possible. For instance, if you know it will be hard to live in your home while the construction is underway, you can include temporary accommodation in your budget.
This Sunday is Father’s Day, so it’s likely you already have tentative plans to have a meal with your dad. After all, it’s been widely accepted since the middle ages that the best way to celebrate someone is to hold a feast in their honor. If you’re a little behind in your planning, don’t worry; we’ve put together these useful tips for planning the perfect meal for your dad this Sunday.
Thus, this Father’s Day we recommend taking advantage of the highly probable beautiful weather, and hosting your celebrations outside.
Fire up the grill
While it’s a stereotype that all men love eating meat, it is likely that your dad probably enjoys the occasional steak. And if you’re already spending the day outdoors, your Father’s Day feast is a terrific opportunity to fire up the grill.
Don’t fret if meat isn’t an option because you, your dad, or another family member doesn’t eat it – eggplant and mushrooms make great substitutes, and there are dozens of great recipes online for vegetarian dishes you can make on a grill. Don’t be surprised if your dad still wants to cook though; it may be his day, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to contribute. Plus, cooking on a grill is half the fun.
Beer and wine will make it fine
Whatever your dad’s beverage of choice, make sure you have plenty in supply. There is a reason alcohol is invited to almost every event for adults, but it’s not what you expect. In fact, British Anthropologist Kate Fox suggests that alcohol’s correlation with violence, promiscuity, and other anti-social behaviors has more to do with American cultural beliefs than its side effects.
The actual neurological effect of alcohol is simply a reduced ability to make associations in your mind. This may not sound great either, but it really just means that alcohol makes it easier for you to relax, because you’re less caught up in your own thoughts. So, this Sunday, be sure to pour your dad a drink, if only to help him put his mind at ease and enjoy the day.
You may wish to allot some time before or after you’ve eaten for an activity to do with your dad. If you’re not sure what he’d like to do, ask him in advance or let him choose on the day, but if you can plan the perfect activity without having to ask, it will show much you care.
It might be as simple as watching sports or playing a board game together, or giving him some time to himself to nap or read a book. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s stress-free or relaxing, and does not put pressure on your dad.
While the exact origin of birthday celebrations is unclear, historians tell us that they have been celebrated as far back as Ancient Egypt. We know it was Ancient Greece that started the practice of putting candles in the cake, and it is thought that Ancient Rome was the first civilization to celebrate birthdays throughout all classes, not just for noble or religious figures.
The food and drink you serve is very important.
Even hot dogs can be decorated to be more fun.
Of course, don’t forget that your guests are also likely to be picky eaters. Try assembling familiar foods in a creative way, rather than introducing a new cuisine to their palate. Finger food is also recommended – a birthday party is not the time to teach kids how to hold cutlery – and be sure to check with your guests’ parents if they have any allergies ahead of time, and accommodate accordingly. A child going in to anaphylactic shock is likely to bring down the mood.
Face painting is a popular form of entertainment at kids parties.
Kids playing a game of Tug-of-War.
The inside of your home can be transformed in to a greaty party venue.
A group of kids playing together outside
The birthday cake can be easily customized to fit your theme.
Just like the other food and drink you serve, the cake can be customized to embody your theme. Don’t worry if you don’t have a theme; customize the cake to the interests of the birthday boy or girl. This is their party, after all, and the cake is terrific way to remind everyone why you’re celebrating.
However you decide to handle the big five above, your biggest asset when planning a birthday party for kids is your imagination. When in doubt, choose the most creative option and hope for the best.
Christa Mruz is the owner and operator of Two Maids & A Mop of White Plains, a residential cleaning company serving all of Westchester County, New York. Prior to owning her own cleaning company, Christa had an extensive career in the corporate world. She is a PTA Mom and lives in Scarsdale, NY with her two young children and hardworking husband.
You gotta love spring. The weather is warm, flowers are blooming, and it’s time to put away the large winter coats and re-emerge outside. Many of us also see spring as an appropriate time to clean out the cob-webs in our home.
As the owner of a residential cleaning service in Westchester County, New York, I clean houses all year-round, and have learned plenty of lessons about how to do my job effectively and quickly. Here are my five top tips to help you with your own spring cleaning:
1. Declutter and organize your house first
Putting seasonal clothing in storage will help you save space
Over time, we collect things that we no longer need or find useful. We might have winter coats and sweaters that we don’t need during the warmer months, and need a place to store them. Take the time to go through your house and locate the items you no longer need, and the seasonal items that require storage. This not only makes you feel like you have more space in your home, but will help you get the most out of dusting, mopping, and vacuuming because you will have a large surface area to clean.
2. Dedicate a block of time to cleaning
Time-management will help ensure your clean is completed in one session
Cleaning can be a chore, but it can also be a satisfying experience once you see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes, if you only clean sporadically, the whole house never gets done; it becomes a protracted project with no end in sight. I recommend blocking off a specific time over a weekend or a few days to clean the entire house. You are more likely to finish and will feel much more satisfied.
3. Call in reinforcements to help
Cleaning together with your family can be a great bonding experience
There is nothing more daunting than cleaning an entire house by yourself. Whether you get your family to pitch in, or hire a professional to get the job done – a little help goes along way! It will make your cleaning time more manageable and could even turn into a fun experience to share with your family. My company – Two Maids & a Mop – always sends teams of two cleaners to ensure a prompt and consistent clean.
4. Assess each room and make a plan
Assess how much cleaning each room in your home will require prior to starting
Don’t just jump into cleaning a room! Go around your home first and take note of what needs to be cleaned in each room. Be sure to look at the ceilings, light fixtures, furniture, cupboards, and floor. Determining out how much you have to do (and what cleaning supplies you will need) before you start will help you save time and complete the clean in one session. After you’ve confirmed what needs to be done, gather your cleaning equipment and start with the hardest room first.
5. Use the Right Tools
A dust mop is great for cleaning hardwood floors
There are plenty of cleaning tools available that will last a long time, help you clean effectively, and won’t break the bank. We like to use high dusters to clean ceiling fans and light fixtures and to remove cob webs from corners where walls meet. If you have hardwood floors, invest in a good dust mop. It will make your floors shine without scratching them. A powerful vacuum will help you clean wall-to-wall carpet. Lastly, microfiber cloths are great for dusting. They pick up the dust easily while things like rags or paper towel merely move it around. Add a little furniture polish to your microfiber rag and your furniture will look brand new.
I hope these tips help you with the spring cleaning of your home, and any future house cleaning efforts. Now, get it over and done with so you can start enjoying this fine spring weather!
Looking for a professional to help you with your spring cleaning? Download the EZBZ App for free and we'll connect you with reputable cleaning services in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
While we all learn as children not to judge a book by its cover, the same rule does not seem to apply when it comes to your home. Whether you like it or not, the landscape of your home says a lot about you to your neighbors, guests, and passersby. If this concerns you, fear not; we have compiled a list of five simple steps you can take to improve your landscape design.
1 Create a Focal Point
An example of an outdoor focal point
It doesn’t matter whether you’re working on your front or back lawn, focal points are a basic principle of landscape design. They draw the eye and help define the character of your yard. Choosing a focal point is the first step to improving your landscape because it will influence many of your other decisions. It could be anything from a water feature to a park bench, or even the front door to your home. While you can have multiple focal points, it’s important not to have too many; a cluttered yard is never impressive.
Island garden bed
You may consider having an island or berm as your focal point. In landscaping, an island is an isolated garden bed surrounded by grass. They are often placed in the center of the yard to avoid corrupting the symmetry. Similarly, a berm is a mound or small hill made of dirt. They are great for dividing your yard into sections or even just giving you some extra privacy.
A popular garden pathway design.
A garden pathway will add a touch of elegance to your landscape. There is a plethora of materials to choose from when creating the perfect path for your yard, but popular choices include rock, gravel, wood, and brick. Combine materials or use a multi-colored variety to create patterns that will make it even more striking.
A path can also help you incorporate curves into your landscape. If you want a visually stunning outdoor area, curves are a must. Curves can add depth, intrigue and privacy to your outdoor space.
A well-kept garden.
In an article discussing the principles of landscape design, author and landscaper Rob Steiner says: “It’s better to plant a 50-cent plant in a $5 hole, than a $5 plant in a 50-cent hole.” Steiner’s point is, it doesn’t matter how expensive or exotic your plants are, if they aren’t planted correctly, your garden won’t last long.
Planting an edible garden is a great activity for families to do together.
The shape and style of your garden should also be considered. Every garden looks better when you consider the principles of geometry, especially symmetry & curves. We already discussed how important curves are, and your garden is a wonderful place to utilize them to your advantage. A symmetrical garden will look impressively tidy, even if you tend to neglect your plants.
A well lit outdoor area.
If you’re going to put a lot of time and effort into improving your landscape design, you should also ensure that the visuals can be enjoyed past sunset. Outdoor lighting can even be manipulated to accentuate the efforts you’ve made towards improving your landscape design. Shadows can be utilized to hide eye-sores, while assorted styles of lighting can be used to inject mood. For example, lanterns and fairy lights can be used to evoke a magical, playful atmosphere.
Solar powered lights bordering an outdoor path.
Check out this article from craft mom blogger, Jamie Saunders, for some other creative ideas about how you can light your outdoor space.
Maintaining your yard is the key to it's success.
9 times out of 10, the reason your yard looks a little lackluster is that you haven’t devoted enough time or energy to making it look good. And that’s okay – you’re only human, after all. If you don’t have time to maintain your yard, hire a professional who can – depending on the size of your yard (and budget), hiring a landscaper can be a cost-effective investment and will be well worth the results.
House plants are awesome. They make your home look pretty, they can clean the air of nasty toxins, and even NASA recommends having them. However, there are hundreds of options, and picking hastily could be costly; there are many popular indoor plants that are dangerous to keep in a house with children or pets, not to mention the plants that require lots of care.
To save you some time, we did the research ourselves and put together this list of the ten best indoor plants for your home, especially if you have kids. We used the ASPCA’s free database of pet-friendly plants to verify which of the following are toxic to pets.
1. PEACE LILY
Spathiphyllum Cochlearispatum; toxic to cats & dogs
If you think the Peace Lily sounds like a calming and easy plant to care for, you’re right. Peace lilies prefer only partial sunlight and don’t need much water - just a little bit once a week. They’re also highly recommended by NASA due to their ability to control the levels of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide in the air. Aesthetically, they’re graceful. They bloom in the early summer – a tall white flower that will droop to let you know when it’s thirsty.
2. CAST IRON PLANT
The cast iron plant is perfect if you have almost no time to care for another living thing in your life. Unlike your kids, the cast iron plant is extremely resilient and tolerant of neglect. It can survive under conditions that would make most plants wither and die, which makes it an ideal choice for anyone short on time. Keep it out of direct sunlight in a pot with good drainage.
3. ALOE PLANT
Aloe Vera; toxic to cats & dogs.
Anyone who’s spent too long in the sun already knows the benefits of having easy access to aloe vera extract. It’s a common ingredient in consumer products, often marketed as a natural remedy for minor burns and sunburn. The aloe plant is also a popular indoor plant, and for good reason. It requires little maintenance when potted inside – ironically, it burns if exposed to too much sun – and too much water will cause the plant to shrivel. The aloe plant is also a natural air purifier, helping to clear the air inside your home of certain pollutants. Watch out for brown spots on the leaves that indicate there are too many pollutants in the air for the plant to handle.
Click here to learn how to extract your own aloe vera gel.
4. SNAKE PLANT
Sansaveria Trifasciata; toxic to cats & dogs
The snake plant has also been called the “mother-in-law’s tongue” plant, but don’t let that stop you from keeping this plant in your home. The snake plant has stiff, sword-shaped leaves that grow up to 3 or 4 feet long, and is extremely easy to care for. They require very little water and sunlight, and while most plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen during the day, the snake plant does so at night, so it’s an excellent choice for the bedroom.
5. CHRISTMAS CACTUS
Even before you know its name, you can tell this plant exudes positive energy. The Christmas cactus has bright green hanging branches (that can grow over 30 inches long), and pink petaled flowers. The cactus blooms around Christmas every year, hence its name. Aside from its visual appeal, the Christmas cactus is also relatively easy to care for; partial sunlight and weekly watering will do the trick. For optimum care, follow these instructions.
6. AFRICAN VIOLET
African Violets are another stunning houseplant; however, they require a little more care than some of the other plants on this list. For optimum blooms, they should be kept in partial sunlight for only 10 to 14 hours each day. The best way to achieve this without moving your plant every day is to keep it in a south or west-facing window during winter, and a north or east-facing window during summer. The pot soil should be consistently moist (but be careful not to over-water), and like a picky restaurant customer, they prefer room-temperature water. It’s also recommended to re-pot them every year. While it takes extra care, once you have a blooming pot of African violets in your window sill, you’ll know it was worth it.
7. JADE PLANT
Crassula Ovata; toxic to cats & dogs.
The jade plant is another plant perfect for your windowsill, and while it’s easier to care for than an African violet, it’s not quite as nice to look at. The jade plant loves sunlight, doesn’t need much water, and can live for over 100 years. They are also considered to be a symbol of good luck.
8. ZEBRA PLANT
The Zebra plant is a striking choice for your home due to its prominent white veins and brightly colored flowers. It requires similar care to the African violet – lukewarm water, moist soil and bright but indirect light for most of the day – and just like the violet, the beauty of this plant is worth the work.
9. RUBBER TREE PLANT
10. SPIDER PLANT
The spider plant is another great air purifier, and its green foliage and small white flowers make it an aesthetically pleasing choice. It’s also hard to let this plant die, as they only require indirect sunlight and the occasional watering. Plus, if you like this plant so much that you want another one, all you have to do is cut off a “spider” frond and plant it in its own pot. Before long, you’ll have two pretty little spider plants that you keep forgetting to water.Looking for a local nursery or store where you can get an indoor plant? The EZBZ app can help. Just type in what you’re looking for and we’ll connect you with businesses in your area that can help, who will reply to you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.
It is a universal truth that moms are underappreciated. Think about the financial, physical, and emotional impact every mother endures at a minimum. If you’re like me, it very quickly becomes apparent that you will never be able to repay everything the moms in your life have given you.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day – the one day of the year you are obligated to at least try and express your gratitude to all the moms you know. Of course, this is easier said than done. Another universal truth about mothers is that they are incredibly selfless, which means it can be quite tricky to figure out what they want. Luckily for you, we’ve spent hours researching and compiling this guide to planning the perfect Mother’s Day.
Whether you’re planning a celebration of your mother, your grandmother, the mother of your children, or all of them together, be careful how you handle the morning, as it will set the tone for the rest of the day. An easy rule to keep in mind is, this is her day. Cater the day to her interests, and you’re more likely to make her smile.
It’s also important not to forget that moms wake up early – even on Sundays. Even on Mother’s Day. Make sure you’re awake before she is, so she knows you’re serious about spending time with her. If you can’t be there, be sure to at least leave a card so she knows you’re thinking about her.
If the mom you’re celebrating decides to take the sleep-in they deserve on Mother’s Day, it could be a good opportunity for you to cook her breakfast. But as per the rule – this is her day – make sure it’s something she would like to eat. You can find some great Mother’s Day recipes here.
If you know they aren’t into breakfast or mornings, make plans for later in the day instead. It’s just as easy to take them out to lunch or dinner. Try not to ask, “what would you like to do?”, unless you really have no idea. If you’re intuitive about what the moms in your life would like to do, they’ll appreciate your efforts twice as much.
Finding the perfect gift can be tough, and is always going to vary depending on the personal interests of the mom you’re buying for. Keep in mind that the secret to a good present is not the size, the wrapping paper, or even the budget – it’s how much the gift symbolizes the personal relationship the two of you share.
Handmade gifts are inherently personal, while also providing you with the chance to be creative about expressing your love and gratitude. If you know they have a sweet tooth, a box of chocolates is usually appreciated. However, the greatest gift you can give a mom on Mother’s Day is time – go for a walk together, share a meal, watch a movie… Whatever your mom loves to do, she will love it even more if you do it with her. Well, most of the time – if what she really wants is just some time to be alone, respect her wishes. This is her day.
Saying that, it’s still a good idea to get her a small gift as well. Don’t forget, this woman created life inside her body. This is no time to be cheap. You can find some great Mother’s Day gift ideas here.
The Most Important Thing
However you decide to spend Mother's Day this year, the most important thing to remember is, this is her day. If you try to be as selfless as a mom is every day, then you'll certainly be off to a good start.
Need a caterer or cleaning service before the big day? Download the EZBZ app for free and we’ll connect you with reputable professionals in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.
Spring has well and truly started, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of longer evenings and warmer temperatures than a party outside? We’ve prepared a helpful list of things to consider when planning your first outdoor party of the year.
So, you’ve decided you’d like to host an outdoor party. Logically, the first thing to consider is the space – what are you working with? Is your yard well-kept and aesthetically pleasing? Do you have a wet-weather fallback plan? How is the lighting? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you send out the invitations.
Hiring a landscaper can be a cost-effective way to ensure your yard is ready in time for the party, without having to get your hands dirty. They may even have some ideas for how you can decorate the space for the event.
Rugs, throw cushions, and outdoor furniture can make your space a more attractive party zone. You also don’t have to spend a fortune - thrift stores often have cheap, retro items that can give your party a comfortable vintage theme. When it comes to lighting, lanterns, tea lights, and even citronella candles are popular choices for outdoor parties, although they can be a fire hazard.
Do you have a patio? If not, you may consider adding one. If you’re going to be hosting a few outdoor events this season, it could be worth it. A patio will increase the value of your home and will certainly help in the event of wet weather. Speaking of rain, it’s a good idea to prepare the inside of your home in case poor weather drives your guests indoors.
Think carefully about who you’re inviting to your party, as the final list of guests will help you make other decisions such as what food and drink to provide, what the theme should be, how to decorate the space etc.
It’s also a good idea to inform your neighbors you’re hosting an event. It’s not essential to invite them, but a warning in advance goes a long way to ensuring the party doesn’t disrupt your relationship with your neighbors. They’ll still live nearby long after your guests have left.
The food you serve can make or break your party, so it’s important to think carefully about what your guests may like to eat. Nostalgic hors d’oeuvres like cheese and mini-quiches are coming back in style, and finger food in general is a very popular choice when it comes to outdoor events. Just make sure you have plenty to go around – it’s hard to have fun when you’re hungry.
Hiring a professional caterer will save you lots of time and stress through all stages of the event, but there’s no need to fear if this is not in your budget. For a simple get together, using a grill can be easy and cost-effective.
Remember to lay out napkins, wet wipes, and plenty of trash receptacles so that your guests can clean their hands after eating and dispose of their leftovers easily. Food waste that is not disposed of correctly may cause some uninvited guests to crash the party and stay long after it's over.
The Dry Run
A week or so before the event, it’s wise to test your planning with a dry run. Spend time outside to make sure the weather is comfortable, or if you will need some windbreaks or even a fire. Is the lighting you’ve prepared adequate after dark? How easy is it to find your way to the restroom? A dry run is a great way to reassure yourself you’ve done everything in your power to make the event a success. And if you haven’t, it provides an opportunity to remedy any mistakes before it’s too late.
The EZBZ app is a great tool for planning parties. Simply type in what you need – whether it’s a caterer, landscaper, or some wood for a fire – and we’ll connect you with local businesses that can help, who will reply to you directly through the app. It’s a fast, easy way to find the things you need.
Are you sneezing a lot? Is your nose running? Do you feel congested? The common assumption would be that you have a cold. However, these symptoms could be something else, something not contagious at all. It could be a seasonal allergy.
Colds and allergies share similar symptoms and it is often hard to detect which is which. A cold usually comes with cough, sore throat and aches and pains. Seasonal allergies (also known as hay fever) usually means itchy eyes and a blocked-up nose.
The common cold is a contagious viral infection that enters your body and attacks the immune system. Your immune system will try to fight back which is why you experience symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion in your sinuses, coughs, sore throat, body aches or even a fever. As a viral illness, it can be transmitted via the air through a cough or sneeze.
The common cold is a contagious viral infection, best treated with lots of rest.
Currently there is no cure for the common cold, however many people use over-the-counter products and home remedies to help the recovery process. Doctors typically recommend plenty of rest as the best way to get better quickly. It is important to prioritize your recovery when you develop the infection, as some strains of the virus can be fatal.
It’s really a different case for allergies. Allergies are not contagious, but rather triggered by dust or other allergens that irritate your nasal passage. Many people have an allergic reaction at the beginning of spring, but may also be triggered during summer and fall. During these seasons there is a lots of pollen in the air, a common allergen. If you find that your nose is extremely itchy at the start of spring, it is likely you are having an allergic reaction to pollen. Your body will detect the irritant in your system and try to expel it through sneezing and the production of mucus.
Many people have allergic reactions during spring and summer due to the increased amount of pollen in the air.
Allergies can also cause itchy and reddish eyes – allergic conjunctivitis – and in some cases, rashes or hives on your face. These are sure signs that you are dealing with an allergy.
Additional clues as to what you are suffering from include the weather, and the duration of your illness. Colds are more common during winter or in areas with a damp and rainy climate, and most people recover within two weeks. Allergies are more common during spring and summer when there are lots of irritants in the air, and can sometimes last for months!
If you find yourself feeling sick for more than two weeks, it’s a smart idea to consult a doctor for a professional opinion, especially if you are considering taking medication. This is particularly important for patients with a higher risk, such as children or the elderly.
Need to find a doctor or allergist? Download the EZBZ app for free and we’ll connect you with reputable professionals in your area, who will chat with you directly through the app. You can also call our concierge team toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation.
We spoke with Joanna Levine, one half of the kids entertaining musical duo, Joannas ‘n Bananas, about how she got started teaching and entertaining kids with music.
After moving to New York City in 2006 to study and eventually work in fashion, Joanna Levine was struck by a sudden realization that she didn’t see a future for herself in the industry.
“I was just sort of like…who needs this cheap handbag that I’m designing?” Joanna says, looking back on her brief career.
Joanna had always liked music. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, she spent most of her teenage years singing and playing guitar. It was only when she moved to New York, however, that she began to consider it could be more than just a hobby.
Joanna playing guitar in a class for kids.
“When I moved to New York, I realized there were a lot of people doing it that were not any better than me.”
This was something she needed to give herself permission to pursue a career in music, Joanna says.
So, after leaving her job in fashion, Joanna started working semi-regularly as a musician, taking on a string of additional part-time jobs to support herself, including working as a nanny.
“That seemed to agree with me, hanging out with kids,” Joanna says.
Not long after that, Joanna completed training at Music Together, a musical education program, and became a certified music teacher for young children. Joanna worked for Music Together for the next five years, a job that she could finally embrace with passion.
“Young kids can be kind of magical,” Joanna says. “I get a total kick out of them.”
“There’s no filter, they do exactly what they’re feeling.”
Joanna's husband Rob, AKA 'Bananas', of Joannas 'n Bananas
In 2015, Joanna and her husband, Rob, a fellow musician, moved to Eastchester, New York to help care for Rob’s grandmother. After nearly ten years in the city, they were both ready for a change of pace albeit without losing proximity to their livelihood.
Moving to Westchester county also provided Joanna with an opportunity to exercise her “entrepreneurial spirit” and branch out on her own as a musical educator. And thus, Joannas ‘n Bananas was born.
Joannas ’n Bananas are Joanna and Rob’s musical alter-ego’s for when they are performing for kids at parties and events. Joanna also runs an early childhood foundational music program for babies and toddlers called Monkey Music ’N Play, a series of classes she describes as “musical learning through osmosis.”
Every class of Music ‘N Play is caregiver inclusive, which means each child come with a parent, grandparent, or nanny who also participates in the class.
“The goal is to give the kids a good foundation in musical learning,” Joanna says. “We do that by surrounding them with a musically rich environment.”
Joanna showing some of her students how to play a drum.
Joanna likes to focus on maximizing engagement so that every child benefits from and enjoys the program. Every class includes lots of musical props, a ‘Singing Storytime’ segment, a dance party, and free play.
The age of the kids in the class range from 6-months to four-years-old, and Joanna says some parents can be skeptical of what their child will get out of the class at such an early age. However, you only need to ask the parent of a child who’s completing their second Monkey Music ’N Play program to learn the profound impact that foundational music learning can have on them.
“Just by being in the room, even if a child doesn’t have the motor skills or the ability to mirror the movements that we’re doing or sing back exactly what we’re singing yet, they’re still taking in a lot of information,” Joanna says. “Eventually they process it and output it in time.”
Joanna adds that the success of her class relies a lot upon the level of participation from the parents and caregivers in the class.
A Monkey Music 'N Play class.
“[I lead] the adults and older kids in the room in a variety of songs and melodic and rhythmic activities. The younger kids will do what they can… they’re developing.”
“It’s a really beautiful bonding experience between the child and the caregiver.”
While some of what informs Joanna’s program comes from her experience at Music Together, she explains that her own education in foundational music teaching theory continues as she tries to constantly improve and enhance Monkey Music ‘N Play. However, Joanna is clear that she has no plans to expand her program into a franchise.
“I’m a small operation,” Joanna says, explaining that this is part of the appeal to many of the families she works with.
“I am a fairly warm, laid back person, and I think that appeals to the families that have tried me and stuck with me.”
Looking forward, Joanna is excited to teach more and more, and to one day (soon!) record albums of songs for kids that will go along with her classes.
“I’m also really interested in creating and publishing a couple of song storybooks,” Joanna says. “I do a short little segment every class that we call ‘Singing Storytime’… it engages the kids like nothing else I have ever seen.”The Monkey Music ‘N Play Spring program starts on April 18 2017 and runs for 11 weeks. You can register your child for the program by contacting Joanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her on 347-907-5865. Mention this article when registering to receive a 10% discount. For scheduling and registration, families can also visit joannasnbananas.com.
Looking for a kids class or entertainer in your area? Try asking on EZBZ, and we'll connect you with reputable local options. Download the app, post a request online, or simply call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
|We spoke with the team at Meant2Be Movers, a popular Connecticut-based moving company, about how they got started helping locals with more than just their moving needs.|
After working in the moving industry for nearly 20 years, Steve and Sue Lepack of East Hartford, Connecticut, were growing tired of seeing impersonal and overtly-corporate moving companies take advantage of unassuming customers. As active members of their community and Church, Steve and Sue realized there was a high demand in the local market for a moving company that cared about its customers.
In 2011, Steve and Sue decided to branch out on their own and start Meant2Be Movers. Their mission was simple: to create a moving company that was more personable, honest, and reliable.
Steve and Sue Lepack; A family photo of Steve and Sue with their children.
“[We] enter with a handshake, exit with a hug,” says Alan Hrabica, operations manager for Meant2Be Movers, of the company’s unique approach to business.
“We do have a really close relationship with our customers.”
Today, business is good for Steve and Sue and their growing company. Their focus on forging close relationships with their customers appears to have paid off, with 5 star ratings on EZBZ and Yelp and an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Alan says the secret to the company’s success is that they treat customers “like family”.
With their strong focus on customer satisfaction, taking extreme care with client property is clearly a high priority for Meant2Be Movers. Their packing style is so neatly organized, their vans often resemble a game of Tetris.
Two Meant2Be Movers vans being packed.
While Steve and Sue are modest about their unique approach to running their business – they’re strong advocates for always “doing the right thing, even when nobody’s looking” - Alan can’t speak highly enough of his old friends and employers. Over the past 20 years, he’s seen Steve and Sue help countless people including members of the elderly community, residents with addiction problems, and himself.
Sue Lepack and a member of the local elderly community; an artist’s rendition of Sue and Steve.
“I had no legs, so obviously I wasn’t going to be moving furniture or driving a truck anymore," Alan says, looking back on what he admits was a very difficult chapter in his life.
It was at this time that Steve and Sue reached out. Steve and Alan had met nearly 20 years prior when they worked together for a moving company, and had been good friends ever since.
“They reached out to me, and gave me a home when I was at my most vulnerable,” Alan says.
“They turned my life around, and made it so I’m still involved in the moving business, and they didn’t have to do that. And for that, I am very appreciative of them.”
Alan Hrabica in the Meant2Be Movers office; One of Alan’s prosthetic legs.
However, it’s very clear that he’s confident in Steve and Sue’s leadership.
“They have changed many lives, mine included.”
Meant2Be Movers are licensed and insured and offer a no fuel charge to veterans and first responders. Contact them today on 860-338-7840 for a free estimate.
Fulda Kocher from Best Boca Raton Landscaping writes about how they recently transformed an overgrown alley in their building in to a beautiful garden.
When visiting my son in the city, my suburban bulldog needed greenery for peeing. Solution: the ground floor weedy alley off a 16-car garage. As she did her duty, I observed the premises. Being a constant gardener is a hard habit to break. So, when I moved to the first floor of said son’s building, a transformation of the abominable alley was a natural. It had become my walkway to the garage.
Inventory of assets: a fabulous old brick wall; facing the wall, a structural indentation that begged for a small deck. Drawbacks: a narrow 12’x20’ space, a far end fire escape ladder requiring an 8’ emergency access, a crumbling concrete floor and limited sun. Solution: go vertical, plant pots, use an old outdoor rug for floor cover.
With a symmetrical plan, three substantial metal plant troughs, evenly spaced, were attached to the main wall section as the focal point. A search of Pier One Imports landed a bronzed metal sun. Above the middle trough, it’s warmly perched. On each side of the sun, two hoarded (but fancy) wrought iron embellishments serve to accentuate it. Down the far-right wall, near the escape, a lintel rescued from a dumpster adorns a bricked-in window. This is the view from my bathroom window.
Fulda Kocher’s finished alley-garden.
Then, to ground level. Below the sun, I flipped a wrought iron table base upside down and filled the space with old metal baskets lined with cocoa fiber and dirt for a planter. Arranging it with ferns, coleus and Solomon’s Seal, I added annuals at whim. I painted two trashed plastic nursery bins for huge hyrdrangea trees below two metal wall accents. Smaller perennials at various heights filled in the effect with lots of foliage, all from sale finds I made when scoping out nurseries. Mixed leaf colors and textures keep a lively presentation yet the consistency of the plants anchors the scene. Colorful coleus amp up as flowers fade. Hardy Hosta plants stay steadily profuse. An ornamental evergreen and large rhododendron are stoic. A climbing rose and a rose tree are surprisingly robust when nourished and watered faithfully. They fill in the blanks.
Toward the garage door, far alley end: On each side, two tall wrought iron chairs hold potted dogwood trees from Kmart. High above each tree are arched “windows” (wood, metal, mirrored) lend an architectural vibe. When entering the garden, a quality fabric peacock windmill twirls on a tall deck pole, welcoming like a pet. I’m smitten.Looking for a landscaper to transform your garden? Try using EZBZ – the free concierge. You can post a request on our app or website, or call us toll-free for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
We’re nearing the halfway point of winter, and whether you’ve been dealing with rain, snow, or just colder temperatures, it’s time to see how your home and landscaping are making it through. Better to catch and fix any problems now before they escalate.
Here's a checklist to guide you:
Naturally, you’ll call a professional to repair the roof if you’ve already got any leaks, but if not, do a perimeter check (with binoculars if necessary) to see if you’ve got any missing or warped shingles or broken tiles and have them replaced as soon as possible before water finds its way in.
No one would suggest that you climb up on the roof yourself to check further, but if the weather has been particularly harsh where you are, schedule an inspection. Some companies will do this for free, others will charge and apply the fee to any repairs.
2. Gutters and Downspouts
Clear gutters of debris that could cause water to pool and cause leaks and mold. While you’re at it, check to see that they and the downspouts are still affixed firmly. The weight of snow and ice could have begun pulling them away.
3. Vents and Other Openings
Do a walk-around to make sure that all exterior vent covers are still in place. Cold and wet weather drives all manner of critters to find safe, warm places to nest, and you don’t need any freeloading tenants. Once you’ve finished examining the outside of the house, head on up to the attic and check vents and openings there, too.
4. Fireplace and Chimney
If you didn’t have your chimney cleaned before you began using the fireplace this winter, call a chimney sweep to do the job. If your fireplace gets a lot of use, it could have a dangerous buildup of creosote, the highly flammable oil produced by wood smoke, and that coating can ignite and cause a damaging fire that, as well as threatening your life, can cost thousands in chimney repairs.
5. Heating System
You probably don’t have to check to see if your heater is working, because you’d be reading this with mittens on. But if the system has been going full blast for several months, it’s a good idea to replace the filters. If you’ve been making do with an old non-programmable thermostat that doesn’t regulate the temperature evenly, it’s also wise to replace it with one that maintains the temperature and saves you money.
6. Plumbing and Pipes
If your area has seen below-freezing weather, water could have built up and frozen inside pipes and begun to cause cracks. Creaking and odd noises from the plumbing could indicate impending breaks and leaks. Get the plumber out there now to check things over before you wake up to a flood.
Winter is a hectic time. Investing in a professional lawn service is a great idea for homeowners who are too busy to devote hours of work to their yard as even in locations with a mild winter season, your landscape can take a beating.
To make sure your lawn is in the best shape possible to survive and thrive during the wait for spring, pick up fallen branches and any other objects that will add to soil compression, keep the lawn raked as possible to remove hiding spots that encourage pests and disease, and avoid foot traffic on snow-laden or soggy soil. On the other hand, if there hasn’t been any precipitation in a while, don’t forget to water.
Broken or damaged branches can pack a wallop if they go flying during the strong winds of a storm. It’s dangerous to prune large or high branches yourself, so hire professionals who are experienced in climbing and using heavy equipment.
If you’re doing any pruning yourself, avoid stressing the tree and lop off just what’s necessary, like damaged or diseased branches, branches that are crossing each other or growing inward, and branches that are growing in odd directions. Never remove more than 25 percent of a tree’s branches.
It’s better late than never to lay a good cover of mulch around all of your plants to protect roots from harsh temperatures that are still to come as well as keep weeds from sprouting later. Don’t cover the trunks of shrubs and trees, though, because mulch holds moisture and can cause rot.
If you’re looking for a local professional to help you with any of the above tasks, consider asking EZBZ – the free concierge service. You can request a service through our app or website, or call us toll-free for a local business recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
|Kayla Goldstein is a home remodeling and design professional. Her firm, Kayla LLC, specializes in small scale architecture projects and large scale interior design projects.|
Samantha Fox, an English singer and model from the 1980s, once said, “It’s different cultures that make the world go ‘round.”
Although she is not a typical role model for me, this quote stood out as something I identify strongly with. As an architect and interior designer, I am always looking to find new design ideas or unique projects. The most interesting designs are usually found in the farthest places you would look. For example, in Australia.
I was born in Australia, and have always felt a connection to this country. In my opinion, Australia is a truly beautiful place, and boasts many architectural marvels and beautiful designs.
While looking at design and architecture in Australia, I noticed that besides being modern and very up to date with the trends of the day, it is also a very traditional country rich with history. Many people that live there are enriched with a culture some would find fascinating. Take the Aborigines for example; no matter how modern their buildings are, they still always manage to keep something from their culture in every aspect of design. There is even a design firm dedicated to keeping this culture alive in Australia. Iredale Pederson Hook have worked for years to create buildings that blend Indigenous culture with the modern world of design.
While the Aboriginal Australian community has suffered some horrendous setbacks as a result of European settlement, their culture still plays a vital role in modern day Australia. The building shown above is a school for Aboriginal children. It is heartwarming to see how much thought went into making sure these children feel comfortable and at ease.
In addition to making sure culture and tradition is preserved, many Australian designers also know how to make a room up-to-date and gorgeous. While reading about design awards and famous Australian architects, I stumbled across a picture of the room featured below. Now, I fully intended to write about an architect that I liked, or a famous building in Sydney. However, I could not get this room out of my mind, I decided if it was that great it was worth writing about and I dived in.
The room below was designed by Mim Design, An Australian company that strives to provide inspiring and new designs that surprise the senses. In my opinion they have completely succeeded.
I think the first thing that captured me in this space was the painting. The room is so minimalistic and white, and then this painting just arrives and splashes color into the room so perfectly that it’s as if it was there to begin with. One of the base lessons taught in interior design is that a color themed room should have a 60-30-10 split. There should be the base, the compliment, and the surprise. What I love about this room is that the surprise takes over the color scheme perfectly keeping it at 10% yet grabbing focus as if it was 90% of the room.
I also really like the chair found on the opposite side of the room. In a way, it keeps the eye balanced so we are not just focused on one side. The chair draws attention with its furry plush seat while keeping in the theme of the room with its minimalistic base. It manages to be different and the same all at once with the different textures and the throw pillow matching the painting. Surprising indeed, yet still so calming and harmoniously beautiful.
I think this room is so perfect and attention grabbing because the designer really put thought into making sure it is comfortable for the mind, as well as the body. While white is relaxing, and minimalistic design can open the brain to creativity, we all still need something to ground us in this world. The frame on the table and door, and the design on the throw pillows does just that. It throws in a little bit of metal and black so that it does not feel like you are sitting on a cloud.
I, for one, was really impressed with Australian designers for keeping culture a part of their design process and still managing to make up to date modern designs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all tried to implement our backgrounds and history into our homes? What better way to make our house a unique place for us to call home? One can accomplish this by placing small trinkets around the house that come from your hometown, or by using a certain style design that is used in the country you were born. There really is no limit to what you can do.
Looking for a reputable architect in your area that can emulate Australian design? Try asking on EZBZ - the free concierge service. You can post a request through our website or app, or simply call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
|We spoke with Karl Bagwell, owner of southeastern Connecticut’s Yankee Remodeler, about how to tell the difference between a good contractor and a bad one.|
Everyone knows someone who has a bad contractor story, and even more bad contractor stories can be found online. A quick Google search for “bad contractor stories” brings up over two million hits, including the Home and Garden DIY site, which has 25 bad contracting stories ranging from an electrician who did not install an on/off switch for a light because the homeowner had not requested one, to a contractor who ignored a homeowner’s request to cover a workspace then claimed the workspace was dirty before they started, to contractors taking deposits and never returning. Stories of people scammed by contractors make good TV news stories. Good contracting stories are much harder to find, but it is not hard to find a great contractor as long as you follow a few simple guidelines.
They Give You an Estimate In Writing
A great contractor will give you an estimate in writing. They say a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on. A great contractor will put their quote in black and white. It’s not just a matter of trustworthiness either. Sometimes putting things on paper can reveal a miscommunication before it’s too late. If you expect them to install four windows, and the quote says two, then you can clear things up right off the bat.They Are Easy to Communicate With
A great contractor should be easy to communicate with, and that means that they are more than a P.O. Box. Yankee Remodeler is more than just a website, and Bagwell explains the advantage of that. “It helps if you have a brick and mortar building. If there’s a physical location, then you could just come down and knock on our door. We’re more accessible.” You should be able to reach them by phone as well. You should be able to talk with them, not leave a message with an answering service.They Sign a Contract
A great contractor will sign a contract with you. Bagwell explains that the contract “should have a start and completion date.” This gives all parties involved a timetable to work on and an expectation of when work will be finished. The contract also states what you want and what the contractor will do. According to findlaw.com, other items in the contract should include the specific materials to be used, when equipment will be used as well as where equipment and supplies will be stored when not in use, whose responsibility it is if there is theft of or damage to equipment or supplies, a provision or amendments in case changes need to be made or unforeseen circumstances affect the stated completion time of the project, guarantees and warranties related to the project, payment plans, information on subcontractors and suppliers, and provisions for any potential disputes that may arise.They Ask for a Reasonable Deposit
A great contractor will ask for a deposit, but they don’t ask for the majority of the money upfront. “Never pay the bill until you’re satisfied,” advises Bagwell. “It’s okay to wait a week to look over the work.”They are Licensed and Insured
A great contractor is licensed and insured for the state they’re working in and have that state’s required insurances and are willing to show you these documents. They also follow your state’s requirements for permits and don’t try to talk you out of getting one when it is required by your city or town.They Are Safe
A great contractor follows OSHA guidelines on the worksite and their workers are properly dressed for their jobs and create a safe environment.
They Refuse to Put Their Estimate In Writing
Be suspicious of a contractor who will not put their estimate in black and white for you. It either means that they are trying to hide something or that they are not organized enough to be able to effectively estimate the cost of the job. Either way, they are probably not the right choice to take care of your job.They Approach You
They approach you, usually door to door, and offer to do the work for a substantially lower price in exchange for using your home in an ad or for exposure. Another door-to-door scam is to approach you and tell you that they’re working in the area and have left over materials or extra time and can do some inexpensive work for you right then and there. Every contractor is trying to find more business, but it is quite uncommon for one to be out knocking on doors.Bad Paperwork and Process
Beware of a contractor that doesn’t dot their i’s and cross their t’s, or, worse, doesn’t even have any i’s to dot because nothing is on paper. If they refuse to sign a contract or tell you that you don’t need one, that’s a red flag. Another is if they request that you get any needed permits, instead of them taking care of it. Even worse is if they try to get you to let them do the work without permits at all. They may charge you to do work they should have done when hired. This recently happened to Jig Sprocket, of New Jersey: “Initially one radiator was leaking at an elbow on the inlet. This was charged about $180… Possibly the water supply got stuck. It was a lot of water or some other steam venting problem. Plumber replaced it but never bled the system. He leaves but the steam radiators fail to heat up. He then asks for $500 to replace the vent valves on the radiator.”They Ask For A Excessive Deposit
You should be suspicious if they request the majority or all of the payment upfront. This is especially true if they ask for payment via cash or a check made out to a person instead of a company.Poor References or No References
They have poor references or no references at all. Be sure to check online at sites like EZBZ, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau and to ask friends and family. The sites where the reviews are linked to the user’s identity are more reliable, which is why an EZBZ user must have their account linked to Facebook to Vouch for a business. A great contractor will be able to provide you with references from former clients. Don’t hesitate to ask.High Pressure Sales
Beware if a contractor pressures you to make a decision immediately and discourages you from getting estimates from other businesses or from seeing their license and insurance information.
Other Tips to Help You Find a Great Contractor:
2. They usually have a waiting list. Good contractors are in demand, so you may need to look for one well before you intend to start remodeling.
3. They’ve been in business for at least three years. According to an article by marketwatch.com, about 30% of businesses go out of business every year. Some independent contractors join firms and some may fail due to the economic environment, but some may change their names often “ to dodge business problems and irate clients.”
4. Look for a contractor who’s right for your project. A contractor who specializes in industrial work will not be familiar with residential work, and one who specializes in plumbing may not have the background to fix your shingles. Be sure to ask what experience they have with your particular type of project.
5. Check out YouTube. Many contractors and some insurance companies, like Travelers, have videos giving advice on finding and working with contractors as well as red flags that may come up while searching for a contractor.
If you need to find a reputable contractor for a commercial or residential project, try EZBZ’s free concierge service. You can post a request through our website or app, or call us toll-free on 1-855-461-8619 for a local recommendation. Visit the EZBZ website to learn more: www.myezbz.com.
|Natalya Kofi from Portland Movers Company shared some tips with us about how to avoid going over budget on your next move.|
If you are planning to move, it’s likely that you have already made a moving checklist with properly calculated moving expenses. From the gas and cleaners, to the packers and movers, you have anticipated the costs you are likely to incur. Unfortunately, moving is a complex process and you may end up spending more than you have planned for. Some of the unexpected moving expenses you should anticipate to avoid going over your budget include:
Unbudgeted Storage Space
You may realize that your new home is too small right after moving in and may need extra storage space for your belongings. Whether you consider it as short-term or long-term storage space, the truth is you will incur costs to acquire a suitable storage space.
When moving, you may leave some of the old appliances and household items behind to make a change in you your new house. When unpacking you may also realize that some of the things you left behind played a good part in your home. Replacement for these items could be costly. Refurnishing your new home will also inevitably strain your budget, not to mention stocking up on minor items like laundry supplies, power extensions, dust bins, empty packages. It’s a good idea to set aside money well in advance for these expenses.
There’s no doubt that you need utilities such as water, electricity and gas in your home. Moving into a new house can increase the cost of these services. For example, moving to a larger house could mean a higher electricity bill. Some utility providers may also charge you for installation and transfer services.
Changes in Insurance Rates or Coverage
Whether it is your health, car, or rental, your residential address affects your insurance rates. Moving could also prompt you to change your insurance company if your current provider does not service your new location. This could cause a change in your budget so prepare for that. This could actually be a positive thing, if you are forced to change to a company with a lower insurance rate.
As much as you try to account for every cost, it is hard to anticipate every moving expense. Set aside some money for needs that you may not predict beforehand. These costs may be less, but could be a big deal after they add up to significant costs. Preparing ahead will help you swerve smoothly.
Moving comes with a lot of changes and can be stressful. Planning ahead will help you anticipate you expenses and allocate resources accordingly. As you plan, make sure you give yourself allowance for things you may not anticipate now for an easy moving process.Portland Movers Company is a BBB-accredited full service moving company. They offer free estimates and service the entire state of Oregon. Visit their website for more information: portlandmoversco.com.
Looking for a moving company somewhere else? EZBZ is a free concierge service that can connect you with reputable moving companies anywhere in the US. Submit a request on our website, app, or call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619.
Sensory Stepping Stones, an occupational therapy center in Mount Kisco, New York, help individuals and families reach their full potential by offering a variety of traditional and innovative treatment programs. Click here to learn more.
In a room at the Sensory Stepping Stones center in Mount Kisco, New York, a group of students are working together to train a therapy dog. Together, the students have to figure out how to teach the dog certain tasks and in doing so, they themselves have to figure out how to work as a group, communicate with one another, plan, and develop interpersonal relationships. This is one small program among many which help special needs students learn at the Sensory Stepping Stones center, where a holistic approach to treatment is the main focus instead of medication, and the environment avoids feeling or looking like a traditional school.
The alternative programs offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center help those with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), nonverbal learning disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injuries, developmental delays, executive functioning delays, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and many other similar disorders through a variety of programs specifically designed for a student’s maximum benefit.
Sensory Stepping Stones' programs are often used for children in grades preK through high school, but they can also be used with adults. According to Executive Director Melissa Bianchini, a former social worker who founded the business in 2011, the center has treated people from age three to ninety-three.
“At the end of the day, it’s about getting a person to a better place,” Bianchini says.
Testimonials on the website from previous clients attest to this success.
“The Sensory Learningsm Program has been informational. As a school psychologist by trade it has made me much more aware of the importance of the dominant ear & how important it is to know what ACTUAL information is sent to the brain. The first notable difference was my son’s ability to carry a tune. He has been much more aware of other’s feelings and spontaneously saying ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’. These things did not come easy to him,” writes the parent of an eight-year-old with sensory processing issues.
“After the Sensory Learningsm Program I have noticed that my daughter takes notice of more of her surroundings (larger field of vision). She is also much more inquisitive about people and places. She is using more sentence structure and engaging in more conversation. She is able to communicate her feelings more,” comments the parent of a six-year-old child with developmental delays.
“The Sensory Learningsm Program has changed my life for the better. I’ve been given the opportunity to be a better person and follow through on the goals I’ve set. Before this program, every and any interruption prevented me from getting through daily tasks and clouded my better judgment. This would drain me mentally and physically. It is amazing having a second chance to a better life. Sensory Stepping Stones has allowed me to have this, drug-free. I am forever grateful!” adds a thirty-eight year old with ADHD and anxiety.
Bianchini’s background in psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and physiology got her interested in neurological processing and sensory integration, which in turn found her working as the Educational Director at a sensory integration clinic in Arizona, before moving to New York to open one of just thirty such centers in New England.
“I wanted to be hands on,” she explains. Her strong background in brain processing lead her to starting post graduate work at Arizona State University in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, but she found her calling working with people.
“The brain interested me, but helping people interested me even more,” she says. “If there’s a problem, there has to be more than one solution.”
With a staff of trained professionals including social work and occupational therapy (OT) services, graduate level assistants, and between four and five undergraduate and graduate students, the Sensory Stepping Stones center is able to address many issues traditional school programs can’t, and all of its programs are backed up with clinical studies showing their effectiveness.
“We expect everyone to just ‘get it’ and it just doesn’t work that way,” Bianchini explains.
By using a variety of components specifically aimed at a student’s needs, the student learns how to improve him or herself. There is no other program like it in the New England area. “When we work the program, we really try to push the neuroplasticity of the brain for noticeable changes,” Bianchini explains.
Those solutions can be found in the variety of holistic programs, which do not focus on medication, offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center, including:
- Sensory LearningSM, an intensive multi-modal intervention addressing auditory, visual, and movement issues in students with conditions including dysfunctional sensory integration, sensitivities to light, sound or motion, delays in motor skills, irregular sleep/activity patterns and sensory processing issues. The program does require some inpatient training and has different plans for adolescents and adults.
- Interactive Metronome, which uses game-like programs designed to use helps students with conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, auditory processing disorders, and reading disorders increase their ability to focus and control impulsivity and aggression. Participants learn to filter out visual and auditory distractions and increase body awareness and mental focus.
- Cognitive/Memory Training, used to improve skills including attention, reasoning, memory, self-esteem, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, impulse control, and quick processing speed. This type of training is aimed at students who have cognitive impairments including, but not limited to, ADHD/ADD, brain injuries, psychological disorders, learning delays, and schizophrenia.
- Neuro/Bio/Educational Feedback, used to improve focus, attention, academic performance, social interaction, and behaviors like hyperactivity and and ADHD with both peers and family.
- Reading Development utilizing both phonics and reading comprehension presented in a hierarchal structure that addresses different issues as the student gains mastery.
- Peak Performance Training, aimed at athletes. According to the website, “When participating in the Peak Performance Training program, the individual can receive a complete and specifically designed training program encompassing visual tracking, sport specific balance/coordination, sensorimotor integration, mental and muscular endurance and neuropsychological functioning.”
Additional therapies offered include:
- Clinical Canine Intervention, described above. When the therapy dog, provided and overseen by Heidi Bonorato, founder of Giving Retriever, LLC, is trained, the dog goes to a family whose members have impairments or physical disabilities.
- Speech, language and feeding/swallowing disorders treated by Speech and language therapist Laura R. Bacon, M.S., CCC-SLP.
- Social skills and processing groups using small groups of three to eight children at a time to target behaviors including taking turns, cooperation, communicating effectively, problem solving, awareness of personal space, active listening and conversational skills, understanding other’s emotions, understanding one’s own emotions, conflict resolution, anger management, and dealing with teasing and bullying.
- Parent support groups and programs give parents the support and information they need to understand their child and his or her issues. One support group includes a therapy dog. The Sensory Stepping Stones center also offers free monthly informational meetings for parents. These meetings are run by specialists or center staff.
- Timocco, “a cutting-edge virtual motion gaming system that accelerates the development of motor and cognitive skills including bi-lateral coordination, crossing the midline, hand-eye coordination, attention, posture, visual discrimination, early learning, communication, short-term memory and teamwork skills.”
- The Listening Program, an at-home program using sound stimulation auditory training to improve active listening and auditory perception for those with auditory processing issues.
Diet is another important aspect of the programs at Sensory Stepping Stones center. Bianchini explains, “We work with nutritionists and other specialists. What we put in us affects our reactions.” She encourages parents to make healthier choices, and if they need additional help, directs them to additional resources.
The center’s Pinterest has boards for sensory room ideas, food, kid’s activities, parenting tips, books, and tools and toys for kids. Their Twitter feed provides encouraging messages and informational links.
In addition to Bianchini, Bonorato, and Bacon, the Sensory Stepping Stones staff includes Audrey Curley, a licensed and registered pediatric occupational therapist; and Irvine, a Golden Retriever therapeutic dog that knows over ninety different skills to help the disabled. Irvine had previously worked with the Wounded Warriors in the Service Dog Training Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
The most common question Bianchini gets from potential clients and parents is about the research behind the range of different programs used by Sensory Stepping Stones. When clients and parents meet with Bianchini, she provides them with packets documenting the research. “I want them to get comfortable with the research and the facility,” she explains. There are also links to the programs used on the website.
The most rewarding part of starting and running Sensory Stepping Stones is, “When a family member comes back and is now excelling in school and sports when they couldn’t before,” Bianchini says.
The center is a private, fee-for-service business, which means they are unable to work regularly with local schools. They depend on word of mouth to attract new clients, and sometimes a leap of faith from potential clients not familiar with the center’s holistic practices.
Tim Fitzgibbons, who has a son with sensory issues and step-son with special needs, said, “I would recommend it, depending on what (parents) have already tried and what they can afford and the other circumstances in their lives.”
He added, “There’s certainly many ways to reach kids who are in the areas they're interested in and (the center is) one of of them. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it might work for some people.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Sensory Stepping Stones, please contact them directly. You can reach them on (914)-244-4101 or by emailing email@example.com. They pride themselves on getting back to you within twenty-four hours and will do a complete assessment to find out which programs will benefit you or your family member best.
Looking for another type of business? Try posting a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we'll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.
A question I get quite often is "Why do I need EZBZ? Can't I just use Google?" Most people do not realize that they spend nearly a week out of every year looking for businesses to provide the products and services that they need. That's right, you can spend 3 hours looking to fill a single need, and if you find you have a need every week, then you're looking at 156 hours a year. A week is 168 hours.
What would it mean to you to have an extra week of free time every year?
A question I get quite often is "Why do I need EZBZ? Can't I just use Google?" Most people do not realize that they spend nearly a week out of every year looking for businesses to provide the products and services that they need. That's right, you can spend 3 hours looking to fill a single need, and if you find you have a need every week, then you're looking at 156 hours a year. A week is 168 hours.
What would it mean to you to have an extra week of free time every year?
OK, so how does it work? Let’s consider a few different industries that you might be searching in, because EZBZ is a highly versatile platform. You can find almost anything on EZBZ, but we’re going to talk specifically about home improvement and finding a car.
Although we are focusing on these two areas, EZBZ can be a powerful tool to help you save time finding any number of things from business services like printing, web design, and professionals to personal services like massage therapy, magicians, and movers.
When we first talk to people about EZBZ, they often think about home improvement services because there are a few other web sites that are dedicated those specific searches.
If you are looking for a general contractor without EZBZ, you have three options. You could use Google or some other general search tool like Yellow Pages; you could use a home improvement services site; or you could ask your friends.
Google is a great service. You can find any information that you want there. Airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Answer in seconds. Why is the sky blue? It can answer that with ease.
But what if you need a contractor? You can ask Google, and it will give you an answer. It looks like this:
Business name. category, phone number, what town their office is in. All good stuff, but you don’t have a contractor. You have a list of contractors who you can now begin to call. Your three hours begins now. You start calling, maybe you get someone who can help you. More likely, you get someone who can take a message and have the foreman or sales manager or whoever get back to you. Or, maybe you just get an answering machine. Alternatively, you can visit their web site and fill out the contact forms. I’m sure that you’ve seen the forms I’m talking about. If you have ever tried to get quotes for a major project like this, you probably still see these forms in your dreams.
When I was looking for the screen shot for this blog, it actually took my 5 minutes just to find a contact form that I could use. You fill out the contact form with your information, sharing your name, contact information, maybe address, and the nature of the job. You pass the test at the bottom to prove that you are a human and not a robot, and you hit send.
Your data zooms off at the speed of light to their server, and instantly, faster than the blink of an eye, one very important thing happens. Your email address is immediately added to their customer newsletter list. You will now start to receive emails and newsletters from this business. You may or may not receive a quote, but you will definitely get their emails.
Fill out 10 contact forms? Now you are on 10 email lists.
And after all this, you haven’t gotten a quote yet. You’ve spent time on the phone, spent time on web sites, and spent time unsubscribing from newsletters, but still have not found what you are looking for.
Home Improvement Sites
But there’s an alternative. There are web sites that are built just for your need. They can help, right? Absolutely! They can help to make sure that your phone number, email address, and home address get to a dozen or so firms with large enough marketing budgets to pay them for your contact information. Most of these services follow a pay to play model. The business pays for leads or for a subscription service. Most are paying between $25 and $75 per lead. This means that the service is selling your contact information to these companies for an average of $60, and they will sell it to as many companies as they can. That’s their business model.
Of course, if a business pays $60 for your phone number, they’re going to call you. All 10 of the businesses that buy your number will definitely want to call you, and they will want to keep calling because they spent a lot of money to get your number.
Are you getting calls from the best companies for your job? Maybe. Remember that the selection process is that you are connected with the businesses willing to pay the price of admission to get your number. That’s the qualification. Most of these services do have some kind of vetting process, but that generally means that they have checked to make sure the business has proper insurance and licensing and that their credit card clears the charges for their subscription.
Remember, now, that the businesses paid about $60 to get your number and email. Think you’re going on their email list? You bet you are. Think they’ll hold onto that phone number to give you a call next year and the year after to see if you might need anything else? It’s quite possible.
You could ask your friends. The average person knows 250 people, and a few of them probably know a business that you are looking for. Thanks to Facebook and social media, it’s easier than ever. You can post to Facebook what you are looking for and you will probably get some responses.
But, where do those responses come from.
Your friend from high school that you haven’t seen in 7 years refers a contractor, who just so happens to be owned by her brother-in-law.
Your co-worker’s cousin suggests a business owned by a guy that she met at a party last year. She hasn’t actually worked with them, but she thinks she has a friend who did and is pretty sure he was happy with them.
Your former neighbor who moved away last year suggests a place that was good. Or he thinks it was good. It might have been the other one who was good? Who can remember.
Recommendations from friends feel good because they have a personal connection, but you know how much attention you spend when you are on social media. You shoot off whatever is at the top of your mind, and you move on. And even when you do have the recommendations, you are not in touch with the business. You just have a link to their web site, or maybe a phone number. Now the process of calls and contact forms begins. You’re not busy for the next three hours, are you?
How is EZBZ different? The first step of the process is just as simple as a Google search. You just type what you need into the concierge box that you find at www.myezbz.com. You can even upload an image of what you are looking for if needed.
EZBZ then sends out your request, along with your town and first name, to all the businesses that serve your area that might be able to help you. No pay to play here. Every business in the area gets to see your request. That means that depending on your location and the nature of the request, it could be sent to over 500 businesses, giving you the best possible chance to find the right business for you.
If a company feels that they are a match for the job, they can reply by paying between $1 and $3. That’s not a typo. We only charge them one to three dollars to respond. This lets them respond through the EZBZ system. The business does not get your contact information until you decide to give it to them. No email lists. No endless phone calls. Just a message through the EZBZ messaging system, which you’ll be notified of by text or email or by app notification.
For simpler jobs, that first message can include a quote. For something more complex, like building an expansion on your house, they’ll probably have to come out and give an estimate, but either way, you are much further along in the process, and all you had to do was type what you need into the concierge box.
When you get responses, the response will show the company’s information as well as reviews aggregated from 9 web sites, plus reviews posted on EZBZ. Users can also vouch for businesses, a system which is linked to their Facebook account, so no anonymous vouching. Only real people, and very soon we will add the functionality to be able to show you businesses that your friends have vouched for, giving you that personal connection.
As you can see, it’s a lot easier to type a request once than to have to make dozens of phone calls.
I talked about what happens when your contact information gets into the hands of businesses around town in terms of home improvement, but controlling your information is much more important when car shopping.
I sold cars for a number of years when I was younger, and I learned two very important things. First, most people are not looking for a specific car like a 2012 Honda Civic LX with 22,000 miles. They are looking for a car under 4 years old, with less than 25,000 miles and more than 30 MPG for less than $12,000. Second, once a car dealership gets their hands on your email and phone number, they will reach out to you until they receive notarized confirmation of your death, and maybe they’ll still call a couple more times.
I don’t blame car dealerships for being tenacious. It’s a difficult and highly competitive business, and those leads cost money.
Most of the car search sites give you the ability to specify exactly what you are looking for, right down to colors and accessories. This lets the dealership know exactly what kind of car to tell you they just sold yesterday before they sell you the car that is in stock right now.
When you spec out that car, the site will ask you for your contact information. Phone, email, address, and all the rest. They will then take this contact information and the kind of vehicle you are looking for and sell it to every car dealership in town who is willing to pay for it. Usually between $20 and $40 per lead. The email goes onto the email list, and the phone number goes to the Business Development Center, or Internet sales guy.
They will get in touch, you will buy a car from someone.
A year later, your number is floating around at about a dozen dealerships. Maybe it’s a little slow on a quiet Tuesday in June at Larry Motors, and the sales manager wants to get some action going, so he prints out a list of old leads and distributes it to the sales people. Larry Motors didn’t have the car you were looking for last year, and they certainly don’t now, but that’s not going to stop them from calling and seeing if you might have a need now.
If you thought an elephant never forgot, you will learn that the elephant has nothing on the car dealership contact database.
How is EZBZ different? Just like the car web sites, it lets you specify the kind of car you want. Like the car sites, it sends your requests out to many dealerships.
Unlike the car web sites, it sends your request to every dealership in your area to find a match. Most importantly, unlike the car web sites, EZBZ does not give your contact information to anyone unless you want to. You may choose to give your number to one or two who seem promising, or you might just call them and not let them call you. They can respond to you through the EZBZ system, giving you links to inventory, specs of cars in stock and other information you are seeking, but they can only communicate through the EZBZ portal, not through your personal number and email, unless you want them to.
You are totally in control. The power is yours.
You still get to communicate with dealers who can help you, but on your terms, not theirs.
EZBZ makes your life easier. You certainly can find the businesses that you find through EZBZ with other services, but EZBZ makes it faster, easier, and more convenient.
Could you just Google it. Sure, if you don’t mind spending an extra week finding everything you are looking for. That’s what EZBZ does for you. It saves you time and an effort, leaving you energy for the things that are really important in your life like family, hobbies, and work.
EZBZ is a free service, so why would you go anywhere else?
Third Floor Corporation is a full-service construction company in New York’s Hudson Valley. Started by master builder, Ben Fiering, in 1993, the company specializes in the restoration of classic and modern architecture. Click here to learn more.
Ben “Doctor Structure” Fiering, the master builder at Third Floor Corporation, knows better than most that good things take time.
“We try to be mindful of the time, but…” says Ben, before trailing off. He chooses his next words carefully.
“The things we build are going to last forever.”
After five minutes of speaking with Ben, it’s clear that he’s passionate about the construction and restoration work his company does every day. He’s not shy about admitting that high quality work is their number one priority.
Ben started Third Floor Corporation in 1993, but he’s been in the industry since the early eighties, when he started working construction while studying social history at college. His passion for building things had been kindled even earlier than that by his father, Norman Fiering, a skilled carpentry hobbyist.
A recent project completed by Third Floor Corporation. Architecture by David Wallance.
Third Floor Corporation was started in Manhattan, and their first project was converting old warehouse space in to a three-unit live/work space for artists. Today, they are a full-service construction and general contracting company serving private residential clients in New York’s Hudson Valley.
“I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Ben says of the Valley. In his spare time, Ben enjoys exploring the area's abundance of nature, photography, playing guitar, and studying the history of art, craft, and architecture.
Ben "Doctor Structure" Fiering at work.
From the way Ben talks about his line of work, it’s clear that Third Floor Corporation are not your average construction company. They specialize in structural repair, and the restoration of both classic and modern architecture.
“[We have] an intimate understanding of the challenges involved in the restoration of antique buildings,” Ben says, when describing what separates his company from others. He speaks with pride and admiration when talking about his staff, the trademark of a business owner that treats his employees with respect.
With over thirty years in the workforce, though, Ben is the first to admit he’s faced some challenges.
“Maintaining a stable workflow depending on changes in the economy is a challenge.”
While 2017 is sure to hold some challenges of its own, Ben does not seem fazed. Perhaps it’s because building things is more than a job, for Ben; it’s a passion he inherited from his father.
“I grew up doing this work… I’ve always enjoyed making things.”
If you’re interested in discussing a project with Ben from Third Floor Corporation you can reach him on (914) 263 6148 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Ben on Twitter as @Dr_Structure.Looking for something else? Submit a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we’ll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.
As always, EZBZ is here to help. Just put in a request for snow removal and we'll find quality contractors for you.
I'll even make it easy for you by writing out the inquiry for you. Just cut and paste this right into the concierge box: I would like to contract with a snow removal company to plow my home's driveway throughout the winter.
Even though you driveway is plowed, that won't do you any good if your car is not ready for winter! If your car is newer, you may be in need of snow tires, but if your car is a little more experienced, then it might be wise to get a pre-winter check up. You don't want to find out when it's twenty below zero that your battery is losing its oomph.
For our readers down in the warm, southern states, you are still welcome to use EZBZ to find a caterer for your beach party.
Westchester County in upstate New York is renowned for its aesthetically pleasing scenery, its quaint villages and towns, and the strong community of families and local businesses that call it home. Many of the businesses that reside there are family-owned companies that have operated out of Westchester for decades.
One such business is Metro Painting, founded by White Plains local Josh Glass over 25 years ago. Josh still owns and manages the company today, assisted by his wife, Kerry, and their three children.
Josh started painting homes when he was in high school, and at first it was nothing more than a fun summer job. He kept it up while in college, and the demand for his skills helped Josh pay off his tuition.“After graduating I decided it was something I was passionate about,” Josh said when reflecting on why he started Metro Painting. The rest, as they say, is history.
Owner of Metro Painting, Josh Glass, and his family.
Today, Josh is still passionate about painting and his business is flourishing. Metro Painting regularly complete both residential and commercial projects and they are a featured partner of the local community group, Westchester NY Moms. However, Josh admits they still hit the occasional bump in the road.
“Every day is a new challenge and a new client… I get to bring their vision to life.”
Josh says that the biggest challenge Metro Painting faces is meeting client demand without a sacrifice in craftmanship.
“The quality comes from the attention, and putting in the extra effort,” Josh said, on how they approach each project.
The work they put in to every job means that almost every Metro Painting customer is blown away by the results. However, this can make it harder for them to fit in more customers - they often have a tight schedule. It’s this dedication to every client, along with their passion for the work, that separates Metro Paiting from their competitors.
Josh also has some critical advice for homeowners that want professional painting help: “Sharing inspirational material with the contractor is vital to delivering the results.”
Inspirational material could be anything from a pinterest board, to images cut out from a magazine… anything that will help the contractor understand exactly what you want. Josh loves working with clients that can provide materials like this, and he says they are often more satisfied than customers who don’t.
“The results for them become so much more exciting and real as they got exactly what they want.”
Metro Painting are currently offering $250 off any job over $1500. If you’re interested in discussing a project with Metro Painting, you can contact them on (888) 276-1505 or by emailing them at email@example.com. Visit their EZBZ profile for more information.
But what about the unexpected? With family on their way and the turkey in the oven, you don't have time to deal with a clogged sink or busted water heater.
Here's the thing. Once you have a professional on the way to fix what broke, you can get back to your preparations. The repair person shows up, and you show them to the way to where they need to go. You can leave them to their work while you to yours. The hard part is getting in touch with that repair man or woman, especially for an emergency job.
That's where EZBZ comes in. Especially around the holidays, you are way too busy to be searching on Google and filling out web forms and making calls. Let us make it easy for you. Just put what you need in the concierge box, and let us do the rest for you.
What about those real emergencies where you absolutely must get in touch with a business? EZBZ offers a Personal Assistant service. For only $5, EZBZ guarantees 5 responses in 2 hours or your money back. When we put "Your Problem, Solved" on our web site, it's not just a tag line. It's a promise.
It’s already October, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. For homeowners with a family, this time of year can be very expensive. Click here for some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Every year October seems to arrive earlier than expected, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. What can also happen fast is how quickly your budget for fall and winter disappears before you’ve even made it to December. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas absorb enough money on their own, let alone the expenses that the harsh weather can incur during the colder seasons. For homeowners with a family, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive.
Here are some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Check Discount Sites & Apps
These days there are countless websites and apps that exist purely to help you save money. There are the heavyweights like Groupon and Amazon, but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper to find those less well-known services that could save you some real dough. For example, My City Mommy is a great coupon site for moms all over the country – they have a local coupon website for nearly 40 metro areas including Saint Louis and Dallas-Fort Worth. The EZBZ Store also often has great deals on products and services that are sometimes even cheaper than Amazon.
Don’t forget that most business owners know how expensive this time of year can be and are willing to offer some great discounts if it means you’ll choose them over a competitor. For example, some grocery stores will offer a free or discounted thanksgiving turkey if you purchase a certain amount of groceries from them. For families that already spend a lot on groceries, this is a perfect opportunity to capitalize. When visiting a local business, don’t be afraid to ask if they are offering any seasonal discounts or specials.
Create your own Decorations
With websites like YouTube and Pinterest, it is easier than ever for parents and children to get hands-on with their holiday decorations. Many sites provide affordable ways to use dollar stores and thrift stores to find supplies so that you can create your own decorations for your home. Creating your own decorations is a great activity to do as a family, giving you a sense of accomplishment and making the holiday décor much more meaningful.
Get Ahead of Next Year
Planning ahead is the first step to saving money, and this is especially relevant during the holiday season. Halloween and Christmas decorations are almost always on sale on the days following the holiday, sometimes with up to 80% off. In fact, these sales aren’t just for decorations – you can buy all kinds of unopened and unwanted gifts from secondhand stores in the days following Christmas for a discounted price. Valentine’s Day cards can also be purchased for as little as thirty cents on Feburary 15, so why not buy them in advance for next year?
EZBZ's free concierge service allows you to request anything and receive quotes back from providers in your area. It’s a great comparison tool to ensure you’re getting the best deal for every purchase or hire you make. In the fall and winter, it’s a great way to get quotes from snow removal services, HVAC contractors, and other professional services that can vary from provider to provider. Businesses can also only reply to you via EZBZ – your contact information is not shared with anyone so you can remain anonymous while comparing your options.
The best part is, if you hire a business through EZBZ, you'll get $5 cash back. So, if you’re looking to hire a contractor or professional service anyway, submitting a free request could end up saving you some time and money.
With some careful planning and a little research, these tips are sure to provide you and your family with a joyful & affordable holiday season. Good luck and happy holidays!
Not every home needs a regular, professional cleaning, but often the benefits are well and truly worth the cost. Click here to learn more about the positives of hiring a cleaning service or house keeper.
Not every home needs a professional cleaning service, but in a household with two or more working adults and dependents (e.g. children, pets), chores can quickly become a time-consuming and stressful aspect of everyday life. Hiring a cleaning service is obviously going to cost money, but it may be more affordable and worthwhile than you expect. Here are some of the benefits of investing in a house keeper or cleaning service:
While the average cleaning service costs somewhere between $20-$50 an hour, it is possible to find services that can work with smaller budgets. You can also cut out some of the costs by planning ahead what you need assistance with. Prepare a list of the jobs you would like completed, and be sure to omit the chores that aren’t necessary or that you are happy to do yourself, for example making beds or ironing. By specifying exactly what you need and expect from the service, you are more likely to be satisfied with the cost and quality of the job. By utilizing a regular cleaning service, you are also ensuring your home is consistently clean, which can help you save money on repair, pest control, and even your health.
If every adult in your household works full or even part-time, it can be hard to find the time to take care of the day-to-day maintenance that every home requires. It has been scientifically proven (not really) that after a long day at work, the last thing anyone feels like doing is household chores. Hiring a housekeeper or cleaning service to take care of these tasks means that you can come home from work and focus on more important things. If you’re still unsure, compare quotes from several cleaning services and ask yourself the following question: is your time worth more than the cost of a cleaning service?
Don’t be Afraid to Entertain
One of the best perks of having a neat and tidy home is the confidence it gives you to entertain guests whenever you want. If you don’t have the budget for a weekly clean, you may just want to hire a service to clean your home before and after every event you host. This gives you more time and energy to focus on other, more important aspects of planning an event, such as the food or your outfit.
Experts do a Better Job
While you may take pride in your mopping skills, there’s a good chance you’re not very passionate or excited about cleaning if you’re considering hiring a cleaning service. A professional cleaner will typically have access to professional-grade equipment, not to mention a wealth of experience, when they come to clean your home, which means they will ideally make your home cleaner than you’ve ever seen it. Of course, it’s also a good idea to ensure that the professional you are hiring is actually a professional – be sure to check out any reviews they have online, and if they don’t have any, ask them for a reference or two. It’s worth your while to be thorough in the hiring process to ensure you don’t hire someone that can only clean your home as well as you do.myezbz.com is a great way to find and compare professional cleaning services in your area. Simply submit a free request, and local and recommended cleaning companies will reply to you directly with their information, availability, and pricing. It’s a great way to see what your options are and ensure you hire a professional that will do right by you and your home.
As summer slowly comes to a halt in September, and the leaves of fall begin to...er, fall... an alternative season starts: Pumpkin season.
While you can purchase canned pumpkin throughout the year, the orange vegetable is a winter variety of the squash plant, which means the pumpkin harvest starts every September. Nothing beats the taste of fresh pumpkin, and combined with its strong ties to both Thanksgiving and Halloween, it’s easy to see why pumpkin fever hits the country now until after Thanksgiving.
We have compiled a list of some of the things you can do this season to celebrate the second most wonderful time of the year:
Pumpkin is first and foremost a delicious vegetable, so cooking should be the top of your list. It’s one of the few foods that can be utilized across all the Thanksgiving courses – appetizer (pumpkin soup), dinner (roast pumpkin), and dessert (pumpkin pie)! Even the seeds can be harvested and used in a range of different ways.
Pumpkin can also be used to create some other, less well known dishes, that are just as delicious. Pumpkin goes great with risotto and pasta (it makes an excellent stuffing for gnocchi or shells), while pumpkin seed oil, which can be rare in the US, has an intense nutty flavor and plenty of “good” fats. It’s great for dipping fresh vegetables or salty cheese in to. The vegetable’s versatility makes it a great choice for vegetarians – it can be used to create veggie burgers, it’s a delicious (and filling) pizza topping, and it works well with plenty of Mexican dishes, including quesadillas. In fact, pumpkin has been a staple of the Mexican diet for thousands of years – pumpkin seeds have been found in ancient burial caves dating back to 7,000 B.C. With a history like that, it’s hard to doubt pumpkin’s ability to please any palate.
When thinking about Halloween, the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is the jack-o-lantern – a carved out pumpkin with a candle or light inside. While the typical jack-o-lantern has a scary face carved in to its side, there are plenty of other ways to carve a pumpkin. Every year, thousands of people compete in carving contests, trying to carve the vegetable in new and creative ways. It’s a great activity to do with kids, as it’s good for the development of their fine motor skills, and provides an opportunity to teach them about knife safety. That’s not to mention the benefits of any activity that makes a vegetable more appealing to kids.
When it comes to carving pumpkins, the design doesn’t have to be related to Halloween or kids. The shell of a pumpkin can also be used practically. Check out this guide to making an awesome pumpkin bird-feeder that can hang off your porch or patio, or this guide to making an organic pot plant for your garden.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
Capitalizing on the pumpkin fever, many farmers open up their pumpkin patches to the general public in September so they can offer their pumpkin straight from the source. Many pumpkin patches also provide hay rides, petting zoos, and plenty of other activities, making it a fun destination for families. Buying your pumpkin straight from a nearby patch is a great way to support local farmers and ensure the produce is fresh.Looking for a nearby pumpkin patch, cooking school, or farmer’s market? Submit a free request through myezbz.com and we’ll help you find what you’re looking for. It’s free, quick, and easy.
Even if you have the greatest job in the world, no one wants to be working constantly. The unfortunate reality is that most of us will spend the majority of our lives working, just to pay for the 20% of time we get to ourselves. Here are some tips for how you can avoid doing work, while actually at work…
1. Random Errands of Kindness
While errands like getting coffee and buying more cups for the water cooler are typically delegated to the office intern, they aren’t always available. Thankfully, you’re bored and don’t feel like working! Of course, it’s important to make sure someone more bored than you doesn’t beat you to it. Tips include monitoring how much paper is left in the printer, calculating how many cups of coffee your boss goes through in a day, and checking the date when the office milk expires.
2. Bathroom Break
Have you ever thought about how many minutes in a work day you get paid for just excreting bodily fluids? I have, for me it’s about 15 minutes. That’s over an hour per week I’m paid for just sitting on the toilet, thinking about life’s biggest questions:
What is the meaning of life? Who shot JFK? Why did I have Indian food for lunch?
Be careful though, any more than 20 minutes a day and your boss might get suspicious. That, and you should probably see a doctor.
3. Take an Urgent Call from a Family Member
Those of you with moral fiber may not want to pretend you have a family emergency to get out of work, lest it actually occurs, but even the meanest boss will understand why you have to take a call from your mom in the middle of the day. Why else would she be calling unless there is a real emergency?
Little does your boss know that the ‘Mom’ in your contacts is actually your best friend, who’s calling to discuss last night’s episode of Game of Thrones.
4. Cleaning Dishes
It’s only Wednesday, and the office kitchen is already a mess. The cleaner doesn’t come until Friday afternoon, so someone has to do something… but who? You raise your hand confidently....
Washing dishes can actually be fun. Well, more fun than cold-calling or emailing clients. Plus, you can’t pretend it doesn’t feel good to ‘accidentally’ throw away the lunch of your nemesis – that colleague who reported you for sleeping at your desk. Which brings me to number four…
5. SleepingThis can be a risky tactic. Unless you have your own office or one of those giant office chairs, it can be hard to get away with this.
I recommend dark sunglasses, and if anyone asks why you’re wearing them inside, you have a headache and the harsh fluorescent lighting is making you feel nauseated. Report your ‘medical condition’ to HR to really cover yourself, and enjoy the midday nap.
6. Prepare for an Emergency
Every office needs an evacuation plan in case of an emergency, just like you need a good excuse to avoid working. Take a few hours to draw a floor plan that indicates the office exits; photocopy and laminate it; plaster it all over the office.
This is an easy task, and the boss will appreciate your initiative and forward thinking. If you want to help everyone in the office get out of work, organize a fire drill. Wear a hard hat at all times so people know you’re serious.
7. Write for the Company Blog
This is my fail-safe. In fact, it’s what I’m doing right now. Whenever I get bored at work, I volunteer to write an article for our company blog.
You can pretty much write about whatever you want, and it can actually be quite fun. I did loads of research for this article in particular.
If you’re looking for a product or service to help you get out of work, try using myezbz.com. It’s a fast, easy way to find what you’re looking for.
Chores are an unfortunate reality for everyone – especially for those of us that live in a house with kids. If you’re a parent, it’s important to remember that cleaning and maintaining your home should not be your duty alone. In fact, studies show that teaching children the importance of chores is vital to their development.
Research from the University of Minnesota found that chores help children build a lasting sense of responsibility, mastery, and self-reliance. The study also found that adults who began chores at ages 3 or 4 were more likely to be self-sufficient, have strong relationships with friends and family, and achieve early academic or career success than those who didn’t start chores until their teenage years.
Of course, knowing that kids should do chores, and actually making them follow through, are quite different things. Children are notorious for very bluntly voicing their objection to anything and everything that they don’t feel like doing. It would almost be admirable if it weren’t for all the screaming and crying.
Here are some tips for making average household chores more bearable for kids:
Make it a Competition or Sport
Kids are naturally competitive, so if you have more than one child, adding an element of competition to a chore is a sure-fire way to get them excited about completing the task. This can sometimes be harder to pull off than just asking, “who can finish first?”, though. The more enthusiasm you can contribute to the task, the more your kids will embrace it. Avoid rewards as well, at least in the form of money – some psychologists have suggested that money can minimize a child’s desire to pitch in, turning a good deed in to a transaction.
Watch Your Language
While you may think using slightly different words or phrasing couldn’t possibly have an impact, you may be surprised by the results. For example, studies have shown that thanking a child for being a “helper” rather than just “helping”, can significantly increase their motivation. Referring to the chores as “ours” rather than “yours” also reiterates that doing chores is a way of helping one another, rather than a mandatory duty.
We all know how powerful the imagination of a child is, so it’s no surprise that you can use it to your advantage when trying to complete some jobs around the house. Providing a story or make-believe scenario as the context for completing a job is a great way to engage younger children. Instead of washing up dishes, maybe you are the captain of a sinking ship, cleaning and offloading heavy cargo; or instead of cleaning a cluttered bedroom, you are removing land mines from a dangerous battlefield. Cater to the interests of your child/children, and it’s hard to go wrong.
Behavioral Control Not Emotional Control
Regardless of how fun you can make your household chores, you’re still going to hear some complaints. But that’s okay – kids are entitled to complain. Trying to coerce your child in to enjoying a chore, using guilt, or any other emotional tactic can have an extremely detrimental impact on their mental health.
Instead, as a parent it’s your job to calmly explain that if they’re living in a house, they have to contribute to the everyday maintenance requirements. This parental advice will help them for many years to come, in particular when they move out and have their own home to look after.
While a recent study showed that over 80% of adults participated in regular chores as a child, only 28% of them reported asking their own children to complete chores. This is one of the few generational differences in parenting that is predicted to have a negative impact on the development of children in the modern era.
By requiring your kids to help around the house, you can have a very positive impact on their future development. By making chores bearable, you make life easier for everyone now.
Summer is home improvement season for a reason. While some jobs will always require you to hire a contractor or licensed professional, there are countless home repair projects you can quickly complete yourself in the warm weather. Many of these jobs are not so easily fixed in fall or winter, and ignoring the job until next summer isn’t a great idea, either, as the problem could worsen and become an expensive project that you can no longer complete yourself.
Here are some easy jobs you can do around the house during summer to avoid expensive repairs down the road:
For a big painting job you may wish to hire a contractor, but for small touch ups to the outside or inside of your house, even an inexperienced homeowner should be able to the do the job themselves. Summer is the best time to paint outside as the heat will help it dry faster, and there is less chance of rain, snow, or leaf litter disrupting your progress. If you’re painting inside, summer allows you to leave the windows open to ventilate the house and speed up the drying process.
While this job can be outsourced to a professional, you may be able to do it yourself for little to no cost. Gutters are the first line of defense for your home against water damage. Leaving them to accrue debris and dirt could lead to a big, wet, and expensive headache for you down the road. There are also plenty of insects and pests that love to make their home in debris-filled gutters, which can quickly lead to an infestation. Cleaning your gutters twice a year is a great way to avoid a buildup of debris, and also gives you an opportunity to check for any other issues such as a leak.
Spring and summer are the best months for gardening and/or landscaping your yard. By planting shrubs or plants in the warmer months, you give them a chance to settle and grow before the harsh fall and winter months. The ground is also easier to dig in to while it’s hot, so if you’re thinking of installing a new irrigation system or in-ground pool, summer is the time for it.
TLC for Your Outdoor Surfaces
Come fall and winter, your outdoor surfaces are going to be hit with rain, leaf litter, and snow… So summer is a good time to prepare for the months ahead.
Refinishing your deck in Summer will not only help protect it from the weather, it will make it look brand new, which is perfect if you’re planning on using it throughout the summer. Refinishing once every year, or even every two-three years, is a project you can do yourself and will help you elongate the life of your deck. Avoiding a regular refinish could mean having to replace your deck within a few years, which would cost thousands of dollars.
Another outdoor surface that might need some TLC is your driveway. It’s a good idea to inspect your driveway and make sure it’s ready for the tough months ahead – if it is due for repaving or replacement soon, be sure to get it done in summer. You don’t want to have to replace your driveway in rain or snow. Finally, if you have a lot of outdoor concrete surfaces, look out for cracks. If they’re small enough, you can caulk them very easily and save yourself a lot of time and money. Bigger cracks will require a concrete patch.
Inspecting and improving your home during summer may feel like hard work now, but can be extremely beneficial to the longevity of your home, not to mention potentially saving you thousands of dollars. When working outside, however, be sure to stay hydrated and use sunblock. Health and safety should always be your priority when completing home repairs.
If you require professional assistance for any project you want to complete this summer, request it for free through EZBZ. We will send your request to local professionals, who will reply to you directly with their information and pricing. It’s a great way to compare your options and find the best deal available.
A driveway is like the welcome mat to your entire home, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners are extremely precautious when choosing the design and type of material they want. Before you speak to a contractor, it's a good idea to research your options. We’ve put together a short guide to help homeowners learn more about the various types of driveway available today:
Concrete is one of the first things people think of when they consider their paving options. A concrete driveway can be stamped with different designs and colors, so it’s a popular choice for homeowners that want their driveway to match the exterior design of their house. Popular paving materials such as cobblestone, brick, and field stone can also be simulated in concrete at a fraction of the cost. The average cost per square foot is around $5.
The affordability of asphalt makes it another popular choice. The average cost per square foot is around $2.20. Asphalt is strong, does not show stains like concrete does, and only needs a minimal amount of maintenance. A long dark driveway can look impressive in a well-landscaped yard. Asphalt also retains more heat from the sun than concrete, which means snow will melt faster on an asphalt driveway, making it a smart choice for households that will have a frosty winter.
A brick driveway is more expensive than asphalt and concrete, but it has a timeless elegance that will add another level to the aesthetic of your home. Various patterns can be created with the bricks, from a classic herringbone to basket weave. A foundation bed of sand helps to give a brick driveway stability. Another plus is that if a brick cracks it can be replaced without interfering with the whole driveway. The average cost per square foot can range from $5-15.
Cobblestone is a costly but long-lasting choice. Cobblestones are typically made of granite, which is stain resistant and less likely to crack than other driveway materials. However, it can also be a lot more expensive. The average cost per square foot can range from $10-20. A cobblestone driveway can give your home a classic look and feel that will make any old home look charming. For many homeowners, installing a cobblestone driveway is a DIY project, which is a great way to cut some of the costs.
When you are struggling to find the budget for a brick or even concrete driveway, you may wish to consider gravel. The crushed stone can be eco-friendly, and requires little maintenance. While you will have to replace the stones every few years, cracks will never be an issue. Gravel driveways are a popular choice for rural homes. The average cost per square foot is around $1.40.Whatever your budget or design preference, there are multiple options for homeowners considering installing or replacing a driveway. To find a driveway contractor in your area that can help you install the driveway of your dreams, consider using EZBZ. It’s a free, quick, and easy way to find and hire contractors.
While summer is well and truly upon us, many families are yet to come up with activities that will keep everyone entertained. As anyone who is a parent knows, this can be harder than it sounds. There are always lots of summer events and activities available for young children, but what about parents, or families with teenagers? They should be able to enjoy the summer too without having to ship the younger ones off to summer camp. We’ve compiled a list of summer activities that will keep the whole family happy:
The great thing about camping is that it usually provides a plethora of different activities to keep every member of the family entertained. If you’re camping near a body of water, swimming should appeal to kids of all ages. For parents and older kids, why not hire a boat or some kayaks? Kayaking can be incredibly fun, not to mention great exercise. However, make sure when camping that you invest in a tent big enough for your whole family. You’re inevitably going to be in close quarters by sharing a tent, but anything too small will quickly feel stifling in the summer heat. Other necessities include insect repellant, sunblock and plenty of food and water.
Go to the Beach
The beach is the classic summer destination for almost everyone during summer, and it’s not hard to see why – as we mentioned, all kids love swimming, not to mention playing in the sand. Teenagers and adults can find also find some additional thrill in the ocean that they won’t find in a lake or pool. You can also just lie down on the soft sand with a good book, and soak up the sun’s rays. Of course, there are some potential downsides to a day at the beach as well: sun poisoning, sand everywhere, stings or insect bites… But it’s also entirely possible to avoid these with the proper precautions.
They say the best time to learn how to ride a bike is when you’re a child. A family bike ride is a great way to exercise together, and for younger kids, it is an introduction to a skill they will retain for the rest of their life. Showing children at a young age how fun and beneficial exercise can be is a great way to teach them how important it is to prioritize your health and wellbeing. If you have an emotional teenager or two, aeorobic exercise like bike riding can be a great way to blow off some steam, and because exercise releases endorphins in the brain, it’s also a great way to fight stress or negative thoughts.
If your kids love nature or adventures, going for a hike should be in your summer fun program. Hiking combines adventure, exercise and relaxation as it allows you trek through the forest until you find a nice picnic spot or lookout. Arm yourself with nice hiking boots, proper clothing, and of course the "spirit of adventure". Also, don’t forget some sandwiches and water as you will need them after trekking for a few hours.
These are just some of the outdoor activities your family can do this summer to have some fun and spend some quality time together. If you’re looking for something in particular, for example local boat or kayak hire, or open camping grounds, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. We will connect you with local businesses and service providers that can make your summer truly memorable.
It doesn’t take much for a homeowner to consider renovating their home. But while wear and tear are inevitable, renovations are typically a choice, and can bring unwanted stress and tricky surprises. It’s essential that you are prepared. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your home renovation is a success:
Determine Your Budget
Even if you’re only just starting to consider renovating your home, take a look at your expenses and savings. Map out how much you can afford to spend on renovations. Forward thinking is critical – will you have any other large expenditures in the foreseeable future? Remember to take in to account an estimate of how much you will be spending on everyday essentials during the actual renovation. Save enough money so you have a safety net in the event of an accident or unexpected expense.
Figure Out What You Want
Having a clear vision of what you want before beginning the process of renovation will help you save time and money. Make a list of the mandatory things you want, and the renovations you could live without. Of course, while a clear vision is important, it’s also necessary to have some flexibility. Surprises during renovation aren’t just common, they should be expected. Moldy baseboards or faulty wiring can cause serious delays and incur additional costs. This is where your list of essential and non-essential renovations can help you make a quick decision about how to proceed.
Hire a Licensed Contractor
Now that you have determined your budget and have a vision for what you want your home to look like, it’s time to start researching contractors that can complete the renovation. A licensed contractor is always recommended. When you hire a licensed contractor, they are legally required to follow certain safety codes and standards. An unlicensed contractor may not be familiar with the latest industry standards, and could be uninsured. Ultimately, hiring an unlicensed contractor could result in more expenses down the road. The risk is not worth the lower quote. To find a reputable contractor in your area, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. Local contractors will reply to you directly through EZBZ with their information, availability, and estimates, allowing you to compare your options and make an informed decision about who to hire.
Book Temporary Accommodation
If you’re planning to renovate your entire home, the best option is to stay out of the house. Construction sites can be dangerous, loud, and stressful, not to mention that renovations can sometimes take weeks or even months to complete. Staying with friends or family is an option, however this can also be conducive to a stressful situation for both you, and your host. Investing in temporary accommodation may also be an investment in your mental health. Credible accommodation companies will provide you with necessities like clean linens, cable, Wi-Fi, and an inviting and clean living space while having representatives on standby at all times in the event of any issues.
Take an Inventory
Before leaving your home, be sure to do a sweep and keep record of any expensive or important items you are leaving behind. It may be a good time to clear your house of old furniture or anything else you no longer need, while storing the items you want to keep in your basement, attic, or a storage unit.
Following these steps will help you ensure that your home renovation goes smoothly. While some preparation efforts can seem tiresome or even futile at the time, their value becomes apparent once the renovation begins and you are stress-free.When looking for quality, temporary accommodation for the duration of your renovation, consider visiting TempApts.com. If you’re looking to hire a contractor, construction company, or find any other product or service, request it through EZBZ. It’s free, quick, and easy.
At some point or other, all homeowners need to hire a contractor to help repair or renovate their property. While some maintenance tasks can be handled by a layman, there are certain jobs that are better left to a professional.
But what is the difference between a layman and a professional? Is it a license? Is ‘unlicensed professional’ an oxymoron?
The reality is, a license can’t guarantee that you will be happy with the work of a contractor, just as the lack of a license doesn’t mean you will definitely be taken advantage of. But when it comes to insurance and safety, exclusively hiring licensed professionals is the logical choice. Hiring an unlicensed professional can expose you to risks that just aren’t worth the short term savings.
A licensed contractor is insured, and can be expected to follow safety codes and procedures. For example, the national electrical code is the standard for safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment, and is revised every three years. To become a licensed electrician, a contractor must demonstrate they are capable of following the code.
An unlicensed contractor may not be familiar with the latest version of the code, and could produce shoddy work, not to mention that even a minor mistake could result in serious injury or death. You could also be liable for medical fees if an unlicensed worker injures themselves while working on your property.
While it may seem more affordable to hire an unlicensed contractor in the short-term, you must always take in to account the potential long term costs when getting repairs or renovation. Un-doing the mistakes of an unlicensed contractor can be very costly, not to mention the fees associated with any legal action you or your ex-employee undertake.
And how do you ensure you’re hiring a licensed contractor? Simple – ask. While this can be harder than it sounds, it’s extremely important to verify you are hiring someone qualified to repair or renovate your home. The earlier you can ask, the better. Something along the lines of: “While you set everything up, could I please see your contractor’s license and your General Liability Insurance card?”
So what are you paying for when you pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars more for a licensed contractor? Peace of mind. And it’s totally worth it.The next time you need to hire a licensed contractor, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. We will connect you with the contractors in your area, so you can compare your options and hire the business that’s best for you. It’s free, quick, and easy.
As a renewable energy, solar power is the obvious choice for homeowners interested in dramatically reducing their impact on the environment. But what are the other perks? Are there any downsides? In this blog, we have attempted to present an objective analysis of the pros and cons of investing in solar energy.
Advantages of Solar Energy
Save and Earn Money
Once your home is powered by solar energy you will notice that your electricity bill is smaller each month, primarily because a portion of the energy you are consuming is being taken directly from the sun via your solar panels. If you have large enough solar panels, you may even be generating enough energy to sell it to a third party. In some states, there are also tax incentives available to encourage homeowners to use solar power.
Production of solar energy is clean and safe for the environment, and as the threat of global warming becomes increasingly clear, more and more environmentally conscious homeowners are investing in solar power. Aside from being detrimental to the environment, non-renewable energies will inevitably dwindle, so it’s likely that within one hundred years most homes will be adorned with solar panels.
Increase the Value of Your Home
Energy-efficient homes are in high demand in today’s real estate market. By investing in solar energy, you’re also investing in a home improvement that may pay off down the line if you decide to sell. Houses on the market that already have solar panels installed mean that the new buyers can also instantly start saving on their monthly bills, with the cost of the solar panels likely absorbed by the property value.
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
While in the long-term solar panels may help you save on your monthly energy bill, installation of solar panels can be quite expensive up front. This means it’s not always possible for a homeowner on a tight budget to afford converting to solar power.
If you live in an area that gets very little sunlight, it may not be wise to invest in solar energy. Unfortunately, most areas will occasionally have cloudy days, and if you happen to have several in a row, this could mean you don’t save as much money on your electricity bill for that month.Ultimately, there are more advantages then disadvantages to investing in solar energy, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everybody. Consider the above points before investing so that you can make an informed decision. If you are looking for a solar power professional or contractor in your area, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. It’s free, quick, and easy.
In some locations, the heat of summer is almost unbearable. And with increasing temperatures worldwide due to global warming, it’s clear the heat won’t be letting up any time soon. In many areas all over the US, families are choosing to remain inside their cool, air-conditioned homes as long as possible. The irony of this is that every home with an over-active air conditioner is contributing to the carbon emissions that are held partially responsible for rising temperatures.
Of course, not every household can afford an air conditioner. This is good for the environment, but not so great for those of us who hate the heat. Here are some tips for keeping your home cool in summer without an air conditioner:
Windows Open; Curtains Closed
When you know it’s going to be a hot day, open your windows and close your blinds or curtains as early in the morning as possible. If there is a breeze, the open windows will allow a cool draft to flow through your house. By closing the blinds/curtains, you prevent the greenhouse effect – i.e. light from the sun super-heating your home. When combined, these tips can dramatically lower your energy bills, and the temperature of your home. The natural air will also help keep your home smelling fresh, and is a nice change from breathing in recycled air from a conditioner.
In today’s market, it’s easy to find fans that are effective at cooling you down while consuming minimal energy. They’re a great way to keep the temperature down inside without resorting to using an air conditioner, and if you’re strategic about their placement, you can create a wind tunnel that feels similar to a natural breeze. By placing a bowl of ice in front of the fan, you can also cool the air that’s being fanned.
For some people, trying to sleep in the heat is nearly impossible. If this is you, it’s important to ensure you are using sheets that won’t retain heat and will keep your body temperature as low as possible while you sleep. Cotton sheets are the best choice. Using pillows with buckwheat hulls won't hold heat as much as normal pillows, so they are also great way to keep your bed (and body) cool.
It probably goes without saying, but using your oven on a hot day will make your entire home feel like a sauna. Using your grill instead is a great way to ensure your home can stay as cool as possible – by setting up outside under some shade, you can also take full advantage of any cool summer breezes that happen to blow your way.
Ultimately, there are numerous things you can do to help keep cool during summer – the most important thing to remember is to focus on lowering your body temperature, rather than the temperature inside your home. It’s much easier to change your body temperature, and it is also a more accurate indicator of how you feel.
If you’re looking to hire a HVAC or insulation contractor, or purchase a fan, air conditioner or other product that will keep your home cool, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. EZBZ will connect you with reputable providers in your area within minutes - it's a great way to compare your options and ensure you get a fair price.
Kitchen cabinets do more than just hold your cups, plates, and pasta – they give your kitchen a funky, fresh look. Besides your countertops and appliances, the cabinets really define the appeal of your kitchen. Worn-out and outdated cabinet can ruin the appearance of your kitchen, even when all the other elements are updated in the space. One great way of adding an instant update is by replacing them, but refacing them can also be a great option depending on the budget and condition of your cabinets.
Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets
Refacing involves installation of new drawer fronts and cabinet doors, as well as covering the cabinets' exposed face frames with plastic or wood veneer. The process can take 2 to 4 days depending on kitchen size. All the drawer fronts and doors must be removed when refacing and the old finish roughed up to ready the surface for a new coating. The new coating is either nailed or glued over the old finish to achieve the desired look.
Replacing cabinets can be quite involving and it could take much longer if the ordering and planning of the new cabinets is taken into consideration. Keep in mind that the old cabinets have to be removed and their contents packed away. Although some homeowners can replace the cabinets by themselves, hiring a professional contractor is ideal, since they have the experience in measuring and planning to ensure that your cabinets fit in your kitchen perfectly.
Designing your Cabinets
You typically have 3 options for finish when refacing your cabinets - wood veneer, rigid thermo-foils (RTF), and plastic laminates. You can find laminates in a wide array of colors, although their use is limited to plain cabinet styles due to their rigidity. RTFs can be shaped into a variety of styles as they are made by flexible vinyl foil on medium density fiberboard (MDF). With wood veneer, you can easily get the warm, natural wood look on your cabinets, but you will pay more compared to RTF and laminates.
Replacing your cabinets has expanded options when it comes to cabinet designs, depending on your kitchen size, home decor, and your budget. You can have your cabinets in a wide variety of colors, sizes, styles, and materials.
When you opt to reface your kitchen cabinets, you will notice that it is considerably cheaper than replacing them. Depending on the materials you want and the size of your kitchen, you can save almost half of what you would have spent replacing them, even at the high cost range. Replacing your cabinets includes several hidden costs that must be accounted for in a full remodel. For instance, you need to add the costs of molding, door handles, trim, and delivery charges. Moreover, any walls that were damaged or left exposed after the replacement need to be refinished, which adds on to the total cost.
A few decades ago, most kitchen cabinets were custom-made with high quality solid wood, constructed in place with excellent construction. The actual construction materials of the cabinets - including the sides, shelves, and surfaces - were stronger and more durable compared to new assembly line made cabinets. They might tend to look great in the store, but don't hold up as well for daily use.
Despite the several benefits of refacing over replacing your cabinets, sometimes refacing may not be ideal. If your entire kitchen cabinetry was constructed and painted before 1978, the paint is likely to have lead on it. Disturbing or sanding this paint could lead to lead permeating your kitchen if it is not done properly. Although a professional who understands lead abatement can reface the cabinetry effectively, replacing it is the only way to be sure.
Limited Modification Options
Some older houses might have sagging or bowing cabinetry if they were not designed or built well in the first place. Refacing won't fix bad design or poor construction. In such cases, replacing your cabinetry is the best option.
You now have the pros and cons and it is up to you to make an informed decision to begin building your dream kitchen.D. More is a home improvement specialist and successful business owner. Check out his site, HouseRemodelingCenter.com for the best in home remodeling.
To get connected with a kitchen cabinet professional or contractor in your area, consider submitting a request through EZBZ. It's free, and takes just thirty seconds.
Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Make sure you’re prepared. Remodeling can be a risky and costly process, so it’s important to feel informed and ready. Click here for some tips on how to prepare.
When looking to increase the value of their property, many homeowners choose to remodel their kitchen. A fully renovated kitchen can improve the day-to-day functionality of your home, and can improve the overall aesthetic. A modern kitchen can help instill a fresh, clean atmosphere for your entire home.
Of course, any home renovation comes with its list of potential risks. Ensuring your kitchen remodel is not expensive or botched can be a grueling process. Here are some guidelines to help you feel prepared and informed about remodeling your kitchen:
Build Your Budget First
While this may seem obvious, it’s important to do more than just save a few thousand dollars. Take the time to research different price points for each material you plan to use. Whether you are performing a repair on a preexisting surface, or building out new structures, it is essential that you understand the potential total cost. Use this time to decide if you are willing to splurge on the materials that you really want, and if you’re willing to cut costs for less important decisions. Make sure you to compare quotes when working with contractors and material providers.
A large portion of the total cost of home renovation comes from labor fees. While contractors are a worthwhile investment, you may be able to save on the cost by handling some of the work yourself. If you’re good with your hands, laying tile and painting can be easy and even fun jobs to do with a friend or family member. Of course, it’s also important not to attempt work that you are not qualified or prepared to do. A licensed contractor should always be hired when doing electrical, structural, or foundation work. While it may seem expensive to hire a professional, hiring a contractor can help you save in the long-term by reducing damage or repair costs.
Don’t Forget the Small Things
If your kitchen remodel is stressing you out, it’s easy to forget some of the small, yet integral, aspects of the renovation. When installing a new, high-end stove, ensure it has proper ventilation and exhaust. If you’re changing the landscape of your kitchen, the lighting will probably need to be upgraded as well. Planning ahead and ensuring you’re financially prepared for any setbacks mean that you can minimize worry and stress, and think things through clearly and sensibly.
Start From Scratch
If you’re planning on remodeling your kitchen, many contractors will recommend that you gut your current kitchen and start from scratch. This advice isn’t just so you’ll pay them for more work – it’s actually a logical decision. If your kitchen is old, there is a chance that there are problems with the electrical wiring, plumbing, or foundation – issues that may not necessarily be in plain sight. Tearing your kitchen apart and starting from scratch is a great way to make sure there aren’t any urgent issues with the internal framework of your kitchen that could be very costly later on. Why risk having to tear apart your brand new kitchen in six months because of mold or a burst pipe, when you could address and prevent these issues at the start of your renovation?
Ultimately, it’s easy to have a successful and affordable kitchen remodel provided you put in the time to research and brainstorm all the potential costs and risks. EZBZ is a great tool for homeowners who are considering a renovation. Simply visit www.myezbz.com/category/kitchen-remodeling, and submit a request for anything you need. It’s a great way to compare quotes for contractors, materials, even appliances for your completed kitchen. EZBZ is determined to help homeowners have the kitchen of their dreams, as quickly and affordably as possible.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, a well-kept garden can also help you feel more relaxed and at peace. One of the secrets of keeping a healthy, green garden is a good mulch. Mulch is a layer of material placed in your garden to help promote healthy growth. While most mulch is organic, there are also artificial options available.
Some gardeners make the mistake of using white wood chips as a mulch – these chips absorb nitrogen from the soil, starving your garden. Several good organic mulches include manure, bark and compost. As the mulch breaks down it improves soil structure, breaks down sticky clay, increases the soils ability to hold nutrients and water, and improves the aeration of soil for plant roots. In gardens that have consistently used a compost mulch, you will notice strong plant growth and earthworms – symptoms of a healthy garden. Organic mulches will decompose slowly, and should be replaced once a year.
Inorganic mulch can also be used to help your garden – they provide a protective sheet that stops weeds from sprouting through the soil, but still permits water to soak in and hydrate the plants. In addition to stopping weeds, however, it can also prevent the growth of some plants. Be sure to avoid using a plastic sheet on your garden – this will stop rain from reaching the roots of your plants and flowers, and the soil will suffocate.
It is a good idea to rake and remove old mulch from your garden bed, before introducing new mulch. The mulch should be two-four inches away from the plant stem or tree trunk, and watered regularly. Water will sink below the mulch and be soaked up by the soil. Ensure you also only ever lay mulch on soil that is moist, not frozen or waterlogged.
Mulch is a great landscaping asset, even if you’re not interested in gardening. Mulches like pine straw can be placed on soil patches to not only help them look neat, but also prevent the growth of unwanted weeds. Mulch doesn’t always smell fresh, but it’s a great way to boost the health of your garden and trees, and in doing so, improve the air quality of your yard. A healthy garden will also attract wildlife such as bees, that are vital to our ecosystem.If you’re interested in finding a local mulch provider, submit a request through EZBZ here: www.myezbz.com/category/mulching. EZBZ will instantly send your request to local landscaping and garden services that can help you mulch your garden, who will reply in minutes with their information, availability and prices. It’s free, quick, and easy.
Many homeowners consider their deck to be the best feature of their home. However, decks are also constantly subjected to weather, wildlife and leaf litter that can have detrimental effects. Here are some tips for maintenance that will help ensure the longevity of your deck.
As an external feature of your home, your deck is constantly exposed to the elements. Harsh weather conditions, wildlife, and leaf litter can all have detrimental effects on your deck, so it is is imperative to take measures towards its cleaning and maintenance. There are contractors that specialize in this work, but you can also attempt to do it yourself.
Regular cleaning is very important. A soapy water solution will work fine for general cleaning. If your deck need a thorough cleaning to remove mildew and stains, there are cleaning agents available that are specially designed for decks. These products are designed to safely clean the wood without bleaching or warping. They are available in most hardware stores, and can also be purchased directly from some deck contractors.
When using the cleaning agents, it is important to wear gloves as you scrub and rinse your deck. A pump up sprayer can be used to apply the agent. A scrub brush can then be used to scrub the deck, and a garden hose can be used to rinse. Allow a few minutes between the scrubbing and the rinsing. It is advisable to avoid using pressure washers when cleaning a deck, as the water may penetrate the wood and cause it to rot.
You should take note to remove any leaves or natural debris on your deck. Organic matter can collect moisture, causing the wood to rot. Clean all dirt, grime, and any other debris that may stain the deck or cause the wood to rot. There are tools that are specifically tailored for the use of removing dirt and debris between the floor panels without damaging them.
To prevent direct contact between the deck and any surrounding bushes or plants, some basic trimming may be necessary. This will also help avoid the collection of moisture on the deck that could lead to wood rot.
A sealer or stain can be applied on the deck after the washing. This should be preferably done when outdoor temperatures are a little lower to avoid the stain from quickly drying up. The finish needs to be absorbed into the wood and will help protect it from the elements. It’s also advisable to check on the nails and screws of your deck, and to tighten any that may be loose. A sander can be used to even up any raised boards.Regular cleaning and maintenance of your deck is very important for homeowners, and even renters, as it can extend the longevity of the deck and help avoid costly repairs. The online concierge service, EZBZ, can instantly connect you with deck contractors and cleaning product providers. Simply go to www.myezbz.com/category/deck-cleaning-treatment and submit a free request.
Riding a bike is not only an easy and convenient way to travel, it’s also a lot of fun, and a great form of exercise. Bikes are also incredibly eco-friendly, as they allow you to travel with zero emissions and little to no carbon footprint. Of course, just like any other vehicle, a bicycle does require repair and maintenance, in order to ensure complete functionality and safety. Here are some tips for ensuring your bike will last for years:
Regular cleaning is important for maintaining a bicycle’s longevity. When dirt and grime settle on the bike, the frame is at risk of corrosion. Wash the bike gently using soapy water, rather than a hose. A soft nylon brush can be used to scrub the parts that have accumulated dust or dirt. Make sure to rinse the bicycle well after washing it.
Tire pressure is an important part of making sure your bike is safe to use. Tires with high pressure are at risk of exploding – which could have disastrous results if you’re in the middle of a ride. Similarly, low pressure can put more stress on your muscles because you need to work harder to keep the bike in motion. Always check your tire pressure before going on a ride, and not only will you be safer, your tires will have a longer life.
If you notice your bicycle has boken spokes, it’s important to have them repaired as soon as possible. They are responsible for transferring weight from the hub of the bicycle to its wheel, so they are vital for having a safe ride.
Lubrication reduces friction in the bicycle chain and will help prevent it from slipping off the crank. High friction can also cause the chain to break. There are a range of different brands and types of bicycle lubrication – Humidity, dryness and cold conditions can also affect your bicycle adversely, so make sure you choose the right type for your bicycle, and the climate of your area.
It’s important that your seat is at the right height. Sitting at the wrong height on your bike can cause back aches, knee pain, and other health problems. To determine your correct seat height, multiply the length of your inner leg by 0.887. The result is what the length between your seat and the top of the bicycle bracket should be.
If you would like to find a local bicycle repair or service store, consider submitting a request through www.myezbz.com/category/bicycle-repair. It will instantly send your request to the local bike repair and service stores in your area, who will reply to you directly with their information and estimates. It’s the fastest, easiest, way to find any product or service in the United States and Canada.
Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to have you bike serviced 2-4 times a year, and have any issues you identify repaired immediately. A bicycle deserves as much attention as any other vehicle to ensure that it can work properly and safely.
Spring is finally on its way, and with it, warmth and sunshine. Almost everything is nicer in spring. The sun is shining, the birds are whistling, the flowers are blooming… Even the people seem nicer! It’s certainly the best time of year to enjoy the outdoors. A great way to protect yourself from the heat – while still enjoying all that spring has to offer – is by investing in an awning or canopy.
An awning can be attached to the exterior wall of a building, and is a good way to provide additional shade to the perimeter of your home. It’s a great option for homeowners that like to enjoy the outdoors without venturing too far from the house. A retractable awning also allows you to have the best of both worlds. That is, soaking up the sunshine or relaxing in the shade depending on how you feel. An awning can also help you save energy - installing awnings above windows can help prevent heat entering your home, reducing the need for air conditioning or a fan. There are retractable awnings on the market from as little as $500, and some top-shelf brands available for over $2000. Either way, if you’re considering installing an awning, you can probably find one that fits your budget. Concierge services like EZBZ are a great way to compare the options in your local area, and find a company that can install the right awning for the right price.
Canopies are great for providing shade for outdoor events and activities. Canopies can dramatically vary in size, providing shade for anything from a small picnic between friends, to a wedding reception for eighty guests. For this reason, it’s important to consider some things before purchasing a canopy. What size canopy do you need? How difficult is it to assemble? Does it need to be able to endure certain weather conditions?
Of course, research like this is important when purchasing any product, and can easily be done online. Determining your budget, and what you can expect to pay, can be a little more difficult. Just like an awning, a canopy price can vary from several hundred dollars, to several thousand.
EZBZ is a great way to expedite the research process, and find the awning or canopy right for you. All you have to do is go to www.myezbz.com/category/awnings-canopies and submit a free request. Local providers and installation companies will reply to you directly with their information, availability and estimates. It’s a great way to compare your options and find a fair price, while avoiding hours of research and phone calls.
As the sun rays become warmer, the days longer, and the trees begin to blossom, one thing is clear: spring is here. This is the cue to open the windows wide and start the cleaning. After fall and winter, it’s time to give your home some fresh air, and perhaps give it a little bit of a makeover. Whether you are living in an apartment, or a home with garden, here are some general tips to help you prepare your property for a warm & wonderful spring.
Before you start the spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t need any home repairs done. You can start with the basics, such as checking the electrical outlets for potential fire hazards or the water heater for leaks. If you own an air-conditioning system, now is the best time to have it inspected and its filters cleaned, but don’t do this yourself; it’s safer to hire a professional. Another great tip is checking and changing the light bulbs; fluorescent bulbs produce less heat than other types, so they’re recommended for spring and summer.
If you live in a house, it’s important to check the exterior too. Make sure to check your roof – after a season of heavy snow, there could be some damage, which may not be easy to see until after all the snow has melted. Most gardens will also need a little landscaping this time of year – removing the dead vegetation and planting some new flowers will make your garden flourish! Well, at least until winter returns. A new coat of paint on the door or exterior walls can also help to make your house look fresh and homely. Finally, if you’re planning on having some barbecues this spring, it’s a good time to pull out the grill and give it a good clean.
Now, moving back inside the house, it’s a good idea to do an effective, overall cleaning. If your rugs or carpet are stained, the beginning of spring is a great time to have them cleaned, as it’s warm enough outside to open the windows, and moisture from outside won’t be tracked inside nearly as much as in the winter months. With the windows open, it’s probably a good time to have your curtains cleaned as well.
Another reason to clean the house is that spring is a great time for insects to thrive. They love the dirty and dusty crooks and crevices of your home, so a thorough spring cleaning will make sure you don’t gain any unwanted tenants. The heat of spring and summer means it’s also a good idea to take out the garbage more regularly, to keep your home smelling nice and roach-free.These are just some of the tips that you can keep in mind when preparing your home for spring. If you need any assistance when looking for home repairs, landscaping, or cleaning services, www.myezbz.com is a free, online concierge that can connect you with the reputable businesses that can help. It takes thirty seconds to submit a free request, and EZBZ businesses will reply to you directly with their information, availability and estimates.
We all love a home-cooked meal. They are often more nutritious, affordable, and fulfilling than a fast food or take-out option. However, a good home-cooked meal also takes a lot of preparation and timing… Two luxuries most working adults just don’t have. A solution that many people are turning to is hiring a personal chef.
A personal chef is a professional cook hired to come to your home and prepare meals for you. While there may have been a time when only the super-wealthy could afford to hire their own kitchen staff, personal chefs are rapidly becoming the most beneficial and affordable option for adults that are tired of eating take-out, but don’t have the time to prepare and cook their own food.
According to the American Personal and Private Chef Association, a personal chef is typically hired to prepare multiple meals for you at one time – usually enough for a week. So, if you’re thinking of hiring one, make sure you have some freezer space… but that’s where your worries should end.
A personal chef is trained to cook with fresh, healthy ingredients, and produce meals that are highly nutritious, filling, and delicious – right in your own kitchen. Just imagine enjoying the benefits of eating at a restaurant – delicious food, no cooking or cleaning – in the comfort of your own home, and it’s easy to see why so many people are hiring their own chefs. A personal chef will create and customize meals just for you, so they are also better prepared to deal with any dietary requirements (e.g. gluten free, allergies) than a chef in a restaurant would be, who has to work with a set menu and ingredients.
If you don’t have much of a kitchen in your home, there are also personal chef services that you can hire to cook for you off-site. They will then deliver your set of frozen meals straight to your door. Of course, if they are cooking in your own kitchen they are more likely to be able to guarantee freshness, but an offsite personal chef can still provide nutritious, affordable and tasty meals.
Of course, the benefits of hiring a personal chef can be obvious. The biggest question most of us have is, how much?
While the price may vary from chef to chef, it can be more affordable than you think. Liza Graves, a mom-blogger based in Nashville, hired a personal chef for her family and was surprised just how many benefits she received for the price. You can read about Liza’s experience here, but her personal chef would prepare 3-4 mouth-watering meals a week for $225 (her Chefs rate was $45 per hour). Considering that was enough to feed a family of five for four nights a week (with leftovers), that’s a pretty good deal.If you’d like to compare quotes from the personal chefs in your area, consider submitting a free request on www.myezbz.com/category/personal-chefs. EZBZ will send your request to the personal chefs close to you, who will reply with their information, availability and price rates.
While it has always been customary to travel in a luxury vehicle to important events - a limousine to your prom, a classic car to your wedding – these days, the event often is the vehicle. There are increasingly more extravagant options that are trending with party-goers across the country. If you’re considering taking a party on the road, here are some of your options:
Party buses have had an interesting evolution in recent years. I still remember the bus my parents hired six years ago for my brother’s 21st birthday party to take him and his friends on his first bar crawl. It wasn’t designed to host a party – it was an old school bus - but that didn’t stop them from celebrating for the entire drive.
These days, you can hire buses better suited for celebration. Party buses often have a luxury interior with leather couches, champagne holsters, and large flat screen TVs. Not to mention they often have their own bathroom, which is a necessity for any party, even one on wheels.
A Humvee or Hummer is a brand of SUV truck that has been around since the early 1990s. They are renowned for their large cubic frames and modern design. There is also a range of Hummer limousines that are catered for transportation of parties of 10-15 people. These vehicles often have luxury interiors that include disco lighting, leather seating, and a heavy duty sound system. As a larger vehicle with an industrious design, they feel safer than your average stretch limousine, and are quickly becoming the first choice for younger generations looking to arrive at their prom in style.
Luxury Car or Traditional Limousine
For smaller parties, it’s hard to go wrong with the more traditional choice of a luxury car or limousine. You may not be able to watch TV with thirteen of your closest friends in the back of a 1935 Cadillac, but it’s hard not to feel suave as you sip champagne with your significant other in the back seat of a classic car. There is a beautiful, vintage design to these vehicles that the more recent alternatives – like the Hummer – seem to lack, and that’s why this option is the original, and the best.
If you’re looking for a luxury or extravagant vehicle to take you to your next event, consider submitting a request on www.myezbz.com/category/party-vehicles. EZBZ is the fastest and easiest way to see the party vehicle options in your area, and help your party on wheels take off.
There is a common misconception that yoga is only for women in their mid-late twenties. This is just as false as the stereotype of the typical yoga-lover – a hyper-spiritual hipster obsessed with coconut water.
For the majority of people that do yoga – made up of men, women, and children - it really is just exercise; a fun, calming, and effective way to keep your body fit and healthy. It can also have positive effects for your mental health – just like any exercise, yoga triggers a release of endorphins inside the brain.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to be put off by the culture commonly associated with yoga, and many don’t realize that there are classes catered specifically to them. I’ve detailed below some of the yoga options for everyone in your family.
Yoga for Kids
The benefits of yoga to children are so numerous that many schools now offer it as a form of physical education. It’s easy to see why – unlike other forms of exercise you may find in the school yard, it is non-contact, non-competitive, and a great way to relieve stress. Children often suffer from anxiety and stress at school, and this could be exacerbated by sports that are competitive or physical in nature. Yoga’s calming, meditative qualities means it can help kids relax and stay healthy, which isn’t exactly a perk you get from football.
Yoga for Men
Yoga has a long and rich history, although only recently has it been primarily associated with women. In fact, it’s more common for men to practice yoga in India, where it originated. Convincing a modern man to take up yoga really shouldn’t be that difficult; it has proven to be effective at keeping you fit, improving your sex life, and relieving stress. If there’s any man in your life not sold by those points, send him this article from Men’s Fitness that details 9 reasons why he should reconsider yoga.
Yoga for Seniors
For many people over sixty, sports and exercise become nothing more than a memory. With an increased risk of falling over and injuring themselves, seniors can be hesitant to try anything other than walking to get exercise. Yoga is a great alternative for seniors who would like to keep their bodies fit without putting themselves at too much risk. You don’t need to be able to twist yourself like a piece of rubber to do yoga, although it will improve your flexibility. By keeping fit as you age, you give your body a fighting chance at staying healthy.
There are also plenty of yoga options for women, particularly mothers, in any stage of life, such as prenatal yoga, postnatal yoga, mommy and me yoga… The list goes on! Check out www.myezbz.com/category/yoga-classes to find out about the local options for you, and your family.
A pet can often be as loved and cherished as a member of the family. However, unlike a human member of the family, it is not always possible to take them with you when you leave the house or go on vacation. And while most working parents have the option of parental leave to care for their children, there are few employers that would allow you to stop working to look after your pet.
Pet sitters are a great way for you to provide the care your pet needs, without disrupting your lifestyle. Like a baby sitter can care for your children when you aren’t able to, a pet sitter will do the same for your dog, cat or other animal. This could just involve feeding, walking, or playing with them, but if you’re away on vacation, you may also want to find a sitter that can stay in your home so your pet, and your property, will be secure 24/7.
April Martinez, a pet sitter living in New York City, says that she started pet sitting to help out clients she met through her job in a veterinary hospital in Brooklyn.
“NYC has a huge pet culture and also people here love to go on vacation,” April said, when asked about why she became a pet sitter.
April charges $25 a visit, or $35 for an overnight stay. However, if the pet requires medication or special care, she says her rate will typically increase. These rates are also only standard for New York, a city famous for its higher prices. In Texas, some sitters charge as little as $10 a day to visit your pet.
“It’s a super easy job. Going in to a nice apartment and feeding someone’s cat takes five minutes,” April said. She also said it was great spending time with pets that she didn’t have to commit to full time.
“It’s like owning a pet without having to pay for them or having the responsibility of keeping them for fifteen years.”
However, April said the job also has its downsides. Some pets she has cared for have been aggressive, and it’s never easy trying to medicate a pet.
“Benefits to the pet owner are definitely that you have more control over how your pet is cared for while you’re away. You know where the pet is at all times - they are comfortable in their own home,” April said on why owners should consider hiring a sitter rather than leaving their pet at a boarding or kennel service.
“It is also a plus for them because if you’re house sitting you can collect their mail.”
If you would like to hire a pet sitter, consider submitting a request to EZBZ today. Local pet sitters in your area will receive your request and reply to you directly with their information, availability and rates.
For women of color that use a hair relaxer, the prospect of cutting off hair that you’ve committed a lot of time and money to can be frightening. A relaxer is a type of cream generally used by people with tight, curly hair that makes it easier to straighten by chemically “relaxing” the natural curls. It’s not just that the multiple years and money you’ve poured into your hair have suddenly gone to waste, but rather, questions like, “what’s next?” What will I do with my hair now?” “What will the texture be?” that scare any woman contemplating natural hair.
At least, these were my thoughts whenever I thought about going natural. I’d never really had natural hair before because, like so many women of color, I had been having monthly relaxer treatment since before I could remember. I depended on relaxers so much so that, whenever I’d hit my monthly mark, or my edges weren’t laid to perfection, I’d go running to the nearest beauty salon.
It took a consultation with the right hair stylist – who specialized in natural hair and had beautiful, natural hair herself – before I was 100% comfortable with cutting off my hair. I will never forget the first time I walked outside with my new look, feeling equal parts nervous and liberated. It was refreshing knowing that I no longer had to depend on relaxers, but I was scared about how those in my personal and professional life may react.
The reality is, not everyone is going to support the decisions you make with your own body, especially if it is not what is expected or assumed. Hair plays a vital role in the culture of people of color, especially for women, and because of this it can be a sensitive topic to approach.
Throughout history, people of color have been discriminated against for all aspects of their appearance, including hair. The repercussions of this can still be seen in modern day society - women of color are still conditioned to hide their natural hair, even receiving pressure from within our own community.
I was grateful that, for the most part, I received positive reactions to my natural hair. There were some who did not understand, or had questions about the process, which I was more than happy to answer.
I noticed some of the other positives of natural hair almost instantly, like the money I saved from no longer having to pay for the monthly relaxer treatment – the average salon charges approximately $40 for this. I also can’t count the number of times other women with natural hair have approached me for a chat about how we maintain our hair and the products we’ve tried, loved and hated. I found myself noticing women that had natural hair more often. I even unexpectedly joined a supportive, loving network of women with natural hair. It’s been six months since I went natural, and I don’t regret a thing!Going natural is just like any other decision you make about your body, such as losing weight or starting to work out. It takes time, and more so, lots of patience. You need to learn about your hair type, and the shampoos, conditioners and other products that will work best for it. In my personal experience, having a natural hair stylist to answer my questions and help me begin my journey was the best decision I made, and this is reflected in my beautiful, natural hair.
To find and connect with the local hair stylist that's right for you, submit a request to EZBZ today.
Innovations in technology are constantly being released that make life easier. Sometimes, these innovations can simply be optimizations of tools we already had. The optimization process of an existing technology often results in it receiving the new, permanent adjective: ‘smart’. That’s why today we have smartphones, smart TV’s, and now, smart thermostats.
A smart thermostat has the same functions as a normal thermostat – allowing users to control their household heating and air conditioning – with the added functionality of being able to be remotely adjusted by any device connected to the Internet. That means that users can change the temperature of their homes with their smartphone, even if they’re not actually in the house.
It is easy to see why a smart thermostat can benefit any home. The remote controllability would allow you to heat your household in advance during winter, so you could leave work and head straight to an already warm home. And this is just a basic feature of most smart thermostats.
There are now smart thermostats in the market that will learn what your ideal settings are at any given time, such as when you’re asleep, at work, or when you’re waking up in the morning. Thermostats like this are designed to save you money on your heating bill, while keeping your house at the appropriate temperature 24/7. The market leader is the Nest Learning Thermostat, available from Amazon for around $250.
Another popular brand (that’s a little cheaper than the Nest), is the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, which has a bright LCD screen that keeps you up to date on changes in the local climate, and displays the indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity. It is also programmed to learn from your habits, and warn you about extreme temperature changes.
Of course, other than saving you time and money, smart thermostats are also a great way for your household to become more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. With the ability to program their thermostat and adjust it remotely, it is possible for users to minimize unnecessary energy consumption. However, studies have also revealed that in order for a smart thermostat to save money and energy, it is still heavily dependent on the user’s active programming and controlling… At least until it learns how to do it by itself.
Investing in a smart thermostat is just one way you can save time, money, and the environment moving forward. However, until we (inevitably) create artificial intelligence, even a ‘smart’ thermostat is susceptible to human error.
The mega machine that is Apple released its iPhone 6S, to an audience of mixed reviews. While it has been selling like hot cakes, some users ran into issues with the glass, having to coordinate repairs almost instantly after purchase. If your iPhone needs repair or replacement it’s worth glancing at the pros and cons of any device you want to purchase. If you are skeptical and confused and unsure of which operating platform is better for you, Android or iPhone, take time to weigh the risks and benefits before making your final decision. In this writer’s opinion, there are bunch of reasons why Android devices are much better than iPhones. I’ll break them down here as a bit of food for thought.
Limited Storage: when you buy an iPhone you are stuck with the storage space you selected at the time of purchase. Whereas with Android phones, a microSD card slot enables you to add more storage space as needed.
Battery replacement: The battery of Android phones can easily be removed or replaced if it starts losing charge too rapidly. But this is not the case with iPhone, they require a service appointment or total phone replacement which can be quite costly.
Infrared blasters: Android phones like HTC, Galaxy S5 extra have infrared blasters enabling them to be used as remote controls. This feature is non-existent in iPhones.
Easy access to files: Android devices make it easy to drag and drop files from the device to your computer. Whereas iPhone does not provide this easy access to all files.
Music and Photos: iPhone requires iTunes if you want to listen to music and iPhoto to view photos. Android does not set fixed requirements for where your music and images must come from.
Phone Charging: The iPhone requires a special cable for recharging and Appple has already changed this cable once, making older cables obsolete. Who is to say they wont make this change again? Android devices on the other hand can be recharged with any micro-USB cable.
Download Apps: Android devices enable you to download apps from Google Play, Amazon and other platforms. Whereas with iPhones you are only able to download from their App Store.
Security: Most Android devices have several unlocking systems like patterns or face locks whereas iPhone can be unlocked with password or fingerprints.
Emojis: In my humble opinion, Android emojis are far cuter than Apple emojis
Apps are better looking: Apple has the advantage of design when it comes to their apps. The most commonly used apps are available on both platforms but in my opinion, iPhone apps are better looking than Android.
Quick updates: iPhone provides quick and faster updates whereas Android devices take months to update their devices.
Apple works with all Apple Devices: information can be smoothly transferred from one Apple device to another. iPhone, iPad, MAC etc can be synchronized and task started on one device can be completed on another.
Siri works better: Siri is the best companion, it works much faster than Google.
In a nutshell both Android and iPhone both have their pros and cons. You must do a bit of research and depending on the usage, you can select any one. Both devices are good and latest in the market with their own disadvantages and advantages. Weight each one individually and decide which device is better for you - iPhone or Android.
Celiac disease is a serious medical condition that can have long-term medical complications if sufferers do not maintain a strict, gluten free diet. While it is often referred to as a gluten allergy or intolerance, it is actually an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. It is reported that 1 in 100 people suffer from the disease worldwide.
Gluten sensitivity is a condition with similar symptoms to celiac disease – including abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea – when sufferers have gluten in their diet. Unlike celiacs, however, sufferers of gluten sensitivity do not experience the small intestine damage that celiacs face. Gluten sensitivity is a topic of controversy amongst medical professionals, with many arguing that the condition is, in fact, not real. Of course, the legitimacy of gluten sensitivity is just one symptom of the curious case of gluten disorders in the United States.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye, and as a result, is prevalent in food and drink such as bread, beer, pasta, cereal, sauces, dressings and soup. For this reason, it is easy to see why it was quite difficult to maintain a strict, gluten free diet… Until recently.
Despite the fact that celiac disease only affects up to 1% of the population, it is now estimated that nearly 30% of the U.S. population actively try to avoid gluten. There are now successful, Michelin-star restaurants with entirely gluten free menus, and many products in the grocery store aisle proudly display a “gluten free” sticker. Tolerance of gluten intolerance has become the latest trend of the food industry, and has brought with it a multi-billion dollar market.
Gluten free has become synonymous with healthy and organic, and has helped inspire other non-grain diets, such as the paleo diet. The paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of early humans, including seafood, fruit and vegetables, and avoiding meat, grains and dairy. It has become very popular with naturalistic communities, and some swear by it as the healthiest diet they’ve ever had. Other, more legitimate healthcare professionals, are skeptical of such primal-eating trends.
Ultimately, though, it seems like a good thing that gluten free products are now more readily available, if only for the benefit of legitimate sufferers of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. There are plenty of medical conditions that could benefit from the same, widespread awareness. While some of the diets and trends associated with gluten disorders border on ridiculous, they do show that society is increasingly taking an interest in health and wellbeing, and that is positive sign.
If you’re trying to locate a source of gluten free produce, inquire with free, online concierge service EZBZ today, to see what gluten free options are available locally to you.
There are still even more options for childcare to what I provided, including family support, before and after school programs provided by lcoal school districts, community clubs and groups, employer sponsored programs, etc. The important thing to consider is what amount of time and support you need and explore options from there. If you need any assistance you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com/moms
You don’t have to be a top chef to have a well-designed kitchen. With today’s growing foodie demographic and more consumers worried about increasing allergy and food safety concerns the kitchen is once again becoming a well-used room in the home. Whether you’re a new cook or seasoned chef you have a few things to consider when designing your dream kitchen to avoid throwing your whisk in defeat and running to your stack of menus for satiety.
First, take a few minutes and think of how you use your kitchen. Do you rush home in the evening itching to wear your apron and increase your knife and sauté skills or are you running out of storage for all the reusable take out containers. A kitchen remodel can get pretty pricey if you are only basing it on a vision rather than its actual use. To a chef size does matter, if you will be bumping elbows with one or several sous chef you may want to reconsider that island.
Now that you’ve determined your kitchen needs, pick a budget and stick to it. The bigger the remodel the bigger the bite to your savings. Aesthetics matter just as much as the appliances so consider the cost of paint, flooring, a back splash and lighting as well. You may need to upgrade your electrical, plumbing, insulation and windows especially when renovating an older home or adding fun kitchen gadgets. Always make sure you keep emergency funds for anything that may pop up.
Depending on your budget you have a pretty wide range of appliances to choose from. You have your essential refrigerator and oven, your useful microwave and dishwasher and a long list of kitchen gadgets, always a great addition to any kitchen, such as slow cookers and electric pressure cookers. There are many stylish appliances that won’t break the bank, just refer to your budget to determine how much you can spend.
Make sure your kitchen has enough storage by adding cabinets, shelves or better yet a pantry. Cluttered counters are enough to irritate the most patient of home cooks. For better accessibility you can add drawers and Lazy Susans.
Windows and skylights placed appropriately are a cost effective way to bring more light into your kitchen. Nothing brings out your dishes like natural light. In case of nightfall remember to invest appropriate lighting. Because of the cabinets and appliances a kitchen may be enveloped with shadows, this is why it’s great to invest in different forms of lighting such as under cabinet lighting, island lighting and cook-top lighting.
Now that you’ve got all your ducks in a row it’s time to hire a professional to take care of the remodel. You might find the perfect contractor after your first interview but it’s generally recommended that you interview 3-4. Show them the kitchen, your list of needs and budget. Get all costs itemized and in writing, agree on a down payment. Visit an existing work site and get the names of suppliers and a few references. You can also ask family and friends who’ve had a recent kitchen remodel about their experience with their General Contractor. Take a look at the finished product and get as much detail on the before and after.
Should you need assistance finding the right contractor, simply EZBZ it by going to www.myezbz.com and posting a request.
There is never really a situation that can compare to the frustration one experiences when their car suffers significant water damage. Whether the car has been caught in flood waters or experienced flooding due to a faulty equipment or windows left ajar doesn’t really matter. Once the damage is done it’s a matter of severity and whether or not it can be repairs within any reasonable budget.
With the majority of car systems relying upon electronics, a flooded automobile converts an otherwise useful machine into a piece of junk, unless expediently repaired. Perhaps hardest for some people to grasp is the fact that a flooded vehicle isn’t simply a matter of letting the water dry out and then getting a thorough detailing. Often times, it requires a partial or full dismantle of the car’s interior and replacement of many damaged components.
There are automotive professionals who specialize in water damage repair. Typically it’s a person or team who is capable of mechanical repairs as well as interior related ones. Often times it is an auto body shop who is skilled at pulling door panels, dashboards, etc. apart to repair the damage done by a typical accident. With the proper trained specialist you are assured of getting your car back to an optimum state. They know what to do in cases where a car has been hydro-locked; attend to issues dealing with transmission and engine fluids that have been flooded; and get electronics systems back in great working order. Of course, they will also attend to the numerous cosmetic repairs that arise.
The amount of time it will take to repair a water damaged vehicle depends heavily on the amount of damage the vehicle suffered. Items such as dealing with rust, mold, mildew and the likes in the car interior and exterior take time. At the very least the process of removing the seats, carpeting and manually drying out the parts bit by bit is extremely time consuming and enough to make anyone frustrated. Add to this the need to assess and repair mechanical issues and you and imagine the time such a restoration wll take. Often the action of draining, flushing and refilling of systems in order to test their integrity can take a day or more and that’s not even doing the repair or assessing any secondary damage. Patience when dealing with this type of repair is key!
The cold air that comes along with winter is another issue that affects senior citizens. The freezing temperatures create conditions that make it difficult to take in deep breaths. They also further challenge already limited mobility. With cold air comes icy door steps, road ways and sidewalks increasing the risk of falling. When someone who is older falls they are at a greater risk for serious injury over someone much younger. Our bones become more brittle and prone to breaks and sprains as we age.
When it comes to the population of seniors amongst us, now we are aware their nature is one of a more independent nature. This can be seen with the increase in the number of seniors choosing to age in place. This is where many winter-related problems stem from when it comes to the elderly.
Despite the number of warnings shared with the aging population many still attempt to continue providing their snow removal services. They continue to shovel, salt and snow blow on their own as they have an overwhelming fear of entrapment as well as a fear that is not continuing to do these so called normal tasks makes them appear fragile and weak. Another reason may be because of issues that arise from living within a fixed budget.
If you know anyone that falls into this category that remains either too stubborn to ask for help or financially unable there are a few things that you can do to help.
Of course, if you are able bodied consider shoveling their driveway and sidewalks for them. If it is a loved one you are concerned about that lives too far for you to travel call upon their neighbors to ask for assistance. Sometimes the people around them are afraid to insult them by offering to help or are unaware a need is prevalent. Another option is to call upon a local snow removal company that services others within the community in which a loved one life and asked them what type of services they can offer within a limited budget. It will shock you how many snow removal companies will clear the sidewalks and walk ways a bit more carefully when they know the service is being provided for an elderly citizen.
In the winter months, it is so important that we take extra good care of our loved ones that are aging. Snow removal, side walk shoveling, ice removal and laying down an extra layer of salt are ways we can all chip in to help create a safer environment for senior citizens.
Babies are naturally curious and they grow fast in the first year. They learn about the world around them through tasting, touching and feeling. On average, babies start crawling at 8 months, meaning that the baby can move from here to there in a blink of an eye. Keeping your baby from accidents is no easy task. Chances are your baby will spend time around your living room, nursery, kitchen and other places that could pose a threat to your child’s safety. Baby-proofing your home inside and out is one of the most significant steps towards keeping your baby safe. It gives you peace of mind that risks are minimal even when you leave the child with grandparents or babysitters who may not be fully up-to-date or familiar with safety risks. Within this article I’ll point out a number of things to keep in mind when baby proofing your home.
The items you need to be conscious about are those that pose a potential risk to your baby. This list is long! It should include: sharp edged furniture; electrical outlets; cords; appliances; exercise equipment; doors, including locks and knobs; flat panel televisions; fireplaces, glass; baths; toilets; swimming pool; stairs; cabinets; closets; bookcases; medicine; toiletries; detergents; animals and rubbish bins among other items.
As a parent you may not be aware of all safety hazards. For this reason it is often beneficial to hire a professional to baby-proof your home. You may be shocked at how many things you didn’t think were potential threats to your child! Baby-proofing professionals are trained to spot dangers that don’t occur to most people. They also have access to safety equipment difficult to find locally in stores. Hiring a professional child proofer provides comfort and peace of mind. He/she will also offer you and your family educational safety tips.
When hiring a child proofer, ensure that the company is experienced and reputable. Though price should not be the first consideration, ensure that company will do the job at a fair price. They should also present as highly aware of the latest safety hazards and the solutions. Once you hire a baby proofer, ensure that they properly inspect all areas of your home for potential hazards. Then with your approval, they will order and install the necessary safety supplies.
Some examples of the common safety measures they will implement will include:
- Adding padding to sharp edges and corners of furniture and ledges
- Installing safety gates at the bottom and top of staircases
- Installing safety latches on cabinets, drawers, closets, and toilets.
- Putting up additional fencing, including a swimming pool safety fence
- Installing doorstops to protects a baby from getting caught
- Mounting or securing flat panel televisions to prevent tipping.
- Removing all accessible cords from the baby’s reach
- Installing safety guards on windows
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors
- Adding bins with childproof lids for storage of potentially hazardous items
- Putting covers over bath taps.
If you need help finding a childproofing specialist you can submit a request free request for assistance through EZBZ.
Water damage repair should be started as soon as possible as it might not be possible to repair or fix certain objects if too much time is taken. Water damage can cause growth of mold in the house if the house is not dried properly within 48 hours. Water can damage furniture, documents, carpets, walls, woodwork, basement and more. Being aware of the cause of damage can help you deal with water damage repair better.
Water damage repair should be started as soon as possible as it might not be possible to repair or fix certain objects if too much time is taken. Water damage can cause growth of mold in the house if the house is not dried properly within 48 hours. Water can damage furniture, documents, carpets, walls, woodwork, basement and more. Being aware of the cause of damage can help you deal with water damage repair better.
Water damage can be caused due to floods, water leakage through pipes or a burst pipe. A house can suffer water damage because of improper maintenance, faulty construction or humidity and moisture level of your house. Water damage commonly found in houses usually include:
Collection of moisture on the inside of the exterior wall, this moisture could weaken the wall and cause mold at a later date. This usually happens in cold weather and lack of enough insulation. For its water damage repair, you would need to insulate the inside of the exterior wall by putting up a vapor barrier to prevent collection of moisture.
Plaster erosion or sheet-rock erosion could be caused by rain, leak, plumbing or lack of vapor barrier. In this case the leakage area must be fixed and an insulation-material should be installed to the inner surface of the outside wall as water damage repair.
Wet foundation walls caused due to high humidity level in the basement or when the foundation is not damp-proof or waterproof. A dehumidifier must be installed and the foundation should be made damp-proof.
Wallpaper peeling in rooms are usually caused by high humidity. Wallpaper can be prevented from eroding if proper ventilation is provided. Wallpaper peeling is usually found in the bathroom or kitchen because of high humidity. Wallpaper can be simply glued back but in case of formation of mold, fungus or bacteria, you must wash the wallpapers with detergent ammonia and rinse.
Faulty plumbing or a leaky roof can cause windows and doors to rot. Moisture can affect your wood very badly therefore for its water damage repair you need to take immediate action. After fixing the leaky area, the wood must be treated with disinfectants like creosote or cuprinol. The wooden area that has already begun to rot must be repaired with wood fillers.
Mold or fungus on the interior surface of the walls can be found after a flooding. The high moisture content in the air after flooding could lead to high moisture content in air, which again leads to the growth of mold. Water damage repair in such a case would involve reducing relative humidity by installing a dehumidifier, disinfecting the walls and ceilings with proper chemicals before applying paint to the wall.
You can carry out minor water damage repair in the house on your own but in case of major water damage, it is best to seek professional help. You can always submit a free request to EZBZ for water damage repair companies in case you need them.
Modifying homes and making them safer and more accessible allows the elderly to stay independently in their homes during their twilight years. There are a variety of remodeling ideas for aging in place since most homes are not set up well for living independently as we grow older. To successfully age in your own home it must be aligned with both your physical and mental capabilities to ensure safety at all times. Here are important features for a great home prepared for retirement:
House Cleaning Services
A recent survey of people over the age of 75 revealed that 95% of them planned to stay in their homes indefinitely. Although some have little or no trouble performing basic household chores most seniors find such tasks gradually more difficult as they age which increases the likelihood of serious injury. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), each year approximately one in three adults over 65 suffers from a fall related injury each year. Falls are not only the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, but also the leading cause of injury death in adults over the age of 65.
One way to help prevent injuries and provide some relief to seniors living at home is to hire a regular cleaning service to help with chores they are no longer able to do themselves. In addition to helping a senior keep their home clean and improving a senior's quality of life, a house cleaning service also provides seniors an opportunity for social interaction. Often seniors become less able to leave their homes as they get older, leading to loneliness and depression. Regular interaction with others, even occasional visits from a house cleaning service, can help to reduce these feelings of loneliness.
Bedroom and Bathroom Entry Level Access
With growing older, comes a fair share of physical challenges. Therefore, the potential for engaging in activities like sleeping, bathing, and eating on a home's entry level is important to the elderly interested in independent living.
Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen
It's also important to lower the wall and floor cabinets to have easier access and visibility to their contents. It may also be helpful to install pullout shelves. Have an open space beneath the stovetop and the sink to give you an access to these amenities without having a wide gap.
Raised Toilet Seats
A raised toilet seat or addition of a riser or lifter offers a solution if the height of the toilets in the home create a challenge. Risers or lifters can add about three to five inches to your toilet seat's height, making it easier for you to sit down and get up. It can be difficult to realize how important extra height is until you're in need of assistance due to a disability or a temporary injury.
Many injuries happen in the bathroom when an elderly person is trying to navigate a bath or shower. The required physical strength and movement required to navigate standard basins can be underestimated, resulting in falls that can be devastating to a persons health. This can easily be remedied with the installation of a walk-in bathtub.
Doorknobs are best replaced them with lever style door handles as they are easier to turn to open a door. With a lever door handle, only a little downward pressure is necessary to easily unlatch a door. This hardware is especially valuable for persons suffering from reduced strength, movement or arthritis.
Wide Doorways and Hallways
For those who are in, or anticipate needing a wheelchair, it’s best to widen doorways to ensure ease of access. Make sure there is at least 2 inches on each side of a standard wheelchair when entering a doorway or hallway, to ensure there will be enough space for turning around. When looking at a wheelchair's dimensions, also consider the wheels because several wheelchair specifications may pertain to the wheelchair seat's width and not the entire chair.
Home modifications can help ease the physical challenges that senior loved ones may face without turning the home into a clinical setting. By adapting our living environment for aging in place through modifications, it can make our homes safer, more comfortable and user friendly. If you need help with making modifications, you can always submit a free request to find a home modification expert.
People are talking about the tiny house movement. What is it? Is it small houses that are being moved down the street to tiny lots? Is it a political movement? This movement is all about a segment of society that is actively downsizing the spaces they live in to square footage often associated with a studio apartment.
The average size of a tiny house is between 100 square feet and 400 square feet. By comparison, the average size of new houses recently built in the United States was 2,600 square feet. The tiny house movement is not age specific. A compact living space has proven attractive to individuals of all ages, including college graduates, newlyweds, and retirees.
We are living in a society that is still recovering from mortgage upheaval, including the ramifications of predatory lenders, abandoned properties and foreclosures. Many want to own their own home, but with skyrocketing prices or hard to obtain mortgages, many aren’t able to buy or build the house or apartment of their dreams. Others still don’t want to be shackled with the expenses, debt and responsibility that comes with owning the average home. So, some have taken to building a tiny home instead.
Many people have started building these tiny homes on themselves, while others turn to companies and general contractors that specialize in them. The latter options are often preferred given they are better versed in special design and more complicated matters such as plumbing, electricity and insulation.
Tiny homes are not just a living arrangement, they represent an entire social movement which is believed to have originated in 1997, not long after Sarah Susanka published her book The Not So Big House. Today the movement has gained significant ground, with many starting to see the benefits of living small, among them the possibility of a loan free future. The costs of building a tiny house are significantly less than that of a traditional home and many are able to draw the funds from savings they had for a traditional down payment or loans they can pay off in significantly less time than a traditional mortgage. General contractors have assessed the cost of a home under 500 square feet at a maximum of 20,000 dollars. Another advantage is that corresponding utility bills are considerably less, taking into account that tiny homes are a quarter the size of a regular home.
Possible downsides to such a home are that they aren't ideal for families or those who enjoy entertaining. They typically can accommodate a maximum of two people, a couple preferably as the tight space might make it harder for two people who aren't emotionally committed to stand by one another. Regulations are can also be an issue, given some towns will deem the houses too small to be a residential dwelling; some owners have solved this issue by adding wheels to their homes so they might fall into the category of mobile home.
With new housing market trends paving a road toward tiny house living, not everyone feels that bigger is better anymore when it comes to your house. When looking for a house, more and more people are putting "affordable" at the top of their dream home checklist. If tiny home ownership is a path you’d like to pursue, you can always submit a free request to EZBZ to find tiny home builders.
My husband and I live in our family home in historic Virginia. It is an old house and has been in my family for quite some time now, passed down from generation to generation. I inherited it from my aunt who didn’t have any children of her own. We are renovating some parts of the house including the guest bathroom. It is one of the only places in the house that has not been yet been refurbished. It has always seemed like a daunting task for us, with its old fixtures and fittings. The entire bathroom is very big and it has an old claw foot style bath in there. It’s a wonderful big soaker! But, it has seen significantly better days. In truth, when I take my rose colored glasses off, it’s more disgusting than romantic. The enamel on it has chips that are beyond vintage chic and the rust of the cast-iron is also visible.
Anyone who has done a similar home renovation or, at least the research, knows it is difficult to find durable oversized baths such as this on a reasonable budget. When once they were a standard in homes, they are now a luxury item. Given this, we decided that we would quest to preserve it, rather than sell it as salvage. I myself am a lover of old things, I think they were made better and more durable than what we use now. But, we are going to have to do a lot to this tub if it is to be a part of our updated home decor.
There are shops that offer the service of refinishing old tubs and sinks. With an item as big and heavy as this, the work is typically done on site, however with smaller sinks, pedestals and other fixtures, the restorations can also be done at their repair shops.
The restoration process includes spraying the fixture with a resin coating made of acrylic urethane. This is the perfect remedy for getting the antique porcelain looking like new. From what I’ve found, the work costs $350-500 on average, though I suspect this will vary based on geography too. Nonetheless, that is significantly less than buying a tub like this brand new!
There are three steps involved in the cast-iron tub restoration process:
- The first is sanding down the fixture. A skilled company will do this by sandblasting to powerfully and evenly clean and smooth the surface. The old finish is removed to make way for the new one. Depending on the degree of damage, it may not be necessary to bring the item down to the full metal. It is also possible just to remove a top layer of finish.
- The second step is repairing cracks and chips. All the imperfections in that are found are fixed before the final step commences
- The last step is the adding of primer then the new layers and the top coat.
The length of time the entire refinishing process varies according to the company that undertakes the job. On average however, I’ve been told it takes from two to four weeks before the fixture is ready for use. I can’t wait until this is done!
If you need help finding someone to repair your vintage tub, or if you want to search for claw foot tub to work with, you can always submit a free inquiry to www.myezbz.com
A game truck – also known as a video game truck or party truck – has a very simple
concept. The truck comes to you, and provides a small space for a party to play video games. The trucks are typically air-conditioned, contain several flat screen TV’s, and a large array of video games to choose from.
GameTruck®, the primary franchise of party trucks in the U.S., also offer a laser tag truck. The laser tag truck provides equipment and instructors, although still requires the host to provide a large space. Game trucks are a little more convenient, as they provide a self-contained space…Something which translates for many parents as somewhere they don’t have to clean up.
Children, obviously, love the concept. Video games are a great stimulus for a child’s imagination, and are universally adored by most kids, however they also often attract criticism for their association with anti-social behavior and unhealthy addiction. A game truck combats this stigma, as it actually encourages socialization, and its presentation – a glamorous truck that’s only temporarily available – instills the belief that video games are a treat, rather than a habit.
Parents are embracing the trend too. Game trucks take away a lot of the responsibility of hosting a party – providing space, music and entertainment, and cleaning up afterwards – and are typically affordable: a two-hour game truck party is typically priced between $300-400. You can read one mom’s promising review of a game truck party here.
If you’re not a fan of video games, a game truck is probably not for you. Plus it is possible to host a small children’s party, and keep it below $300 – although that can take time, effort, and impressive budgeting skills.
While they are increasing in popularity, game trucks are still rare – even if you have heard of them, the assumption is that they are wildly expensive. Whether you’re a fan of video games, or still unsure, it is always nice to know what your options are.
If you decide you’d like to hire a game truck, submit a request to www.myezbz.com and we can help you find a local truck, today.
Children events are usually fun affairs that require the presence of many activities of various kinds to keep the children entertained. Children's concentration spans are usually short and thus require a number of activities to keep them entertained and essentially occupied. The most successful events take this into account. Parents or the party hosts need not meet all these entertainment needs themselves, there are a diverse group of children entertainers who can be hired to entertain the children.
These entertainers are often easy and affordable to hire and make the event even more fun for the children. The hiring of entertainers has definitely saved many parents and party hosts the trouble of thinking of means and ways to keep the children entertained. There are a range of entertainers to choose from, such as themed performers and impersonators who come in costumes of the various princesses, heroes and favorite cartoon characters, puppeteers, singers, face painters, balloon animal creators, magicians, game coordinators and the list is endless. All these entertainers are at your service to make children happy.
Children's entertainesr specialize in how to making children's events lively and amazing. They have mastered the art of capturing the attention of children and ensuring that they are calm and having fun throughout the event. They also help in expounding children’s creativity. Take for instance puppeteers, they help children in their narration skills, face painters and animal balloon creators help in developing the artistic nature of children. Nonetheless, aside from being intellectually beneficial to children they most importantly ensure that the children have fun.
Hiring entertainers for children events also helps children to work on their social skills. The themed performers interact with the children at a personal level and assist in boosting their self esteem. These entertainers also add a personal touch to the events. This is in the sense that, children are able to partake in the activities with the entertainers. Children adore their favorite cartoon characters and super heroes. Hiring entertainers gives them a chance to meet with some of these heroes and characters through the entertainers who dress up in costumes of these characters. In some way this fulfills some of the children’s fantasies concerning meeting their favorite heroes just like meeting Santa Claus during Christmas.
If you need help finding a children's entertainer for your next event, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
Energy conservation is often on the minds of home owners and renters for financial and environmental reasons. As we strive to reduce our personal carbon footprints, we also seek to save money wherever possible! Effectiant energy use can enhance natural qualities of a home while maximizing savings. Here are some tips for conserving energy:
Simple Ways of Conserving Energy at Home
- Set the thermostat to its lowest temperature for comfort when there are people in the house.
- When there is no one in the house, set the thermostat to a very, very low temperature.
- When the fireplace is not in use, close the damper.
- Close the doors and reduce the heat in rooms that are not being occupied.
- During the heating season, replace the furnace filters (doing so once a month would be good).
- To reduce the leakage of air underneath exterior doors, use a door sweep (you can get a cheap one).
- Turn off any devices and appliances that are not in use; e.g. shut down computers, turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t occupied.
- If it is possible, crack a few windows at night so as to bring in cooler air at night.
Physical Modifications to Conserve Energy at Home
One very easy way to conserve energy at home is to eliminate all phantom loads. The term “phantom loads” refers to those electrical appliances that are plugged in to the power but are actually not doing anything. These appliances are turned off but are still consuming energy.
- When you go buy new appliances for whatever purpose, look for the most energy efficient ones you know are going to be energy efficient. You can ask for assistance when you go shopping or alternatively, you could look appliances with the Energy Star. These are usually energy efficient and will help you conserve energy at home.
- Light bulbs are another option if you want to conserve energy. It is one of the most cost efficient methods of conserving energy that you can think of. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are cheap and easy to replace. This will save a lot of energy as compared to traditional light bulbs.
- If you want to conserve energy in your home, get a programmable thermostat. These will adjust the temperature of your home according to the schedule you set. This way, your thermostat will do its work only when you need it and not when, for instance, there’s nobody at home.
- Install weather stripping on your doors and windows if it isn’t there already.
- Have insulating gaskets installed behind the electrical gaskets. You can also do this for the switch plates on the exterior walls.
- Where there are unheated areas, insulate the floors.
- Ensure that the stand alone freezer is always maintained at 0 degrees.
- Make a note to replace all the ageing major appliances in your house such as the refrigerator, TVs.
Signs your Gutters need Repair or Replacement
There are a few clear signs that are certain to draw your consideration towards the requirement for gutter repair:
• If there are any leaks in the corners or flooding of water, or there is rust in the steel gutters
• According to the essential gutter structure, they ought to be hanged level. In this way, if they inclining towards one side, there is doubtlessly a major issue with them.
• If you see water coming from behind the gutter
Counteract Gutter Clogging
Keeping in mind the end goal to prevent obstruction in your gutter chambers, you can decided to introduce different sorts of defensive watchmen. They help keep your gutters free of twigs, leaves and different materials. There are a range of different gatekeepers available, including:
• Hinged Covers
• Solid Covers
• Snap in Filter Guard
• Plastic Gutter Guards
• Downspout aluminum strainer
Additionally, you have the alternative of introducing a defensive screen inside your gutter. This will evade any sort of debris from entering the downspouts. This may particularly be useful as these downspouts are purging into the drain lines, subsequently diminishing the likelihood of these lines filling with debris.
Life of a Gutter
These days, the vast majority of the gutter specialists advocate the utilization of aluminum gutters. If maintained appropriately, they can last for decades. You simply need to keep them consistently clean and keep the corners and end tops appropriately fixed. This is on the grounds that they accompany a lifetime warranty.
The resolution for home owners is a consistent maintenance of gutters. Though a few owners may consider to take this on themselves, people who haven't got time, energy or ability to bother with the work may hire someone. Gutter repair and maintenance will be performed by handymen or gutter maintenance specialists.
Keep in mind, gutters may not be the best piece of your house, but rather they perform an imperative capacity. In this manner, keeping them in the best conceivable condition by getting them consistently cleaned is the best way to avoid costly repair or maintenance fees down the line.
If you need help locating a gutter clearning service, you can submit a free request to www.myezbz.com!
Most home owners who have trees in their compounds think that they can handle all the yard work by themselves, including such tasks as planting, trimming and tree removal among others. However, these tasks are quite complex and it’s of utmost importance that expert help be sought. Here are 5 awesome reasons why you should hire tree services professionals.You can enhance your safety
Working on trees is definitely a dangerous task and you cannot risk working on them by your own. It may lead to serious injuries or even death. Massive destruction can also be caused especially when the trees that you are trimming are located next to houses or electric lines. Chances of being caught in an electric shock are real. By hiring an experienced professional to work on your trees, you can reduce the amount of risk that you expose yourself to. You also ensure that you don’t get hurt by falling trees. A tree services expert understands how to deal with potential risks and avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation.You can avoid destruction by working with the pros
Falling trees can be a serious risk to your buildings. If tree branches fall on your roof, there is a likelihood that damage worth thousands of dollars will be caused. With their level of skill and experience, tree service experts know how to handle any kind of tree removal chore without causing damage to adjacent properties.They offer an exceptional level of expertise
Removing unhealthy parts of a tree calls for high level of skill and expertise. If you do it on your own, the probability of recurrence is quite high. It takes a skilled and experienced tree service professional to ensure that the rights parts of a tree is removed effectively. Nonetheless, this task requires the use of specialized tools which you may not readily have in your home.They are comprehensively insured
Comprehensive insurance cover is one of the reasons to hire tree services. Accidents are bound to occur and if the worst scenario happens, you can rest assured that you will not be forced to pay for repair expenses from your money. Whether it’s your property that has been destroyed or that of a neighbor, you can rest assured that the service provider’s insurance will be enough to meet the entire costs.Improve the healthy of your trees
Can only guarantee that your trees will be in great health if you get the help of a tree service professional. If tree pruning is done well, it will definitely bring an infection. It’s only the experts who can have the level of comprehension that’s required to deal with every kind of tree.
However, when hiring a tree service expert, there are certain traits that you have to be on the lookout for. The level of experience which they have, training and insurance are some of the things that you should look out for. Those with specific experience in the kind of trees that are in your compound should be given priority. It’s also important to ensure that you are hiring a company that offers the best pricing when compared to other service providers.
If you'd like assistance with finding a reliable tress service company, you can always submit a request to www.myezbz.com!
Nutritionists have a healthy regard for food and its life-sustaining properties and are able to give advice on diets for a range of concerns. They are primarily concerned with the prevention, avoidance and treatment of illnesses through proper dietary care. Nutritionists assess the diets of patients and clients suffering from medical disorders or other concerns and suggests better and useful ways of fighting various health problems by adjusting and modifying the patient's intake of certain food items.
Nutritionists work towards completely eliminating or curing health problems like overweight, diabetes, allergies, and obesity. Like all other health professionals, nutritionists are motivated by a concern to improve people's quality of life and they do so by educating people about healthy eating habits. If you are overweight or obesity is your problem then it's advised to consult a nutritionist.
A nutritionist has the knowledge and experience that go hand in hand to tackle any of your health related problems. If you have an illness that you think you are struggling with then, it's advised to seek professional help. A nutritionist must have seen people with your body type before due to the vast experience in the field and it is easier for him/her to suggest you a diet plan that can fight your illness as well as keep you fit.
People who want to cut down those extra pounds they gained should consider opting for a healthier lifestyle. They can lose those extra pounds not just be eating healthy but also by doing some exercises. A nutritionist can advise you which exercise would suit you best as per your body type, your diet plan and the illness you have.
Another benefit of consulting and hiring a nutritionist while dieting is that if a nutritionist sees symptoms of your illness getting worse due to dieting, he/she can immediately take steps or suggest you to see a doctor. A nutritionist can also suggest you an alternative diet plan or exercise if the existing plan doesn't suit you.
Weight loss can be tough and difficult to continue for a long time, but many people succeed with only determination and persistence. The worrying part that comes after losing weight is not to gain that fat again. This fear can be subsided by nutritionist's advice and food plan. You will keep all that weight off till you follow a healthy diet pattern and by exercising regularly.
There are many boot camp sessions, fitness and training centers which assist overweight people in losing their weight and hiring a nutritionist will carefully guide on which sessions will suit you most. If you want to lose weight in a way that interests you most then you can join a dancing centre, yoga classes or laughter therapy. Whichever way you choose to lose weight, in the end it is your effort that scores result and keeps you fit.
A nutritionist helps you live a good and healthy lifestyle, hence you ought to find yourself one to make sure your body is fit and strong making cut short hospitals bills by preventing diseases through nutritionist’s guidance and advice
Employing the services of a private coach to give your competitive sports playing child private lessons can improve his or her skills to a significantly extent. A private coach has enormous experience in a specific sport and therefore the ability to identify and fix tiny errors that the player could be making. As much as your child’s existing team coach may have the same level of skill, his focus is on the overall team, with all team members sharing the coach’s attention. The time and focus the team coach has may not be sufficient to correct errors or refine skills of all players. One-on-one sessions with a private coach offers helps to quickly identify bad habits and reinforce proper techniques, so your child can achieve success. Hiring a private coach could be one of the most rewarding gifts you can give your child. Here are some of the benefits of a private coach to sports players:
It may be a bit challenging for a team coach to give all the team members extra attention identify their weaknesses and advance their skills personally as compared to a private coach. A private coach becomes fully conversant with your kid’s skills and hence is better placed to critique and improve their skill at the kid’s pace. The child will get detailed instruction that is best suited for their particular skill without struggling to keep up with the teams pace.
In most experiences the coach or expert a child has a relationship with is the same one the child learns most from. The close relationship of a kid with an expert not only develops the kid’s skills but also his or her mental abilities. Athletes have been shown to respond better to coaches who care about them and can communicate with them.
You child may be trying to sharpen their skills in a team but using the wrong fundamentals without the team coach identifying the root problem. This may lead to wasted time and in some cases, reduced interest and commitment to their practice. An experienced private coach can instill correct basic fundamentals necessary for your kid to work from.
While training as a team is important, a child can accomplish a lot and see greater results in a short period of time through private training.
A kid’s life usually involves multiple activities like family events and friends all of which may overshadow the child’s practice priority. Setting aside private practice time encourages the child’s commitment; with a third party is involved the child is less likely to lose focus on their sports practice.
As kids grow older their enthusiasm for sports may vary as other things catch their attention, causing arguments with their parents, their teammates and other peers. Hiring a private coach may eliminate these arguments as children show respect and trust for an outside expert’s opinion.
A private coach is fully equipped with training tools that help your child develop fundamental skills and the right attitude to sports. Exposing the your child to positive mentors who teach the value of hard work will definitely shape their life forever. Make an informed decision to better your kid’s career by hiring a private coach.
If interested in finding a private coach for your child, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.
Scratches and dents on a car can cost hundreds of dollars to repair. That is why many auto owners just accept them when they find their car banged up in a parking lot. Now, dents can be repaired without repainting, giving auto owners an affordable way to regain the pride they once had in their car.
Paintless dent removal is a technology used commercially by auto dealerships, rental companies and auctions to improve a car overall appearance without the need for expensive body and paint work quickly. Although consumers have been slow to accept this new concept, evidence shows that consumer use of this removal service is on the rise.
How it Works:
The tools designed especially for this type of dent removal can remove football-sized dents in a car without requiring any expensive sanding, filling or painting. Cars that have been repaired like this normally have no visible evidence that they ever experienced damage.
The availability of inexpensive remedies for dents in automobiles has the potential to create an influx of consumer demand. After all, the main reason drivers do not repair dents in their cars is the expense. Drivers are also unwilling to file a claim on their auto insurance for fear their premium will increase. Some auto insurers are now embracing this as an accepted method of repair.
Modern automobiles have strong metal and flexible paint surfaces that make them less susceptible to a damaged finish when they receive impact. This means that dents can be pushed back out, allowing the metal to pop back into place. As tools have improved, this method has developed in ways that allow larger dents to be repaired. Not too long ago, this technique was limited to smaller dents like those caused by hail.
Paintless dent removal is preferred for several reasons. First the technique can repair dents that range from small to large. Not every dent can be repaired this way, but many dents can be repaired with paintless dent removal, saving vehicle owners hundreds of dollars for every dent. Also, only newer cars have metal and paint that can be adequately repaired using paintless dent removal. For the most part, these are cars from 1990 and later model years.
Many dents cannot be repaired using paintless dent removal. For example, if the paint is cracked or broken, traditional bodywork might be necessary. Also, dents located near the edge of body panels often cannot be treated. Finally, dents on repaired bodywork usually do not respond well to paintless dent removal.
Cost, speed and low risk are among the key benefits of paintless dent removal. Same day service, on-site repair and speedy repair are more reasons why people will choose paintless dent removal when they wouldn't even think about taking their car to a body shop for repair.
Paintless dent removal avoids in-shop risks such as paint overspray and paints mismatching because no painting is required. Also, this type of repair also preserves the resale value of a car because buyers often frown on cars that don't have their original paint.If you're interested in finding an auto body shop that specializes in paintless dent repair, you can always submit a request via www.myezbz.com.
When you hear the words temporary tattoo, the first thought in your head is probably a small, press-on illustration that fades from the skin after a day or two. Well, there’s a another type of body art that’s taking the U.S. by storm, and its popularity is soaring: Henna.
Henna refers to a form of temporary tattooing that uses dye to stain the skin. Its name comes from the dye’s key ingredient, leaves from the Henna plant. Unlike a press-on tattoo, henna tattoos are usually large, intricate designs, and typically last at least ten days.
Henna tattoos are becoming so popular that henna artists are now often hired to provide their service at events. While they are quite popular with bachelorette parties and bridal showers, more recently henna artists are appearing at children’s birthday parties. Naturally, many parents are concerned by this; henna tattoos are lasting, large, and there is widespread controversy about its potential health risks. This is an issue that all consumers should be wary of.
While organic henna is actually quite safe to use, there are many reported cases of henna dye with additional ingredients provoking a bad, dermatologic reaction. Black Henna is the most widely publicised example of this – it contains p-phenylenediamine (PPD), an additive notorious for its negative effects on skin. Because of this, henna dye has not been approved by the FDA for direct application to the skin, and may only be imported as a hair dye.
Despite this, the henna tattoo business is booming, and it’s easy to see why. Henna provides a temporary, aesthetically pleasing alternative to permanent tattoos, and for some people, can be a form of celebrating and honoring their cultural background – Henna has a long history with Indian and Middle-eastern cultures.
Of course, before hiring a Henna artist to come to your event, it’s a good idea to do your own research. You should also make sure that only organic henna dye will be used, to avoid any health issues, and that every guest (and their parents, if the guest is a child) is aware there will be a henna artist at the event, ahead of time.
If you are considering getting a henna tattoo, make sure you check with your employer’s body art policy. Some jobs may not allow you to work with a henna tattoo. The same advice applies for children, and their school and/or extracurricular activities.
Ultimately, as long as you follow these steps, henna tattoos can be safe, eye-pleasing and exciting. If you decide you’d like to hire a henna artist, www.myezbz.com can help you find someone local today.