Eco-friendly Packing Tips for your Next Trip

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Earth Friendly Activities, How To's | 0 comments

Reducing your carbon footprint can be difficult, especially when you’re going on holidays – it feels like you need to take everything with you, but none of it is at all eco-friendly. It might be hard but here are some handy hints to help you pack in a more eco-friendly fashion the next time you holiday!

Your suitcase is important

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Light suitcase

Some of the things you need to pack to ensure you’re leaving as little of a carbon footprint as possible will take up a little more room in your bag than you’d hope they would. To make things easier, you should ensure that your suitcase is as light as possible and as practical as possible – if you don’t have a good one, check out Luggagedirect.com.au and get yourself a new one.

Pack your own water bottle

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You’re one water bottle replaces up to roughly 300 plastic ones that would have eventually ended up in one of the world’s garbage dumps. You also save money on bottled water while you’re saving the world. Some places you go may be unsafe to drink the tap water – so you might also want to purchase a purifier. Sometimes, it may be unavoidable to buy and consume bottled water, but bringing your own water bottle will be a step in the right direction!

Re-chargeable batteries are the key

A lot of things you need with you while on holidays need batteries – torches, cameras, toys for the kids, etc. Extra disposable batteries are really bad for the environment – though some people might think they’re a lot easier than re-chargeable ones. This isn’t the case though, a battery re-charger is easy to use and takes up about as much space in your suit case as the pack of disposable ones!

Tupperware toiletry containers

While using plastic bags for your toiletries is a good idea for reducing the amount of gunk you get on your holiday clothes, more often than not, those two bags are likely to get wrecked on your trip. What will you end up doing with these bags? Probably putting them in the bin, right? Save the environment and use Tupperware containers instead. Even better, if you use holiday toiletries and they’ve been finished by the end of the trip, you can use your container for holding fragile souvenirs on your way home. If you are travelling with your toiletries in your carry-on luggage, make sure that the containers are clear so that the security staff can see what you are carrying.

Reusable snack bags

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Reusable snack bag

Some flights don’t provide snacks, which in all honesty is just plain torture, but you can always bring your own. By putting them in a Ziploc bag, they’ll stay fresh and you can use them for the flight home, and while you’re out and about sightseeing! You can also bring reusable shopping bags in case you need to make a quick trip to the grocery store. (image credit: themombot.com)

Being eco-friendly is super easy – it’s not as easy doing it while you’re on holidays! However, if you bring the right things with you it’s a whole lot easier. Doing your bit for the environment is really worthwhile and there are so many ways you can do it! Have fun on your holiday, but don’t forget to be eco-friendly!

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5 Space Saving Storage Ideas for Apartment Living

Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Home Design Ideas, Home Furniture, How To's | 0 comments

When living in an apartment, you often don’t have the luxury of extra space. In what seems like an instant, your living space can become extremely cluttered and unmanageable. If you live in an apartment and feel like you have run out of space, consider these space-saving ideas.

Consider Binning Style Shelving

Binning style shelving is particularly useful in kitchens. You can use them as make-shift pantries, as additional pantry space or to house a live herb garden. You can get as creative as you’d like. Plastic display bins and brackets can be purchased from storage specialists like Elbowroom, and can be customised to fit your apartment.

Invest in Storage Shelves

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Wall-mounted shelves

There are a variety of storage shelves on the market today made from materials such as wood, plastic and metal. Metal shelving, while looking quite industrial, can look very modern and chic in an apartment. You can use your shelving to hold books, ornaments, DVDs, video games and other bric-a-bracs, which tend to litter your clean surfaces. If you don’t have room for standing shelves, you may want to consider wall-mounted shelves. (image credit: downsizemyspace.com)

Utilise all Surfaces

No matter how small an apartment is, there is always unutilised wall space. The best way to make use of this wall space is by using hooks and brackets that mount the wall. You can hang just about anything on your walls. In the kitchen you can hang kitchen utensils, in the study you can hang charger cables, and in your bedroom you can hang jewellery and accessories. Of course any metal surfaces, such as a fridge, metal shelving units or even metal behind your wall, can also be used to hang things if you buy magnetised hooks.

Make Furniture Serve Double Duty

When you are living in an apartment you often can’t afford to have all the furniture you want. For example, in your bedroom, you may only be able to fit one bedside drawer or none at all. This is where you can get creative. Ensure that every piece of furniture serves a dual purpose. For example, have a large chunky piece of artwork that can fold down and become a dining table, and have an ironing board that can fold away when not in use. If you have pets, find a way of incorporating storage around their pet houses or stash your pet’s bowls in a bottom of a drawer, so you can easily stow them out of the way, but are still accessible to your pet when rolled

Create Storage in Seats and Couches

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Storage seats

While some seating is necessary, it is more efficient if your seats and couches also have storage space. These days you can buy barstools, chairs and couches that have in-built storage inside them or underneath them. Likewise most ottomans have lift off tops for storage, which is a great place to store books, magazines, CDs and DVDs. (image credit: dezeen.com)

While apartment living can prove difficult, with a little innovation and creativity, you can maximise your apartment’s space. Do you live an apartment? If so, what other things do you do to save room?

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Staying Cool at Home in the Heat of Summer

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Earth friendly fashion, How To's | 0 comments

Some people go to the mall or just outdoors to keep themselves cool during hot weather. But there is no need to ditch the comfort of your homes to beat the summer heat. There are plenty of ways to look and feel refreshed at home without necessarily exhausting your air conditioning system. Iced beverages, cold or frozen snacks, and some cool fashionable outfits along with a few adjustments around the house can help you deal with the heat and humidity while inside the house.

One of the most practical ways to keep cool during the hot weather is to drink water. It makes your body feel cooler and healthier as well. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated but also helps in energizing muscles, flushing out toxins, and getting better looking skin. Add a bit of flavor in your water for a more refreshing and enjoyable treat, just put some mint, lemon, or orange in it before placing it inside the refrigerator. Cold or frozen fruit slices are also healthy snack alternatives that can help keep body temperature down.

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Aside from your diet, you may also make some changes in your wardrobe. Loose fitting clothes that are made from natural fabrics like cotton, silk, linen, or bamboo are ideal during the summer season. There are plenty of cool and fashionable outfits that are easy on the budget. Tank Tops, Sleeveless Blouses, and Cami Tops are some of the most comfortable options that you can consider. Experts also recommend wearing light colored clothes that help reflect light and heat away from the body.

There are also ways to keep temperatures down in the home environment. Window treatments, location of the ceiling fan, and fabric used for your beddings and upholstery can affect the comfort levels in your rooms. Blinds or insulated curtains that are kept closed during the hottest time of the day can help keep the sun’s heat from getting into the house. Windows can be opened at night time to let the cool air inside. You may also want to replace heavy or fuzzy fabric coverings on your furnishings with light and smooth ones for a cooler look and feel.

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Tips for Living with Allergies

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Care Tips, green living, How To's | 0 comments

There are many different types of allergies, ranging from mildly inconvenient to deadly, and all of these should be treated with care. Asthma is one of the most common allergies, closely followed by allergies associated with pollen, animal hair and dust mites. Most people will know one or more people with some form of allergy, and if someone in your family has an allergy, here are some tips you can incorporate to make their lives just that little bit easier.

Air cleaners

Many people are sensitive to odours, including the smell of sharp cologne and smoke, and these can be enough to trigger a reaction. An efficient air cleaner will help remove these smells from your home, reducing the risk of contact with allergens as well as minimising contact with potential triggers. It will also make your house smell nice and fresh!

Clean often

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image credit: healthyliving.msn.com

Dust and dander can build up easily, especially if there are a lot of carpeted spaces in your house or fabrics that attract such annoyances. If you vacuum and clean the house often, these will be less of a problem. However, when you are cleaning, make sure you take care with the products you are using, as you don’t want to mix the wrong products together. It is also wise to make sure that the room or area you are cleaning has good ventilation, so the airflow is not restricted.

Remove mould

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Mould is one of those silent triggers that can creep up on you, but it is relatively easy to detect, especially if you’re looking for it. Once you’ve noticed it, it is just a matter of scrubbing to get rid of it, and you will have also lessened the amount of allergens floating around in your home.

Protection

Dust mites often find mattresses and other bedding items home, so if you cover these with a case that is resistant to these pesky pests, you will find yourself breathing a little easier. You can also buy hypoallergenic mattresses, quilt and pillow covers, which is another easy way to minimise the spread of allergens. If you think this is an idea you would like to consider or do some more research on, you can visit bedding specialists like Latex Mattress Sydney , and see where that takes you.

There are, of course, many more different types of allergies that have not been touched on here, but these tips should be helpful for everyone. All sorts of factors are involved in dealing with allergies, and there are all sorts of precautions you can take, ranging from those in the kitchen to the lounge and the bedroom. It can be relatively simple to deal with allergies, just make sure you consult your doctor and do all the proper research before you do anything too drastic.

Do you, or someone in your family have an allergy? How have you changed your habits to accommodate for this, and what tips would you personally recommend to others? If you have children with allergies, what are some ways you have found to be beneficial specifically for children? Leave a comment below and you might just be able to help someone else who is having the same problems.

 

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Kitchen Remodeling For The New Homeowner

Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Appliances, Home Essentials, How To's | 0 comments

Undertaking a major remodeling project can be a daunting task. With so many decisions to be made, and so many checks to be written, it’s easy for minor details to fall by the wayside. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of the project only to realize that you didn’t put in enough lighting fixtures. Or your new dishwasher is thunderously loud. Learn how to create your dream kitchen by doing your research and observing other people’s remodeling mistakes. Here are some helpful hints that your friends may forget to mention.

Permits Galore

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image credit: dexknows.com

Before you begin any remodeling work, ensure that you have the right permits keeping in mind that some projects may require inspection of the plans. A licensed contractor will handle the process for you, but even minor DIY projects can require a permit. Trying to slip by without the proper permits can come back to bite you if you eventually sell your house. A failed home inspection can ruin the sale and lead to legal issues.

Some remodeling projects that could require a permit include: additions, garages, any change to your home’s footprint, adding skylights or new doors, installing or removing plumbing or electrical wiring, interior structural changes, and siding projects. Building permits vary based on city ordinances, so you need to check with local municipalities before you begin working.

Expect the Unexpected

The common theme among remodeling projects is that the unexpected is bound to happen. Whether it’s a delayed shipment, bad weather, or existing structural issues, these surprises can put you behind schedule and leave you writing endless checks.

The best way to avoid these unwanted surprises is to hire the best contractors. An experienced contractor can keep the project running smoothly and avoid getting sidetracked by issues that arise. Do your research, ask for references from their most recent jobs, and be patient about working with the best contractors. Don’t settle for a subpar option because you’re antsy to get started.

Have a 10-15% contingency fund to cover any unexpected costs that arise. It’s not uncommon for a project to go over budget, and having extra cash will offset those costs. However, don’t dip into that fund to splurge on unbudgeted luxuries.

Avoid Layout Blunders

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image credit: hgtvremodels.com

Pay careful attention to your traffic patterns and cooking habits in the kitchen. You want a space with a good workflow that supports your cooking. Keep the space above the sink open—don’t situate it under a cabinet or you’ll get a face full of steam every time you drain pasta.

Steam and smoke can quickly damage cabinets, so range hoods should be about 6 inches wider than the cooking surface. Cabinets should also be at least 18 inches above the countertop.

Make sure that your countertops can stand up to wear and tear. Certain types of stone can chip easily, so it’s a good idea to test out different countertop samples before you buy.

When it comes to appliances, it’s better to invest in high-quality machines rather than money-savers. Energy-efficient appliances save money on energy bills and will have a longer lifespan. You also don’t want a dishwasher that shakes the house when it’s running, so look for quiet models around 50-decibels. The extra money will pay off over time.

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Must Have Tools for Grilling this Summer

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Home Essentials | 0 comments

The sun is out and the weather is simply perfect for cookouts and BBQ. Take advantage of the season and share some healthy and delicious feasts with friends and loved ones right in your own backyard. So bring out the grill and load up on some of the hottest grilling must haves this summer.

1. Grilling Baskets.

image credit: carycitizen.com

Cooking burgers, sausages, corn, and other small items such as vegetables become more efficient with these baskets around. There is no need to flip items one at a time when you got them all in one basket. GrillPro Non-stick Corn Basket allows you to grill and flip four corn ears at the same time.

2. Grill Pizza Pan.

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image credit: cnet.com

Enjoy the roasted grilled flavor in your pizza by getting them out of the oven and onto the grill. Eastman Outdoors has a non stick BBQ Grill Pizza Pan that can do the job for you.

3. Tongs, spatula, and fork.

grill set

image credit: sharperimage.com

This trio is essential in flipping, moving, and transferring items from the grill to the plate. They can be bought individually or as part of a set. The Grilling Tool Set with apron from Picnic Time comes with a stainless steel spatula that has a built in bottle opener in the blade, fork, tongs, apron, chef’s hat and mitt. If you would rather wear your tools on your waist instead of an apron then the GrillSlinger Utensil Belt is perfect for you. It is designed like a handyman tool belt that you can snap on your waist.

4. Those who require a wide spatula can check out the Steven Raichlen Stainless Steel Wide Spatula with bottle opener. Flipping chunky steaks is a breeze with this piece and so does handling delicate fish fillets. The bottle opener is also strategically located at the handle.

5. Interchangeable Steak Branding Iron. Make your grilled dishes more special by branding them with your initials or that of your guests. Now this would be a cool tool for a BBQ party!

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How to Pick the Perfect Blinds for Your Home

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Home Design Ideas, Home Essentials, Home Improvement, How To's | 0 comments

Window decorations affect the look and ambiance of a room which is why you should not rush into buying blinds for the house no matter how busy you are. Just like a person going to a job interview, a window can also be dressed to impress. Well chosen blinds can be a decorative asset that can also filter light and provide insulation in your rooms. But how do you choose the right blinds for your home? Here are a few factors that can help you find your way to the perfect blinds.

1. Shape and Size of the window.

window blinds, blinds

image credit: cardinalblinds.com

This will help you determine the type of blinds that work best for your windows and door windows. Roller Blinds, Venetian Blinds, and Roman Blinds are popular options for bay windows while honeycomb shades are great for Arch windows. There are vertical and horizontal slats that you can choose from. Just remember that smaller slats work better than larger blinds when it comes to door windows.

2. Window location.

window blinds, blinds, choosing the right blinds

image credit: westendwindows.co.uk

Each room in the house would have its own window treatment requirement. Blinds in the kitchen and other high humidity areas should be easy to clean and water resistant. Vinyl blinds are perfect for these conditions. Vertical Blinds made of sheer fabric is a stylish option that you can use for the living area while wood shutters are good for study rooms. As for the bedrooms, there are plenty of roller blinds that you can choose from. Blinds that have a top down/bottom up features may also be considered for rooms located on the upper floors.

3. Interior Design and Materials.

window blinds, blinds

image credit: hotnick.com

Modern blinds are made from a variety of materials ranging from aluminum, vinyl, wood, faux wood, cloth, etc. The type of materials you choose should match or complement the look of your interiors. Dress up your windows with blinds that combine function and style to create a strong impact for your room.

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