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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Year New Ways to "Restart" Your Home On the Cheap

Plant an Indoor Herb Garden ~ In winter, when everything green goes dormant, it's a good idea to focus on something to nurture. Adding plants isn't just an aesthetic practice: Studies cited by Psychology Today show that houseplants can help us improve reaction times, reduce stress, and even lower blood pressure levels.

Organize Your Closet ~ That's right: It's finally time to clean out your closet! Your first challenge? Thinning the hoard of clothes you've accumulated over the years. Once that's done, sort through all the miscellany you may have also stashed in the closet: all your mementos, photos, and old letters. Pare down the collection, but take your time so you won't have any regrets when you take out the trash.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl Party Ideas

Set Up Festive, Football-Themed Decor
1. Cut coasters out of AstroTurf ($1 per square foot at, or go to your local hardware store). 2. Set out potted wheatgrass (available at flower shops and nurseries) topped with pennants and mini footballs (check out and 3. Design your table runner to look like a football field; just spread out Con-Tact Chalkboard Contact Paper ($6 for a roll, 18 inches by six feet, at and draw yard lines with chalk and a ruler. Then leave out the chalk and let your guests strategize their own plays throughout the party.

Create a Potato Bar
Swap a sports-bar favorite for a snack that’s more refined and better for you, too. Create a potato bar by baking a 15-ounce package of Alexia Oven Fries frozen potato wedges (available at supermarkets) and serving them warm with a variety of toppings, like chopped red onion, salsa, grated Cheddar, jalapeños, and low-fat sour cream.

Organize a Super Bowl Party Game
In lieu of a football pool, have each guest predict the winner’s final score. Write each guess on a tag and tie it to his or her beer stein. Whoever gets closest to the correct score wins.

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Year New Housekeeping Habits to Adopt in the New Year

Say Goodbye to the Junk Drawer ~ Somehow the messiest drawer in the house also tends to be the de facto storage spot for some of your most frequently used items, such as a pair of scissors or an extra USB cord. You can do a lot for your sanity by imposing a little order here. You may find that it's easier than you thought to organize the junk drawer. In fact, you may vow to get rid of it altogether!

Make Your Bed Every Morning ~ Your bed is the focal point of the room and sets the tone for the rest of the space, rendering it messy or neat. With that in mind, you can see how easy it is to cheat your way to a cleaner room in just five minutes: Make your bed every morning. Your future self will enjoy a more calming bedroom and better habits.

Shrink Your Trash and Recycle More ~ Recycling can be a huge help in keeping clutter at bay. Everything from junk mail and old newspapers to empty aerosol cans and milk cartons can be sorted out of your trash and recycled. If your neighborhood has curbside recycling, start by checking out the guidelines to know which items can be collected.

Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 ~ A New Year with New Home Trends

You'd think that in this high-tech world, we'd be populating our homes with personal robots, however some folks are actually having a "bad reaction" to the high-tech gadgets for a "connected" home. All the "connected"ness and instant gratification of our culture is making some of us long for and create a home that is quite the opposite ~ we are choosing things that allow for reflection, ease, familiarity and visual delights. Here are 10 home trends that are anticipated throughout the new year....

Big, Comfy Sectionals ~ Sure, the sectional is the stuff of family rooms circa 1987, but it is back in a big way, and why shouldn't it be? As living rooms have become more relaxed places for lounging, we have less need for formal sofas and more love for a versatile padded zone that lets us sprawl out however we like. This sectional, dressed in elegant gray upholstery, invites one to lie down with a plush throw and a good book or game.

The Deep Blue ~ If there's one thing that causes the Houzzer community to hit the "like" button, it's a room coated in an interesting, saturated blue. Traditionally, blue has been a calming color. We think people like the idea of cozying up in the hues of the deepest sea. If you've already done black or charcoal, here's a new way to add richness and drama.

Old Table, Mod Seats ~ On Houzz, we are seeing a lot of interiors in which contemporary chairs are paired with rustic tables. Maybe it's just that people want it both ways, but we think that there's something else behind the popular look. By pairing two things that don't seem to go together, you are actually emphasizing the best qualities of both.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year New Orgainzation ~ Genius Double-Duty Organizing Ideas

Magazine Rack ~ A bit of chalk paint turned this wooden organizer into a shabby-chic place for pans that's totally worthy of a spot on a countertop.

Magazine Rack ~ A bit of chalk paint turned this wooden organizer into a shabby-chic place for pans that's totally worthy of a spot on a countertop.

Magazine File ~ Flip this office staple on its side to create the perfect home for a stack of cans that would otherwise roll off your shelf.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Big Room Makeovers on a Little Budget

Home Decorating Tips
*Hate the color? Paint it ~ put some spring back in the step of this yard sale chest by painting it a glossy Kelly green. Then have a mirror cut (which doesn't cost much!) to hide the top.
*Use dining chairs anywhere. These chairs started out with brown fabric and legs then were re-covered in blue velvet, with painted legs in white, and used to flank the dresser. Pairs are great for that.
*As long as it looks pricey...who cares if it's not? These '60s vases look like they'd cost a fortune. Also, the octagonal mirror was naked pine and now it looks expensive with a coat of shiny black paint.

Home Decorating Tips
*Think outside the trunk. This $100 metal trunk from a thrift shop is turned into a table with nothing done to it!
*Look for a sign. The graphics, shapes, and textures of industrial pieces like this old sign make amazing art and add a little masculine, throw-up-your-feet feel.
*Don't forget the extras. Keep 'em quirky and inexpensive. Look at a yard sales for things like the roulette wheel (it can be a great conversation piece), fun animal accents (hence the ceramic owl and the pair of black Foo dogs)
*Consider Lucite because they're clear as can be. Lucite tables are a great way to add functionality without cluttering your space.

Home Decorating Tips
*Go for funky lamps and top them with white paper shades for a clean look that shows off the base. Always, always check the wiring on old lamps, and if it feels crunchy, get it rewired. A lamp isn't a bargain if it burns your house down.
*Wallpaper one wall. It's not a big investment or commitment, and it's an easy way to snap up a room. Another option is wall decals, they're super-fun... and cheap.
*Personalize your bedding. An embroidered monogram on the bedspread ties the look together in a chic, personal way. You can also add it to pillows.
*Detail the headboard. Here chrome tacks were added to the headboard to jazz it up. They come in adhesive strips, so you don't have to nail them in individually. The lines are perfect, and most cost just $1 per yard!

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year New "Weight" ~ Clean out your "drawers" and get rid of everything you no longer use or need, you will feel so much lighter!

Well it's too late to get that tax deduction for this years tax year BUT you can start again now for next year! Whether you just need to throw things in the trash, donate or organize your old things, now is the time since it's cold outside and it's a new year with a new start! You can donate items to schools, shelters, churches, youth organizations, goodwill, make a burn pile (it is cold outside and what better way to stay warm....have a bonfire, make a shred pile and just plain out trash it. With these ideas in mind, please consider what you are trowing out ~ Remember one's mans trash is another mans treasure!

Expired coupons ~ We know how hard it can be to let go of a good coupon. But expired, unusable coupons just take up space and make you disorganized. Put them where they belong. And don't worry--there will be others. Where to Take It: burn pile

Clothes you never wear ~ Rule of thumb: if you haven't worn it in two years, and it doesn't have any strong sentimental value, remove it from your closet. Yes, this includes the sequined crop top you bought on Bourbon Street back in '04. Where to Take It:goodwill, shelters, seven schools

Stacks of old magazines & newspapers ~ If you've got a growing stack of publications that have been gathering dust, it's time to purge. Consider donating them to your library--that way, they're still getting use. Where to Take It: burn pile

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let it Go

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” Philippians 3:13

It’s easy to go through life focused on what didn’t work out, who hurt us, or the mistakes we’ve made. “If only I would have finished college."  "If only I would have spent more time with my children." "If only that company wouldn’t have laid me off after 20 years. That’s just not right.” Well it's a new year and God has given us a wonderful opportunity to start anew, to begin again, to LET IT GO!

If we’re living in and with regret, focused on the negative things of the past, it’s going to keep us from the bright future God has in store. We’ve got to let go of what didn’t work out, et go of the hurts and pain, let go of our disappointments and failures ~ that was yesterday and today is a new day.....right now it's a new year, a fresh start. 

We can’t do anything about the past, but we can do something about right now. Whether it happened 20 years ago or 20 minutes ago, let it go and move forward. If we keep bringing negative baggage from yesterday into today, it will poison our future. We may have had an unfair past, but we don’t have to have an unfair future. We may have gotten off to a rough start in life, but it’s not how we start that matters, it’s how you finish. Let 2015 be the year we Let It Go!

Father, today I choose to let go of past mistakes, failures and setbacks. I choose to set my eyes on You and move boldly into the good future You have prepared for me in Jesus’ name! Amen.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year New Cleaners ~ Try these DIY home cleaning products that are easy to make.

Homemade hardwood floor cleaner
To give hardwood floors a new spring shine, use boiled tea to mop hardwood floors. It imparts a natural, light, fresh scent, plus leaves a brilliant shine. To use: Drop three black tea bags into a bowl or bucket, add boiling water, then dunk a mop head or towel into the liquid, wring out and mop as usual.

Homemade toothpaste
Making toothpaste at home with baking soda seems like a no brainer, until you actually do it and the result is gag-worthy at best. To navigate this battle of ease versus taste, the DIY-savvy gals at Old School road-tested the top toothpaste recipes out there, and discovered a perfect potion that’s head and shoulders above the rest.

Homemade laundry detergent