Monthly Archives: April 2016

How to Light Your House During a Blackout (Without Buying a Generator)

“Power outages can be seriously obnoxious. No Internet, no TV, no lights. On top of that, they can be dangerous, especially in the cold. A prolonged outage is always a danger during a serious storm, no matter the kind. And while it might not happen, you always want to be prepared. Obviously the biggest hurdle you’ll face during a power outage is going to be lack of power. And keeping your phone/laptop/tablet charged isn’t just a matter of convenience, sometimes it’s your only two-way connection to the outside world. Chances are a power outage is going to take out your primary heating source, and that can be pretty rough. Fortunately there are some things you can do to get ready ahead of time.”

How to Light Your House During a Blackout (Without Buying a Generator)

It’s the dog days of summer, even at 10pm your neighborhood is just slightly warmer than the surface of Venus, and everybody in town’s got their A/C units cranked up to 11. Which would explain what triggered the rolling blackout that has now left you and yours sitting in a darkened home. Just because you’re going to swelter until the power comes back doesn’t mean you need to do so in the dark. Here’s some ways to lighten up the situation without having to resort to a pricey generator.


Remember your old friend fire, the glowing body of gas generated by the combustion process? Turns out, it’s still really good at producing light, and with the right accouterments you can use candles to set a room alight without, you know, actually setting it alight.

 One utilitarian option is to raid your emergency go-bag for its 100 hour candle. These 1-pound light grenades burn liquid paraffin, which produces odorless, smokeless light for the better part of three days. And since the fuel is sealed in the container with only the wick exposed, you can safely snuff it out, store it, and use it again for the next blackout. Just make sure you open a window for ventilation.

Planning The Perfect Surprise Birthday Party

“Figuring out how to plan a surprise birthday party is not hard, but does take some additional planning beyond a typical birthday party. With the covert nature of this party, take special steps to avoid the surprise from becoming a letdown for everyone involved. Now if you like someone enough and have the will and drive to organize a surprise birthday party then you’re a brilliant friend. And brilliant friends are more than worthy of a little help from us. So, here are some surprise birthday ideas and tips that’ll aid you in your surprise party quest.”

A surprise birthday party is fun for both the guests and the guest of honor. Planning a surprise birthday party takes some secrecy and just a little bit of trickery to pull off the perfect surprise. You can hold the surprise party at the guest of honor’s home, at a friend’s home, a restaurant, or even plan an entire surprise getaway day. While any type of party is fun, there are a few elements that are essential to planning a birthday surprise. The following tips will help you keep the surprise and plan a birthday party that the guest of honor will enjoy.

Planning the Party
It is great to have an accomplice when planning a surprise birthday party. Although it is not impossible to keep the party a secret and plan all of the elements by yourself, having a helper who does not live in the same house as the guest of honor makes it that much easier. If you have someone off-site to help, it is easier to store party supplies, decorate the party venue, and receive responses from guests without the birthday guy or girl discovering your secret.

Like all parties, the best surprise birthday parties have a theme that relates to what the guest of honor likes. If they are casual, have a barbeque in the backyard or even a luau. If they are interested in good food, book the party at a nice restaurant that they have not tried. While the big reveal is the main focus of the fun, have something for guests to do afterward. Depending on the type of party, this can be dinner, games, swimming, or dancing.

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“Even the most minimal of minimalists in the world have a collection of something. We all collect, whether we set out to amass a collection or it happens organically, our affinity for one thing or another grows. And grows. And grows until you have no idea what to do with all of your seashells, rocks, clocks, or vintage buttons. To build a collection, one must combine passion, patience and connoisseurship. But to beautifully display a collection? This requires equal measures of organizational ingenuity and ruthless editing.”


I was inspired by this morning’s #DSArt challenge to round up great examples of the ways people have created artwork in their home from beautiful collections. From tiny deer figurines and mirror collections to stunning framed botanical prints and shadowboxed handkerchiefs, these homes have used so many creative ideas for displaying collections without them feeling overwhelming, or by relegating them to closed books and cabinets somewhere. I love the way these display ideas have brought treasured objects – even the most everyday objects like spoons – to life and turned them into a conversation piece in everyone’s homes. I hope they’ll be inspiring and perhaps lead to a little weekend re-decorating! xo, grace

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Bet You Didn’t Know: You Can Wash these 25 Things in the Dishwasher

“A dishwasher is one of the greatest gifts your kitchen can give you. No more scrubbing those heavy pots and pans. Dishwashers cut your clean-up time in half, making chores effortless. However, if your dishwasher is just cleaning your dishes it is not living up to its full potential. Along with dishes there are many other super dirty things that your dishwasher will clean and shine for you.  Learn about all of the items in your home that your dishwasher can sanitize and deodorize.”

Get ready! You’re about to have 25 clean things with just the push of a dishwasher button. You know you’re dying to see what you’ve been hand-washing when you didn’t have to. Read on for the full list.

  • plastic kids’ toys
  • (small) trash bins or lids
  • the rotating tray from your microwave
  • shower caddy
  • scummy soap dish
  • dirty sponges
  • household vent/light switch covers
  • vacuum attachments
  • shoes/rain boots

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You Might Want To Read This If Everyone Hates Your Boyfriend

“When you discover your parents strongly disapprove of your boyfriend, your first inclination will be to pull away from them and continue your dating relationship behind their back. This doesn’t do anybody any good. Never secretly date someone your parents don’t want you to date. Having secrets and lies between you and your parents ruins trust and causes needless stress and drama which will affect your self-esteem, grades, and even your other friends. Just because they are your parents and you don’t agree with them doesn’t make them dumb. In fact, the opposite is true. Although far from perfect, they have years of experience and wisdom you don’t. This can allow them to see the character faults in your bf a whole lot easier than you, especially if you’re blinded by the deep emotions you feel for your bf.”

image - Flickr / geir tønnessen

At some point, every woman will date someone of whom their friends and family won’t approve. I’m not talking about friends just disliking your partner over something trivial, but a deep-rooted hatred because, well, maybe the person you’re dating really is the worst thing in the world (here are 4 ways to tell). I had one of those, and everyone who loved me hated him. It just took me awhile to understand why, and when I did, I kicked myself for not seeing the light sooner.

I asked the ladies their thoughts on the matter. How does it feel when you’re dating someone whom all your friends and family despise and think is toxic? Do you tell your friends and family to eff off? Proceed with caution? Or call it quits with the person in question? Here’s what they had to say.

I don’t care. I do what I want.

“I usually take the rebellious road and continue at an even faster pace into the arms of disaster and self-destruction. And then regret. Which is basically why I gave up dating entirely,” says Sarah, 37.

If my friends and family don’t like them, I’m out.

“No, done, over, over immediately. But then, my parents like just about everyone, so if they disliked someone it would be because they had actively seen him axe murdering people,” says Jennifer, 27.

“Not a good idea to be with someone all your friends and family despise. It’s kinda like in the Portrait of a Lady…” says Mieko, 38.

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Broken home children are ‘five times more likely to suffer mental troubles

“Children from broken families are nearly five times more likely to suffer damaging mental troubles than those whose parents stay together, Government research has found. It also showed that two parents are much better than one if children are to avoid slipping into emotional distress and anti-social behaviour. The findings say that children’s family backgrounds are as important – if not more so – than whether their home is poor, jobless, has bad health, or has no one with any educational qualifications.”

single mother on housing estate

The research adds to a wealth of data that shows children suffer badly from divorce or parental break-up, and that those brought up by a single parent are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, and fall into crime, addiction and poverty as adults.

The report, funded by the Department of Health and published by the Office for National Statistics, investigated emotional disorders – ranked as those which cause considerable distress and interference with the way in which children perform at school and during play.

It also looked at conduct disorders which result in aggressive, violent or anti-social behaviour.

The researchers studied nearly 8,000 children aged between five and 16 in 2004 and found almost one in ten had disorders. The children were checked again last year.

The report said that a child whose parents had split during this time was more than four and a half times more likely to have developed an emotional disorder than one whose parents stayed together.

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Common Types of Patios

“Patio is a great area to unwind if in the home. Patio gives enjoyment and convenience for the household’s backyard garden routines and in addition provides you with protection and shade against extreme varying weather conditions. A well-designed patio won’t only increase the home’s curb appeal, but will also raise its resell price. If you find yourself considering of setting up a patio in the home, check out these 4 common types.”

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Dry-Laid Patio – A dry-laid patio is a good alternative for the knowledgeable do-it-yourself zealous. Putting in a dry-laid patio usually requires minimum skills and experience. This is a simple procedure for digging up the site for the patio, putting a bed of sand and placing the preferred design of paving stones on top. Additionally it is vital to possess suitable drainage in place to make sure rain water will be able to get away. The preferred stones in this type of patio include cut and natural stones.

Mortar Patio – Mortar patio is basically exactly like dry-laid style but rather than sand and gravel, it uses mortar. If you are living at a location where it usually rains or the climate varies from mild winters to hot summer, the sand is likely to wash down then gets sloping. This mortar is ideal to seal the stones and fill in the gaps within the stones. It is a lot more long lasting in comparison to dry-laid patio.

Slab Patio – A slab patio is praised for ability to accept a lot more weight than both the mortar or dry-laid patio.It’s more practical to rely on the professional companies to set up this kind of patio surface.They also will provide the specified size and shape for that patio and have the concrete put into the designed area.The concrete is continually leveled and smoothed till it is entirely set and dry.

Raised Patios – This particular patio happen to be growing its appeal simply because it provides elevation, dimension, and yard separation in the home. When it comes to the height of raised patios, there’s no limit yet generally they’re raised to the level of the house flooring from which they are often accessed. You should as well set up a retaining wall on it. A retaining wall is a structure that keeps or retains soil behind it.

Considering the fact that there are already different styles, structure and pattern of patios nowadays, it would not be that difficult for you to choose what to choose. You can check on magazines and the web to get more ideas and to finally understand what is great for your home. Budget is another consideration in regards to your final decision. Just keep in mind whatever you choose needs to be of your personal liking.

How to save money when buying home appliances

“Home appliances are one of the most expensive items to get. These are the basic guidelines that you need to think about when purchasing home appliances. Though, you may be interested in saving cash, you must make sure that goods you purchase are of high quality. Therefore you must avoid purchasing knock offs. To ensure that these products are of high quality, you must only buy items from reputable brands. It’s also advisable to ensure you purchase energy efficient appliances. This is because these appliances have low operational costs thus help you save a lot of money. The good aspect is the fact that you will find number of points that you can try to save some money when purchasing them.”

A. Look for discounted appliances

Discounts are common for just about any brand or manufacturers. There are specific season or month which they put their products on sale which is the same case with home appliances. Go to the store where these products are sold and check out if the item you are searching for is on sale. Bear in mind, don’t let yourself be lured to buy the stuff that aren’t required.

Tend not to get too ecstatic on your purchases, ensure you have checked the product first so that you can ensure that they do not have flaws and they’re still of high quality. And in addition, ensure that these appliances include full warranty.

B. Shop at outlet stores

Outlet shopping is the better place for shopping where popular brands of appliances are offered within the reach of an average consumer. You can also get here appliances which are no longer in the malls or already out of production but are nevertheless in good condition.Considering that appliances with scratches and dents are usually rejected in malls, they are often sent here. Scratches and dents are merely their physical flaws but quality continues to be same.

Outlet store is a really good alternative for those who are in a limited budget since you still buy quality appliances in lower price. In addition they offer warranty and servicing so there is absolutely no need to be concerned.Outlet stores are frequently located away from mainstream shopping malls; therefore, it’s not difficult to find them.

C. Shop in small appliance stores

You might not be aware but most of the times, local appliance offer a lower cost in comparison with large companies. These stores are normally owned by small organization and families. Also, another advantage in them is that give a very hands-on service. They are really willing to answer your queries and gives services right away.

D. Do your shopping during the holidays

These tips is basically useful to all kinds of items. Businesses and suppliers do always offer huge discount rates and other promos that are only offered in holidays. Therefore if the appliance you desire can still hold out, save up for the coming holidays.

To identify the stores that provide discounts, you should take a look at the Ads section of your local newspapers. You can even check out online advertisements and discover what your local stores have on offer.

Things to consider prior to home renovation

“Your time and effort is essential in the overall process of renovation. From planning, construction and completion everything must be carried out well. You should have an understanding of everything of the activity.Renovating won’t only basically concentrate on the appearance; it really is more than that. When you plan look at your funding, your family, their opinions and the overall safety of each and every one.”


Prior to a home makes the decision for a major renovation or remodeling initiatives in the home, it’s best to try taking some preventive actions and check list prior to doing it. Below are some pre-check tasks that you ought to carry out prior to doing such activity.

  • Try to recycle a few of the materials at home like wood, glass, metals and etc.
  • Pay close attention to what exactly is it you do not like and want to change in the house. Record them according to priority. Then again, try to choose a design that matches well to the entire family.
  • Check out the insulation and home’s envelope. Is there a need to improve the insulation level? Or check whether or not the room is completely sealed and with no air leaks.
  • Check out shower heads to find out if they need to be improved for energy-efficiency.
  • You might need professional guidance regarding your hot water system. An electric storage product could have the biggest greenhouse effects. If you have one, you should think about whether it is worthy of upgrading to a solar or natural gas system.
  • You might want to lower the energy use of your lighting. You will save cash in case you switch incandescent bulbs with warm white fluorescent bulbs. You can also use 50W halogen bulbs rather than lower wattage IRC bulbs. This would save energy.
  • Always remember on the health and safety of the household. Study the house and check for potential hazards like asbestos, lead, mold and silica hazards.

If you aren’t a property expert or design expert, remodeling with a minimal budget can be hard.That is why you need to seriously plan and think about everything you need to achieve in advance. It is easy to change your mind, increasing the scope of the job, as the renovation is going on.This may blow your costs out of proportion.

It’s always a wise idea to conduct a walk through and make a note of all you could see as you step up to the doorway and enter the home.Also, first impressions do always count.An excellent impression means that people thinks that the home is of more value.Once the designs as well as other components fuse well, it generates a more satisfying feeling.It’s best that you not just concentrate on one area and try to look in the exterior and interior areas of the home. You can actually explore creative yet budget friendly ways to improve the home. Accessories could also build a more pleasing and enhanced value of the house.

Do’s and Don’ts in Tile Maintenance

“Tile is known for its water resistance and easy cleaning. With the right maintenance routine, your tile floors, walls, and countertops will look great and last for years. Tiles are a major part of your home, impacting interior beauty, design, décor, comfort and livability. So it stands to reason that they be included on any home maintenance “to do” list. Taking care of your ceramic tile flooring investment will reward you and your home for many years to come. Plus, knowing what’s expected of you regarding tile flooring upkeep can be a determining factor in your purchase choices.”

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Regular home upkeep is necessary in just about every home. This will assist you in keeping it lively and wonderful for long. The Do’s and Don’ts to tilling may help you go a long way together with tiling routines.


  • Prior to flooring arrangement, make sure that the dust and other particles are taken out
  • Check the scouring powders and the sealants on a small floor before putting it on to the whole area.
  • Use grout joint cleaning products, with a sealer that is definitely suitable to it.
  • Use a soap and water mixture to take out all the residues and thoroughly clean the surface.
  • For any damages and broken parts, seek the help of a professional companies to get it done the right way.


  • In case of routine maintenance, there’s no need to regularly use bleach and acid.
  • Do not use wax based cleaners, oil-based detergents or sealants to maintain your tile (sealants can be used on grout joints).
  • Do not use harsh cleaning materials for example steel wool pads which could scratch or damage the surface of your tile.
  • Colored cleaning agents might only give you further more trouble.

Tile Care

Clean tile with mild detergent and clean water, using a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a cloth or sponge mop. The latter shoves dirty water into grout lines and causes them to be tougher to clean up. Be sure to change the water frequently while mopping; dirty water implies a cloudy floor. Do this at least once weekly.

Cleaning Solutions

Different tiling solutions require different cleaning solutions. Clean glazed products, those are home-based and non-oily whilst being a grout-joint-cleaning-compatible solution. For on a daily basis cleaning solutions, it is possible to use a spray based cleaning solution. Spills, oil and grease must be cleaned with neutral tile cleaners which are PH safe for regular use.


Lessening tile deterioration, at entryways and exits need quality floor mats. It is actually useful in minimizing any type of spots or marks. Mats, both outdoors and just inside of each door, may go a long way towards avoiding dirt from tracking in – just be certain you clean up the mats often. Making a habit of taking your shoes off at the door will help too.

And the other way to protect the tile is to put protective pads on the edges of your furniture or the furniture legs so that you can lower the rust, stains and marks over time.

By just adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that the tiles in your home will shine and look as if brand new.