5 December 2018

4 Reasons Why a Heat Pump is a Good Alternative to a Furnace in Warmer Climates


When it comes to heating solutions that will get you through a harsh winter, many people go with furnaces as their top choice. After all, they're much better at warming up a house than a heat pump — right? The truth is that for many homeowners, heat pumps are often a better choice. Consider these four reasons a heat pump is better for warmer climates than using a furnace.

No External Fuel Source Is Needed
Much like an air conditioner, a heat pump works without needing an external fuel source. This is different than furnaces and other systems, for example, that run on something like natural gas or oil. Additional fuels can be remarkably expensive in colder climates, and in the case of things like oil, you'll have to order new fuel throughout the year to keep your house warm. But even in the case of natural gas, you'll have to worry about extra utilities to run a furnace.

Of course, the extra step of needing fuel isn't just expensive and an inconvenience. Heat pumps are wonderfully efficient and have a reduced environmental impact.

Heat Pumps Are More Effective Than a Furnace on Rare Chilly Days
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Image via Flickr by s_p_a_c_e_m_a_n

Heat pumps are great for providing medium and high heat. These systems are also known for providing more consistent and more even comfort than what you'll get from a furnace. This is ideal for those days when the temperature suddenly drops. A furnace takes a while to get a house to a comfortable temperature initially, but then it can maintain it just fine. A heat pump is much better at bringing the heat when you find yourself suddenly needing it.

A Heat Pump Can Double as an Air Conditioner
Despite their name, heat pumps are equally capable of cooling and warming a home. When you need heat, the system circulates warm air up, pumping it into the property. In hot weather, the system reverses. It pulls the warm air down, moving the heat out of the home. This is a benefit even in especially hot climates. 

Though a heat pump may not be enough to replace an air conditioner completely, it can help traditional cooling systems run more efficiently.

Some Heat Pumps Are Smart
Heat pumps have some of the “smart” technologies you'll find in a smart thermostat, such as timer controls, so you can manage when you raise and lower the heat and smartphone access via a Wi-Fi connection and app. An HVAC company can come out to your home and evaluate whether it can accommodate a heat pump, so you can move forward with a new system. You'll also get a chance to learn about smart options to help your new pump run as efficiently as possible.

Heat pumps have many benefits that you won't get with a furnace. However, they do require annual maintenance to keep them in top shape. If you're curious about adding one of these systems to your home, work with a local technician to analyze your property, inform you about the latest heat pumps available, and set up a maintenance agreement to keep the system running well for years to come.




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1 December 2018

Using Rugs as a Design Element

Using rugs as a design element is a great way to add affordable comfort to your home. Roth Rugs allows you to customize your home and create a traditional, modern, country or eclectic style. Rugs can totally change the look of a room, making it appear more exciting, polished or warm. Rugs can also tie various elements of design together.

Traditional rugs for living room areas can define the space, creating a formal living area in a home with a more open floor plan. In fact, rugs are a great design element to add to any open plan for this reason.

You can also use rugs to introduce either variety or harmony into your living space. Using two different rugs in one large room creates a separation which can work wonderfully for creating different conversational groupings. On the other hand, if you have a smaller room with a variety of design elements, using one larger rug with design and colors that work with the various aspects of the room, you can help create a harmonious look. Don't be afraid of using patterns even if you are attempting to create a harmonious space. As long as you choose a rug that includes and blends existing elements, the rug will work.

If you already have a rug in mind, you can use it as the jumping off point for a color scheme for your entire room. Choose coordinating colors from the rug for upholstery and accent pieces. If your existing pieces are flamboyant, you will want to choose a rug pattern that is more subdued. On the other hand, if your room is a little too conservative for your tastes, selecting a rug with a stimulating pattern can be a great way to liven the area up.

Don't get stuck on the idea that your rug has to be a traditional rectangle. Square, oval and round rugs are all readily available and can add visual interest. The main factor when selecting traditional rugs for living room areas is to choose the right size. You want a little of the floor to show around the perimeter of the room. This makes the rug seem intentional and the room will seem a little larger.

Roth Rugs have a variety of rugs to choose from. This large selection allows you to select the right choice for your home. Adding a rug to your living room is a great way to boost style without making a huge investment.


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5 November 2018

Expert Cleaning Services are Easier to Obtain Than Ever Before

Are you in need of expert cleaning services in North Hollywood? If so, you're in luck. A whole new world of expert cleaning services has opened up to give you the best possible customer experience.

Maid service has recently reached an all time high as far as quality. An astute home owner can now claim the very best personalized cleaning service that the San Fernando Valley area has ever seen. The time for you to learn more about these exciting new cleaning services is now.

State of the Art Cleaning Services are Now Available in the Valley 
One of the biggest advantages that comes with living in the scenic San Fernando Valley area is the access that you have to state of the art cleaning services. When it comes time to hire the bi-weekly cleaning services San Fernando Valley CA residents rely on, you can be sure that you will be getting the best possible deal. This is the personal pledge of quality that you will receive from the top maid cleaning services in the area.

There is Never a Need to Skimp on Quality to Save Money 
The first thing that you should keep in mind is that there is never a need to skimp on quality or cut corners to save a few pennies. The full house cleaning services that are provided by a reputable and professional maid service are always top notch. It's up to you to make known exactly what you need and how long you will require it for. A professional cleaning service will be equipped to take care of the rest. The sooner you make your needs known, the sooner you can get your home professionally cleaned.

The Time for You to Clean House is Now 
If you are ready to clean house in the most literal sense of the word, the time for you to get started is now. You can hire a top notch professional maid service in North Hollywood or the San Fernando Valley. These are the experts to call upon,


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27 July 2018

Getting the Most out of Activewear

If the man in your life likes the casual look, items of activewear can make great gifts. Right now, menswear retailers like jacamo.co.uk offer a really good selection. Importantly, this firm sells this style of clothing in a wide range of sizes. As you will see, using modern track tops, jog pants and tops it is easy for any man to be comfortable and still look good. Here is a quick roundup of what is available with a few ideas of how the modern man could wear them.

Track Tops 
Narrow cut track tops are available in both fleece and heavy cotton. They are designed to b3 worn with track bottoms or joggers. However, modern track tops can also look good when worn with jeans and a t-shirt. They are lightweight enough to chuck in the back of the car to wear on a summer evening. In the winter, they are great for wearing under another coat when you are working outdoors or walking the dog.

Pullover hoodies 
Your husband will not get much use out of this style of hoody in the summer, but in the colder weather, they come in very handy. The fact that there is no zip or another type of opening down the front means the wind cannot get in. Plus, the fact that they have a hood makes them perfect for keeping the head warm.

Tracksuits 
For the man that likes an overall look, a tracksuit is a great option. The woven style is particularly good at the moment. These are typically made from lighter fabric that is a mix of cotton and man-made fibres like polyester. This style of fabric does not crease easily and can easily withstand being squeezed into a suitcase for a holiday. The fact that most of this year’s tracksuits feature a drawcord waist and cuffed trousers means they are really comfortable to wear while working.

2018 short styles 
Longer shorts, which finish just above the knees, are the most widely available. If your man prefers something shorter skip to the swim and walking shorts sections to find what you need.

Finish off your activewear look using trainers 
Generally speaking, trainers are the best option for the activewear look. The retro trend from last year appears to have continued into 2018. This is great news because this style of trainers looks particularly good when worn with the tracksuits and joggers that are around at the moment.

The right hat 
It is a bit hot to be wearing hats, but baseball caps with mesh sections can be OK to wear. They keep the sun off the face and because the air can circulate the wearer should not feel unbearably hot.

More activewear related fashion ideas 
If you like the idea of creating an activewear based capsule wardrobe for yourself as well as your man you can use this Pinterest board for inspiration. There you will find links to numerous articles on that very subject. On the other hand, if you prefer a more traditional look, you may prefer to read this article which shows you how to turn 15 items into 75 outfits.


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6 July 2018

Singing and Hoping

Sing for Hope is a New York-based nonprofit that uses the power of art to revitalize communities. The group sponsors the Sing for Hope Pianos project, which places brightly painted pianos in parks and other community spaces throughout New York City. The annual Sing for Hope Piano project is one of the Big Apple’s largest public art installations and allows people in all five boroughs to sing a song of hope.

History
In 2005, the opera singer Monica Yunus organized a series of musical events to help raise relief funds for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. A decade earlier, her close friend Camille Zamora had organized and evening of arias and other music, which she called “Sing for Hope,” to celebrate the life of a friend who had recently died of AIDs. The two women resolved to use “Sing for Hope” as the name for an organization they would found together.

Since its inception, Sing for Hope has brought together all types of artists from painters and photographers to classical musicians. What these artists share is a dedication to raising public consciousness around necessary social change. These artists offer their talents at no charge within the city’s public school system.

The Sing for Hope Pianos Project

In 2011, Sing for Hope acquired 60 pianos, which were painted by children in the New York City public school system working side by side with professional artists. These pianos were placed in public spaces throughout the city before being donated to hospitals and schools with whom Sing for Hope maintains relationships. In 2012, Sing for Hope increased the number of pianos to 88: one for each of the 88 keys on the piano.

Sing for Hope and New York’s School Children
In the years following its inception, Sing for Hope has developed ambitious programming for New York school children that includes classes and workshops in all the performing arts. Sing for Hope’s programming is offered to these children free of charge. Sing for Hope also sponsors a leadership training program in which kids gain skills like event planning, networking, and promotional campaigning.


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14 June 2018

Ways to eliminate stress from your life

We all lead busy, hectic lives. So, it’s no wonder that our stress levels are usually set to high. We might be able to escape for a couple of weeks a year with an annual holiday – but even that isn’t always stress free, and the main source of our stress is usually waiting for us back home!

Stress and anxiety doesn’t have to be a major part of everyday life. So, to help, we’ve come up with some helpful ways you can reduce stress, take a step back and get into life’s normal rhythm once more.

Surround yourself with greenery 
Do you have a garden? Getting out into nature is an effective and natural stress reliever. If your garden is more of a concrete yard then don’t worry, you could buy shrubs & hedges from The Tree Center or spruce up your balcony with some large flower pots overflowing with beautiful blooms.

Studies have shown that heading outdoors and surrounding yourself with nature lowers your blood pressure, calms your heart rate and helps you breathe easier. The sounds and sights of nature alone are enough to distract you from overpowering stress. Go on, take a walk.

Listen to music 
It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by a stressful situation, a tight deadline or something you’re dreading fast approaching on your calendar. Take a step back and remove yourself, give your self a break and put on some music. You could listen to some specifically calming music, which is aimed at reducing stress – something classical, spa like, or you could even try some whale music! Alternatively, you could listen to a favourite playlist and loose yourself for a few moments in the sounds and lyrics that you love.

Talk 
Having a close friend or a family member is like finding a light switch in a dark room. Once you switch it on, you can see and feel things much more clearly. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, simply take a break – pick up your phone and talk to someone you know and love. They’ll understand and be pleased that you’ve shared your problems with them. The calming, reassuring voice of someone you love will help – and if they can make you smile, even better.

Your diet 
You’ll be surprised at how closely linked stress levels and diet really are. Think about it; when we’re stressed, we don’t usually eat right – or eat at all – and we’ll probably reach out for something quick, fatty and full of sugar for a boost of energy, or to make us feel better. This usually means that we crash out a few hours later, feel lethargic and the circle of bad diet and stress begins again.

It’s not always doable but try to plan ahead – especially if you have big deadlines coming up. Make sure your fridge or lunch bag is filled with lots of colourful fruit and veggies. Try to eat snacks and meals that are a good balance of all the main food groups. You can always reward yourself, later!


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Exercising Safety When You’re Over 70

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy, and this is true well into your seventies as much as it is true when you are younger.

Exercise keeps you both physically and mentally sharp: You are less likely to develop issues such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. You don’t have to worry if you’re already on the older side of life and decide that you want to start exercising now; it’s never too late to start being healthier.

Here’s what you should keep in mind if you want to exercise safely when you are past seventy.

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A Personal Trainer 
An exercise plan is never something that you should work out on your own. First, many people might push themselves too far without knowing it, or they might be working on the completely wrong areas of their body and do damage to themselves. You should make use of a personal trainer who can calculate what you should and should not be doing: This way, you know that your exercise plan suits your individual needs.

Staying Hydrated 
You should always stay hydrated: This counts for when you’re exercising, after you’re done and before you even start. It’s recommended that you drink at least eight glasses of water per day, though for some people it’s a little more or a little less than this number.

You can supplement your dietary needs with fruit juice and milk, too: They are just as good for you, and they contain some nutritional value at the same time.

Stretching 
You should stretch before and after you exercise: Yes, this means always – and it’s not just something that people used to tell you when you were younger.

Stretching before you undertake exercise means that your muscles are ready for the exercise you’re about to undergo; stretching when you’re done means that your body gets a chance to relax after being put under stress. If you stretch, you will find that exercise hurts less and that it gets easier to do every time you do it.

Massage 
Along with stretching, massage can also do a lot for your muscles – but it’s not limited to just before and after you exercise. A good massage can literally do wonders for your health, and could help especially when you get older and need to do something about the pain in your muscles that comes with daily life.

A professional massage therapist will know just what to press and where to make you feel better – and you’ll be surprised at just how much of a difference it can make to your health in the long run.

Watching Your Vitals 
You should keep an eye on your vital signs while you exercise. This is especially true when you are getting older, even if you don’t know of any existing health conditions. Information like your blood pressure is vital in taking care of your health – and sending this information over to your doctor at the same time means that they, too, can keep an eye on your health.

This is where a medical alert device comes in handy: It will monitor your signs and your progress while making this information available to you so that you can see your own progress, and to your doctor so that they can spot when there’s anything related to your health that needs a closer eye. It can even save your life in the case of a medical emergency. Review before you buy to ensure that you find the best quality product that meets your needs.


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11 June 2018

The Best Health Advice for Seniors in 2018

Getting older doesn’t necessarily have to mean accepting that your health is going to sharply decline. In fact, we now know more than ever before about how to maintain our health as we age and to stay safe. Here are some of the best tips that you can pass on to the seniors in your life in 2018.

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Health Advice for the Elderly 
Medical Attention: None of us likes going to the doctor and will normally put it off for as long as possible. This goes doubly for elderly relatives who are often quite stubborn about such issues and less concerned about their health which means they can end up living with unnecessary illnesses and pains. Make sure that you encourage your relatives to see a doctor when they need to and that you help them to stick to any course of exercise or medication. You also need to ensure that they are generally looking after themselves and that means turning the heating on and eating well – and this is something else homecare agencies can help with.

Exercise: Exercise in general is very important for your older relatives so make sure they are getting some. Whether this means getting them to join a club like bowls, or just to do more walking or even some calisthenics at home it will help them in any case to develop their strength and prevent injury and joint pain.

Movement in general is also very important. Do not allow your loved ones to give in to the temptation to stop going out or engaging in activities. This is when muscles start wasting, bones become brittle, and poor movement patterns set in. This leads to injury, which leads to less movement, which leads to cognitive decline: it is a vicious cycle. Even just a little daily walk can make a huge difference and will also provide vitamin D to further strengthen the bones.

Socializing: Many people once they reach old age will stop socializing and going out which is of course a huge shame and will cause them to become much older much faster. Show your loved ones that just because they are older, they don't necessarily have to shut themselves away and there are still plenty of ways they can socialize going out for coffee or to the pub as they would have used to. If they don't know many people anymore then suggest they join a class or a club or even that they volunteer somewhere.

Even Skype will do a good job!

Disabled Access: If your Mum or Dad is starting to struggle to get around then putting a handrail in the bathroom or widening the corridors for a wheelchair can make a world of difference. This is something else you need to encourage without condescending.

Medical Alert System: An alert device is something that you wear or keep around the house and then can activate when you need help. Perhaps you would use this when you take a fall, or when you have some kind of attack for instance.

Even better are those that combine in-built GPS tracking, or perhaps sensors that can automatically detect problems with the heart rate.

Some elderly patients might be resistant to the idea of having their health and movement tracked. But responding quickly to a problem can be the difference between life and death – or prevent a life-changing accident. Something as simple as a broken hip can often be the start of a very steep and serious downward decline, which is why it is so important to take precautions even when they’re not necessary – so they’ll be there when they are!


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5 June 2018

Fast Ways to Transform a Bedroom

When you have moved as often as we have, you become very good at quickly making your new property feel homely. Getting the kids settled into their bedroom is particularly important. For children, their bedroom is a very important place. It is somewhere they can pass the time knowing they will be out of the way while you unpack. They can play there, speak to friends, watch some shows, and get their homework done and really chill out.

Fortunately, once you know what you are doing, you can usually get your child´s bedroom sorted out in a day or two. Your own too, if you want to. Here are the quick changes you will need to make.

Bedding and window coverings 
If you know what color scheme or theme your child wants for their new room order their new bedding before you move. You can click here and easily do it. That way you can throw their old covers away and unpack their new ones when you get there.

If you are planning to hang new curtains order those in advance too. You can ask the owner to measure the window for you or better still do it yourself on one of your inspection visits.

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Decorate before you put anything into the room 
Decorating an empty room is far easier than trying to paint or wallpaper one that has everything in it. So, if practical, make other sleeping arrangements for the children until their room is decorated. Perhaps they can stay with a relative for the first week or sleep on an airbed in the living room.

Work from the top down 
Start by painting the ceiling and hanging a new light fixture. If the ceiling is already in good condition, skip this task. It is bound to give you a neck ache, so only do it if it is absolutely essential. Next tackle the walls, then the skirting and the floors.

Paint a room fast 
Provided you are organized, two of you can roller paint a bedroom in a few hours. Once your children are old enough they will be able to pitch in and help. In which case, the job will go even faster. You can learn how to paint a room quickly by watching this short YouTube video.

Another approach that works well is to use wall stickers. These go up a lot faster than wallpaper does and it is nowhere near as messy.

Sort out the flooring 
If you have to renew the floors, laminate flooring is a great option. It goes down fast, is available in a huge range of designs and looks fantastic. The walls should dry out while you are laying the floor. So, immediately it is down you will be able to move the furniture in and make the bed.

Keeping things organized 
Redecorating a bedroom or moving everyone into rooms in a new home provides you with an opportunity to get things better organized. It is the perfect time to get everyone to go through their stuff and throw away anything they no longer use. You also get the chance to upgrade the storage. I am a bit of a storage guru, if you need any inspiration, click here to read the first post in the 7 part series I wrote on that very subject.

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1 May 2018

2018 Books - April

I read 10 books this month.

If a book makes it to this list on my blog, you can assume I enjoyed and would recommend it (unless otherwise noted) - if I'm not enjoying a book, I stop reading it and move onto the next one. Life's too short and there are too many great books in the world to waste time reading ones that I don't enjoy! (Contains affiliate links.)   


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon


The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty


The Lying Game by Ruth Ware


Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding

 
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain


People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper


The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright


The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

 
Echo Burning (Jack Reacher #5) by Lee Child


 Without Fail (Jack Reacher #6) by Lee Child


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