Honor Achievements with Flowers on Women’s Day
(Family Features) Flowers are given to celebrate achievements of all sizes, from celebrating a birthday to achieving a personal goal – such as buying a new home or getting a promotion. Commemorating meaningful moments is a thoughtful way of sending thanks, encouragement and recognition.
International Women’s Day, celebrated annually on March 8, is a contemporary way to honor the milestones of the women in your life. Women’s Day pays homage to the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. According to a recent survey, in the past year, 40 percent of U.S. women have achieved a personal milestone, including overcoming a health issue, learning a new life skill or having a child.
As the people important to you celebrate accomplishments of all sizes, consider that flowers are the one gift that Rutgers University research says makes people truly smile. And, on March 8, whether out of respect, appreciation or love – keep these flower-giving tips in mind:
Talk to your florist. Professional florists are experts in helping people express their feelings, so consult with your local florist to send the right gift to make a memorable impact on the recipient. Let them know if you have preferences for specific flowers or colors, but be open to creative suggestions you may not have thought of.
Consider her achievement. While you may not know exactly what you want, think about whether the occasion would warrant a more formal arrangement or a more casual, whimsical style. Is she likely to prefer more traditional or trendy flower designs?
Describe her personality. Convey her favorite hobbies or colors and other personal details so your florist can match the floral arrangement with the recipient's tastes.
Describe where the arrangement will be placed. Your florist can create an arrangement that complements the style and colors of a home, office or other space. This information can also help your florist determine the appropriate size of the arrangement and may influence the best type of flowers to celebrate the accomplishment.
Explore more ideas to make your floral gifts special at aboutflowers.com. Know a high school senior or college student? Visit aboutflowers.com/scholarship to learn more about an essay scholarship celebrating women’s accomplishments, offered through a partnership of the Society of American Florists and American Business Women’s Association. The scholarship application deadline is March 8.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(BPT) - Whether inspired by countless cable shows or the desire to have the perfect kitchen, more Americans are doing their own home improvement projects. Laying hardwood floors, installing plumbing and replacing windows has become another DIY task like changing your oil.
Consider these following tips in determining how to tackle your next job.
Assess the job
Define what you want to accomplish. Determine your timetable, budget and the project scale and scope. Match your tools from there.
Research the project and tools
Many people turn to professionals for jobs they could do themselves because they don't know what tools they need. To avoid the high cost of hiring a professional, research tool reviews, equipment magazines and even retailer websites like Northern Tool + Equipment to help guide you with your tool selection.
One’s skill level also plays a factor when it comes time to choose a tool. A veteran DIYer might not need some tools someone performing a project for the first time might. And to fit these needs, purchasing specialized tools like the Ironton Rotary Hammer Drill allows you to do a specific task — like drilling through concrete — while avoiding the cost of hiring a contractor.
Look in depth at the tool you need to buy and at the different brands on the market that fit for your budget. Private label brands often offer value. And instead of bouncing from one hardware store to the next, utilize product comparison tools online to compare and contrast product life, value, capabilities and quality to determine the best ROI.
While DIY projects often save money, they also provide an enhanced pride in ownership associated with seeing your handiwork. With the right tools, you can tackle any home improvement project. Ultimately it’s the person who makes the tool, not vice versa. So grab your tool belt, slide on your work gloves and get it done.
Easy Ways to Manage Your Whole Home in Zones
(Family Features) You’ve been taught from childhood to turn off the lights when you leave a room to save energy and money. Now, technology is allowing homeowners to apply those years of training to managing energy consumption – and comfort – on a room-by-room basis throughout the house.
Options to create ambiance
Likewise, there are dozens of reasons to change the lighting from room to room. Kids shuffle from room to room and guests gravitate to different parts of the house, or you may simply want to give the appearance that someone is home when you’re on the road. These are all good reasons to explore a system that lets you adjust your home’s lighting from a single location.
Zoned climate control
“Cooling or heating unused areas of your home means using less energy,” said Mike Smith, senior marketing manager, residential, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. Cooling & Heating Division. “By creating zones, homeowners can feel confident that they are not only saving money, but living smarter and more comfortably.”
Options, such as Mitsubishi Electric’s zoned Diamond Comfort System, create efficient, whole-home cooling and heating solutions, offering year-round comfort control room-by-room. The whisper-quiet units also feature an anti-allergen filtration system to reduce allergens, dust, pollen, viruses and bacteria in the home. Learn more at MitsubishiComfort.com.
For example, the kumo cloud smart controls app integrates seamlessly with Mitsubishi Electric systems allowing the homeowner to control the temperature of each room in the house from anywhere. The tool takes pre-programmed thermostats to a whole new level with greater flexibility, such as the ability to boost the heat when you’re home earlier than planned. Learn more about the app, which is also compatible with other devices, at MitsubishiComfort.com.
Get a Fresh Look with Easy Furniture Updates
(Family Features) When you grow bored with your furnishings or want to change up the look and feel of a room, you may find yourself trying to put off redecorating until you have a bigger budget. Instead, you can give the furniture you already have a unique, fresh look at a fraction of the cost.
These projects from the crafting experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores show how easy it can be to transform a tired old desk or a basic dining chair into one-of-a-kind pieces that complement your space perfectly.
Chalk Acrylic Paint Desk
Sitting Pretty Painted Chair
Supplies and Tools:
Find more ideas for crafty ways to update your furnishings at joann.com.
Get Motivated to Get Organized
Simple tips to complete a closet makeover
(Family Features) It’s that time of year when you think about getting organized for a fresh new start. But how many times have you thought about finally clearing out your closet, decided it’s just too overwhelming, and simply shut the door only to think about it later?
“Let’s face it, most of us put cleaning out and organizing our closets at the top of our New Year’s resolutions’ list every single year,” said Barbara Reich, professional organizer. “But how many of us just think about it without actually doing it? To get serious and take action, you need a plan of attack.”
Once you make a commitment and get on board with the project, go from there with these tips from Reich.
Upgrade Your Kitchen This New Year
(Family Features) As the calendar turns over a new page, many homeowners begin contemplating upgrades and home repairs for the coming year. The kitchen is one of the most common rooms for these efforts, but if a full-fledged renovation is out of your budget, you can still make a noticeable difference in other ways.
Revamp your kitchen
A stainless steel range is a good starting point for a sleek new kitchen look. The Kenmore PRO Self-Clean Dual True Convection Range gives the appearance of a built-in and offers front control design so you can operate the oven and range without reaching over a heat source. With Accela-Heat technology, the oven uses sensors to drive a powerful convection element and accurately controls two fans to transfer heat to the food, saving time by significantly reducing the preheating.
Another upgrade that can add functionality to your kitchen is a convection microwave, which, in addition to warming, can bake and roast foods for great meals in minutes.
After preparing a meal in your new kitchen, clean up like a pro with a dishwasher featuring professional-grade details. For example, a spray arm in the Kenmore PRO 24-inch Built-In Dishwasher goes beyond the traditional circle with a full-coverage, spiral pattern that reaches deep to clean every dish, while rotating spray jets let you skip soaking and still target baked-on, caked-on messes.
In addition to purchasing new appliances, homeowners can easily create a new mood in their kitchens by replacing cabinets. Often, you can schedule a free in-home consultation with a licensed professional to discuss cabinet door styles, colors and hardware – such as hinges, knobs and pulls – and receive an estimate.
Protect your investment
Another way to plan ahead for breakdowns is to invest in a home warranty that helps pay for the repair or replacement of the vital systems and appliances that keep your home running. With one monthly fee, a Sears Home Services Home Warranty Plan helps you prepare financially for these costs, which your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover.
Find more inspired ideas to upgrade your kitchen at searshomeservices.com.
(BPT) - Are you planning a bathroom remodel in 2016? If so, you’re not alone; the National Association of Homebuilders predicts a 6 percent increase in remodeling in the coming year. Some of those remodeling homeowners will seek upgrades to transform their bathrooms into true oases of luxury, beauty and efficient functionality.
Bathroom renovations remain among the most popular home improvement projects, and can greatly enhance not only real estate value but your enjoyment of your home as well. From high-end fixtures that clean themselves to smart showers, here are leading-edge bathroom upgrades that add luxury and value to your bath:
The fixtures of tomorrow
Space-age technology now meets timeless design in luxury fixtures like the Neorest 750H by TOTO. While the toilet’s sleek, contemporary styling compliments a variety of modern bathroom design themes, its Actilight technology uses ultra-violet light and a special glaze to break down dirt in the bowl and rinse it clean with ewater+, a system that mists and cleans the bowl with electrolyzed water after every flush. A heated seat, deodorizer and warm water personal cleansing system elevate this high-tech sensor toilet to a relaxing and refreshing experience.
The ewater+ system is also a key technology feature of TOTO’s Washlet S350e. Ergonomically contoured to make personal cleanliness more comfortable, the Washlet is fully automated and includes a remote control and heated seat, warm aerated cleansing, a self-cleaning dual-action spray wand, warm air dryer and built-in deodorizing system.
The idea of a shower as a place to relax — rather than to just get clean — has been around for a long time, but modern technology is taking the concept to the next level. From showers that can function both as traditional spray showers and steam showers, to “smart showers” that allow you to program customized temperature, pressure and spray settings for multiple users, a variety of high-tech, luxury upgrades are transforming the simple shower into a customized experience.
Smart showers can also be remote-controlled, allowing you to start the water flow and set the temperature before stepping into the shower — ensuring you’ll never again get an unpleasant temperature surprise. You can also choose to install a water-proof sound system that allows you to stream your favorite music from a mobile device and listen through multiple speakers, including one in the shower head itself.
If you’re a bathroom multi-tasker, smart mirrors can make life easier and help you keep step with the busy pace of your lifestyle. On the simple end of smarter mirrors, an anti-fog bathroom mirrors use heat and/or special coatings to ensure mirrors remain free of condensation even after the hottest shower — so you never have to wait for the mirror to clear or wipe of fog and live with the streaks.
On the higher end are digital mirrors that incorporate a touchscreen display, WiFi, TV and Internet functionality. Some also allow you to use favorite apps, so you can check the weather or scan emails while shaving or doing your hair.
Digital electronic faucets
Touch-free faucets have been around for a while, but modern digital electronic faucets do far more than turn on without the touch of a finger. Electronic faucets also use infrared technology to turn off when a user’s hand moves away. Digital features also allow users to see the temperature of the water and program the temperature and the duration of the flow, so you don’t have to touch the faucet to turn it on or off while brushing your teeth. You can even find faucets that feature touchscreen technology so you can not only control temperature, but monitor your water usage too.
An upscale bathroom remodel returns nearly 60 percent of its cost at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report. However, when you opt for luxury bathroom upgrades, your investment can enrich your enjoyment of your home far beyond the monetary value of the improvements.
(BPT) - As soon as the first morning frost appears and the first snowflakes start to pile up, many begin looking forward to spring. Images of green leaves, red and orange blossoms, fresh vegetables and herbs help keep the cold winter days manageable as you wait for the ground to thaw so you can start planting. A good green thumb knows early starts in the garden or yard ensure lush, healthy plants, especially if you’re planting trees.
Many people do not realize that they shouldn’t wait for summer. Young trees do best when they are put into the ground in spring and have ample time to establish themselves in the soil before either extremes of heat of cold hit.
Therefore, if part of your winter landscaping daydreams include planting trees, it’s important to know you’ll need to be ready to plant early. Winter is an opportunity to begin planning.
Five simple ways trees are practical and beautiful
Few things can be so practical and as beautiful as a tree. It’s no wonder that with the rising popularity of the do-it-yourself lifestyle, more people are deciding to plant trees in their yard. Here are five simple reasons why:
1. A mature tree can add up to $10,000 to your property value.
2. Trees can reduce energy costs by providing shade to a house in the summer.
3. Trees naturally offset carbon emissions.
4. Because many change from season to season, trees add a variety of different colors to your yard and allow for a range of creative choices and combinations.
5. Trees help make memories. Watching a tree grow in your yard from year to year builds a connection between you, your family, your home and the memories you make there.
An easy way to get started
The nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation is encouraging people to get an early start on their tree planting this year by offering 10 free flowering trees with a $10 membership. Which 10 flowering trees a new member will receive is based on what the state forester recommends or other trees selected for your area to ensure they thrive when planted.
The 6 to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow and are currently scheduled to be shipped in March or April, a perfect time for optimal, early season planting. So if you’re already getting excited about spring projects, visit www.arborday.org/earlyplanting to make sure your trees arrive at the right time for planting where you live.
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