spreading-concrete-basement-floor
Home & Garden

5 Awesome Basement Renovation Ideas

If the current status of your basement involves cold concrete floors and dark, creepy corners filled with boxes of junk, it can be hard to really see past all of that and imagine it as a whole new space that can actually look cozy and welcoming. The reality is, with a few good renos, you can really utilize that extra room, and provide you and your family with a warm and inviting living space.

So if you’ve been considering remodelling your basement, here are 5 awesome renos ideas that can help inspire you and help you imagine just how amazing that basement can look.

A Giant Playhouse for the Kids

Tight on space for the kids? Sick of tripping over toys? Well, why not turn the basement into a giant play area where they can spend time with their friends and get creative until their hearts are content? It’s the perfect space where you can get creative by installing cozy carpeting, add some fun and colourful furniture to the mix, and wow the kids with an area that’s all for them.

The Ultimate Games Room

Forget the kids – what adult doesn’t dream of having a games room? Create your perfect gaming den for when you have the neighbours or friends over. Begin by planning out what your priorities are – area for the big screen, the darts board, maybe even the pool table – you can customize your space for your own personal style.

The Wine Cellar

So maybe games aren’t your thing, but maybe wine is! Imagine having your friends or family over and asking them to go grab a bottle of wine – from the cellar! Stop dreaming. It’s a lot easier to have than you think. With a few customized shelves, and the perfect design and décor, you can have your very own sultry cellar in the comfort of your basement.

 The Zen Room

Sometimes, all we really need is to have our own peaceful Zen space to relax, mediate or dive into a good book. Although it may be difficult to envision it now, with the right designs and handyman to get the job done, you can have your own peaceful Zen room where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the world whenever you choose.

The Bar

Instead of paying a fortune at the local bar each weekend, turn your basement into the ultimate hotspot for Friday nights with your friends. You can become the cocktail master right in the comfort of home.

So give your basement a chance to shine. If you learn to look past the concrete and boxes, we guarantee once you place your design in the right sets of hands, we’ll create that perfect extra space in your home that you never thought was possible.

child-running-through-water-park
Family, Toronto News

Toronto Events: July 2017

As Canada’s 150th birthday rolls around, Toronto will truly be more alive than ever before. There is a stunning and mind-boggling array of events on offer throughout the month of July, and there’s certainly something on offer for everyone. Rest assured, you won’t be short on fun and exciting experiences.

Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival (July 1-3)

Making full use of the revitalized Queen’s Quay and Waterfront, the Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival offers a dynamic range of interactive on-land activities. Featuring the West Coast Lumberjack Show, exciting entertainment from Rhythm of the Nation, a visit from one of the Royal Canadian Navy’s 440-foot naval frigates, the popular Artisan Market, and yes, the much-discussed visit of the World’s Largest Rubber Duck, the Waterfront neighbourhood is sure to experience a frenzy of delights and exciting activities sure to please all ages. Come and Canuck it up!

Toronto Fringe Festival (July 5-16)

Calling all artists and art-lovers — the annual Toronto Fringe Festival is coming back! Showcasing 160 plays at 35 venues as well as 50 free events at the Fringe Club at Scaddling Court, Ontario’s largest theatre and performance art festival is guaranteed to blow your mind and endlessly inspire. With highly affordable $12 tickets for all fee-based events, Toronto Fringe Festival offers easy and budget-friendly accessibility to cutting-edge indie and grassroots artistic exhibitions for those in need of a heavy dose of vibrant culture.

Honda Indy Toronto (July 14-16)

For a rush of excitement and rip-roaring energy, look no further than the Honda Honda Indy Toronto. Held at Exhibition Place, this automotive celebration offers a vast array of activities including children’s activities such as golfing and face painting, complimentary midway-style snacks, driver autograph sessions, interactive exhibits, live entertainment, vehicle showcases, beer gardens, and plenty more for thrill-seekers in addition to the exhilarating racing itself. Head over for a complimentary cotton candy, snow cone, or popcorn, and partake in the various exciting activities and events Honda Indy Toronto has to offer!

Toronto’s Festival of Beer (July 28-30)

What good is summer without a tall, frosty cold one? Toronto’s Festival of Beer is here to quench the parched and thoroughly entertain the bored. A mouth-watering 418 incredible brews will be on offer from brands of all sizes, as will great food and company. The grilling tent, managed by skilled chefs who are culinary masters, will provide delectable fixings galore, and live bands including Method Man & Redman, Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies, and Sloan round out the exciting entertainment options accompanying spectacular brews. Bring a friend (or a few) over to Exhibition Place, and let your appetites run wild.

This July, Torontonians and visitors alike will have a huge selection of exciting experiences readily available throughout the weeks to come. Indulge in guilty pleasures and soak up some of the fascinating culture coming your way this summer! In Toronto, the possibilities are endless.

man-cleans-roof-gutters
Home & Garden

Spring Cleaning Roof Checklist

When spring cleaning, be sure to not forget to give your roof a little attention and elbow grease. Properly maintaining your roof will allow it to last for several years, minimizing the need for repairs later on. Here is a checklist of some key roof cleaning chores to carry out every spring.

Inspect Your Shingles, and Wash off Mildew

Keeping a close eye on the condition of your roofing shingles is absolutely crucial, as ignoring them will drastically weaken the structural integrity of your roof over time, exposing your home to leaks and other problems. Check for missing shingles and replace them immediately should you find any. Also, don’t forget to address cracked, peeling, bent, or cupping shingles as soon as possible, as they will cause all sorts of internal damage if left unattended.

Also be sure to wash off any mould or mildew that has gathered, as leaving it to fester will create all sorts of frustrations and expensive problems later on. To protect your home, it’s important to thoroughly spray any evidence of mildew or mould off and away from your roof.

Clean Gutters and Clear Debris

Left untreated, clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your roof and home over time. Cleaning out leaves and other debris will prevent your gutters from being overwhelmed by water accumulation, which will protect your roof and foundation from water damage typically associated with an ineffective gutter system.

Also, it is imperative that you address any overhanging threats to the overall health of your roof, such as heavy branches or loose pieces of metal and brick from neighbouring buildings. Anything that falls onto your roof can easily puncture it, resulting in leaks and all of the damages and problems associated with them. Also be sure to remove any debris that has gathered on your roof, inspecting for damage at all times.

Inspect Chimney and Flashing

Chimney flashing is what seals around your chimney to maintain a snug fit, and ignoring open spaces that appear invites all sorts of pests and leakages into your roof and home. It is common for flashing to pull away from the chimney over the years, so be sure to apply what is normally an easy fix to keep everything clean and exposure-free.

When performed every spring, these cleaning duties will make it easier than ever to keep your roof and home dry, pest-free, and fully insulated. If you’re ever unsure of what to do or require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a roofing professional to make sure your roof is in good shape and prevent future problems!

family-plays-carpet
Home & Garden

Nice Furniture and Children Under The Same Roof

Are you starting to wonder if you can maintain nice furniture under the same roof as your children? Well, you can! It can be hard to imagine for some, but there are ways you can keep your furniture free from damage and pesky stains while in the presence of your kids. Here we look at a couple ways you can protect your favourite items and keep your kids safe at the same time.

Washable Slip Covers

Slip covers really were designed for families. Your fancy decorative couch can be just as nice with an elegant slip cover. There are so many different styles and colours to choose from, you are sure to find one that you love. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the spills or stains. You can easily throw it into the laundry and have it come out looking brand new.

Buy Fabrics that are Easy to Clean

If you’re not keen on slip covers, you can also focus on selecting furniture, such as couches and chairs, that have material that’s stain resistant and easy to clean. That way you can have some peace of mind knowing that when spills or dirty hand prints land on your couch, a simple wipe will get them out.

Consider Leather Furniture

If you’re a fan of leather, then consider this when furniture shopping! Leather is much easier to maintain than other materials. You can easily clean it, plus, leather actually looks better as it gets used and worn in.

Add a Rug Pad

If you have new and lush carpet you would prefer to keep looking as elegant as when you bought it, try using a thick rug pad made for protecting your carpet. These can protect you carpet, while minimizing any tripping hazards.

Closed Cabinets

Closed cabinets can help keep your beautiful wine glasses and delicate dining ware safe. There are many cabinet designs that don’t come with handles. Instead you need to press on the top corners in order to open them. This can be a great addition to your décor and a good way to childproof items from your toddlers.

Any parent can tell you that with kids, accidents just seem to happen out of nowhere. But it is possible to furnish your home nicely while having kids. You just need to be selective so that when something does spill on your new couch, at least you know that you can handle it without having to begin shopping for a new one.

front-door
Home & Garden

How to Create an Entrance that Says “Welcome Home”

Choosing the door itself is a big part of making your front entrance more inviting. In addition to the door of your choosing, the details will make a big difference in the presentation of the space. Adding decorations and lighting will make your front door even more appealing and welcoming for your guests. Nothing says “welcome home” quite like a stunning front entrance.

Paint

If you’re not ready to replace your front door, or if you’re limited by your budget, painting your front door is a great way to set your door apart from the rest of the neighbourhood without having to make the commitment. Consider painting your front door in a bright colour that will charm your guests and cheer you up when you get home from a long stressful day at work.

Let there be light

An easy way to make your home’s entrance more inviting is to make sure that your front door is well-lit. Add lighting that matches the style and size of your front entrance. This will help guests find their way to your front door once the sun goes down, and it will also make your home feel more secure at night.

There are many styles of lighting to consider, whether it’s a ceiling mount or a wall mount. Choose one that displays your personal style and suits the type of entrance that you have.

Make sure your front door is accessible 

It’s a walk to your front door, not a trek through the Amazon! You don’t want your guests to have to cut through branches and overgrown plants just to get through to your front door. Make sure that there is a clear path that leads from your driveway to the door and that the path is easily accessible. In climates with rough winters, this means making sure your path is freshly shoveled and salt or de-icer is sprinkled to prevent any nasty slips.

Use flowers and plants

Use seasonal flowers and plants to decorate the space around your front door. Seasonal arrangements are easy to put together and make your front door more inviting, adding a playful air. For example, in the fall, add harvest-themed decorations and closer to Halloween add some spooky decorations. Make sure not to add those Christmas decorations too early!

Accessorize

Add details that add personality to your front entrance. Consider adding a welcome mat or a wreath to your door. Remember to let your personality shine, as this will make a great first impression on your guests.

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Family

Welcome Home Gift Ideas for the New Mom

Baby season has arrived! When you go to visit the new bundle of joy, be sure to bring a little something for Mom too! Mom has been through a lot bringing this little bundle of joy into the world, so now’s time to celebrate her as well! Here are some thoughtful gift ideas to show Mom how much you care.

Flowers

After having a baby it’s very nice and calming to be surrounded by beautiful flowers. It’s a common gift to give to new parents for a reason, because it’s always lovely to look upon pretty flowers at the end of a long day.

Jewelery

You can give your wife a memorable gift such as something in the baby’s birthstone. A little something to say “thank you for giving me the best present in the world”. It will be a keepsake for her to cherish as baby grows up.

Gift basket

Don’t send a gift basket to the hospital because the parents will have enough to carry home. Have a gift basket just for moms waiting at home to welcome her to her new life. The basket should contain calming things she can use to relax. Things like herbal teas, her favorite chocolate or snacks maybe even a good book.

New pajamas

Face it, a new mom is going to spend a fair amount of time in her pajamas, so why not surprise her with a brand new pair! She might be in between sizes directly after having a baby so a new set will be a blessing.

A massage

Sure you can give her a massage if you want, but you should also buy her a professional massage. This serves as a two part present; first is the professional massage that she desperately needs and two is some quiet time away from the baby.

Bringing home a new baby is very exciting and overwhelming. Don’t get so caught up in the excitement of things that you forget to celebrate the woman who gave you the beautiful baby.

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Home & Garden

Tips for Cleaner Indoor Air This Spring/Summer

With the warmer weather comes increased humidity and temperatures, which can result in a variety of detractors of air quality. With some careful planning by implementing the following tips, however, you can easily minimize the negative impact spring and summer can have on your home’s interior air quality.

Put That Green Thumb to Use

By adding more plants to your home’s interior, you’ll have lighter and more breathable air in no time. The ideal pollution-killer, plants absorb gases and negative compounds from the air, absorbing them into their leaves and roots. This process is called phytoremediation, and it’s a highly effective way of producing more oxygen and cleansing your home of pollutants. Having multiple larger plants throughout your interior will make it even easier to maintain a more beneficial air quality, so long as you keep up with watering and treat houseplants with the same respect they offer you.

Sufficient Ventilation and Air Filtration

A home that isn’t provided with adequate air ventilation will result in interiors becoming increasingly stale and sweltering as the warmer seasons ramp up, leaving their occupants with heavy, stuffy air and a lack of sufficient filtration, as well as greater potential for mould and mites. Ensuring you have a reliable, efficient, and fully functioning ventilation system installed for the impending heat waves and humidity will help protect your home from any further dips in air quality, and possibly improving it over time. Ensure each room in your home is properly ventilated to prevent humidity from collecting in specific areas. Of course, using a dehumidifier or air filtration equipment such as Distinct HVAC’s General Air MAC2000 Air Filtration System offers results quickly and efficiently, sucking in fresh outside air and cycling heavier, more stagnant air out of your home.

Make Your Home a Smoke-Free Zone

Cigarette smoke is toxic in more ways than you could possibly imagine, and your home’s interior air quality is far from immune to it. Ventilation and air filtration can suffer tremendously from homes exposed to smoke on a consistent basis, and it’s not a surprise considering they contain over 4,000 chemicals. If you plan on making your air more breathable, butt out or take it outside if you absolutely must have a smoke. Various cancers, diseases, heart attacks, and deaths stem from second-hand smoke, and living in an ever-present cloud of it will do far more than suffocate your air quality.

Switch to Fragrance-Free Products

Those fruity-scented soaps, detergents, bath products, cleaners, and aerosol sprays are known to emit dozens of volatile organic compounds into the air, making it all the harder to keep your home fresh indoors despite the intended uses printed on their labels. By substituting for all-natural alternatives or fragrance-free items such as sliced lemons and baking soda for kitchen freshness will help to filter toxins out of the air. With spring and summer in full swing, now’s the time to open the windows, pull back the curtains and let fresh air into every room in your home. Combined with less invasive and far less toxic cleaning solutions, it’ll be easier than ever to maintain indoor freshness.

The quality of your home’s indoor air depends on how much effort you’re willing to put into filtering it. By implementing these fresh tips and being careful about what products you use, it will be an absolute breeze to have clean, light, and healthy air at home.

roof-shingles-being-replaced
Home & Garden

How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Roof

For a home to remain healthy and structurally sound, it absolutely requires a roof that is in good condition and constructed with quality in mind. They don’t last forever, and it’s imperative that you replace your roof when the time comes. Here are some telltale signs that your roof is due for a replacement.

Condition of Shingles

If you spot curled or cupped shingle edges throughout your roof, it’s definitely a sign that your shingles are well past their life expectancy, and leaving them unattended to will damage your roof substantially. Cracked and buckling shingles are also another sign of a dying roof in need of replacement in some cases, so be sure to keep an eye out. Missing shingles and “tabs” are another dead giveaway of roof problems; don’t forget to give everything a thorough inspection every once in a while. Once you start seeing problems with your shingles, bear in mind that your roof has anywhere between 1 and 5 years left, sometimes less.

Sagging and Warping

A roof’s failure is, aside from shingle condition, most often evident when sections of your roof and valleys are sagging or warped. When walking on the roof and it feels spongy, it’s a definite indication that you’re due for a new roof. A sturdy, rigid, and strong roof is ideal to properly protect your home from the elements and temperature changes, and sagging is a telltale sign of weakness or structural vulnerability. Be sure to address any depressions or droops quickly to avoid damaging your home’s interior or structural integrity.

Your Roof is 20 to 25 Years Old

Like human beings, roofs don’t live forever. Always be sure to keep the age of your roof in mind, as an asphalt shingle roof will only last between 20 and 30 years. Once yours reaches that age area, you may begin to see problems such as those aforementioned earlier. However, it is best to not wait until you run into trouble. By planning ahead and budgeting for a roof replacement for when it is 20 to 25 years old, you’re responsibly protecting the well being of your entire home.

Attic Conditions and Water Stains

The overall insulation of your attic is a reliable indicator of your roof’s overall condition. If you happen to notice daylight visible through the underside of your roof, it means that rain, snow, and dampness can also get in with relative ease. Water stains on ceilings and rusted metal structural components can also indicate that you’re due for a new roof, so be sure to keep a close watch on your attic’s overall condition.

A healthy, reliable, and strong roof is a key component of a healthy home, specifically designed to cover and protect you and your family. By respecting the need for replacing your roof and recognizing these telltale signs, it’ll be easier than ever to protect your home, belongings, and most importantly, yourself and your family.

 

man-making-pottery
Lifestyle

Tips for Making the Most of Your Retirement

Many long for the days of carefree leisure and comfort. This isn’t surprising considering the wonderful opportunities opened up by the free time and lack of a schedule associated with retirement. Here are some tips to help you really get the most out of your remaining years and truly live.

Discover the World Around You

The world is full of incredible sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences, and now that you’re retired, you’ll actually have the time to set out and see more of it. Transatlantic ocean crossings and cruises are the very best ways for seniors to see the world without sacrificing comfort or amenities, and far less exhausting than jetting in cramped seats to end up being left to fend for yourself. Cruises in particular offer inclusive excursions and one-in-a-lifetime experiences for great prices, and are a wonderful way to visit multiple destinations in an area without having to stress over transportation and meals.

Travelling cross-country by train is another wonderful opportunity just waiting for you, and when bundled with hotel or B&B room rentals, you’ll have an idyllic traditional getaway. Visit and discover the wonders of places that have interested you or your significant other, and become inspired by the beauty and experiences the world has to offer.

Relocate and Rejuvenate

Moving into the home of your dreams is another wonderful way to begin your retirement. By leaving baggage and problems of the past behind to start completely fresh, you’ll be reinvigorated by a new atmosphere and exciting changes. While daunting to some, the prospect of moving to a cozy and warm home to live out the rest of your days in total leisure is too great of an opportunity to pass up for others.

Experiment with Hobbies

Discovering a new favourite hobby isn’t intended to result in pointless busywork. In fact, it’s a great way to entertain yourself and become inspired. Painting, playing music, pottery making, sculpting, photography, and yes, making use of the good old fishing rod are all great ways to stay active and mentally stimulated, protecting your mind and providing exciting purpose. If you want to get out more but don’t feel mobile or stable enough to get around on your own, consider a personal care worker or homecare team. A service like this can be customized to your needs and allow you to accomplish everything you want in your days!

Tackle the Bucket List

If you have an outstanding list of goals or dreams you wish to fulfill, retirement is the ideal period to stay active and check as many boxes off as possible (within moderation, of course). Making lifestyle changes, splurging on a long-desired treat such as new car, adopting the pet you’ve always wanted, or spending more time with family to strengthen your relationships are all wonderful ways to really live out your remaining years.

It can be difficult to remain motivated or inspired when retirement sets in, but don’t forget that these years are yours, the reward for a lifetime of hard work. What you do with them is up to you, but the more you accomplish and do to stay mentally active and inspired, the more these wonderful years will be worth the wait.

woman-applying-sunscreen-beach
Health & Wellness

Protect Your Skin From the Sun This Summer

The sun is a wonderful and generous thing, but it can also be your worst enemy in the summer when it comes to skin protection. However, with some preparation and planning, you can easily negate the sun’s dangerous effects on our skins. Here are some easy ways to better protect your skin this summer.

Wear Sunscreen, Reapplying Every 1-2 Hours

Replace your sunscreen on an annual basis with a new bottle — preferably one incorporating UVA and UVB products, and an SPF of 30 or 70. Reapply every 1-2 hours that you spend in the sun to ensure continued protection throughout your day of fun in the sun. Apply enough to sufficiently coat your skin. The equivalent of a shot glass full for your body will normally be enough, as will a full teaspoon’s worth for your face.

Don’t forget your lips either, as they can easily crack and become damaged after prolonged exposure to sunlight. Always keep a lip balm of SPF 15 on hand, and reapply as soon as you feel your lips getting dry or burned.

Wear Protective Clothing

Visors, sunhats, sunglasses, and various lightweight fabrics with a UV protection rating should be incorporated into your summer ensemble. Avoid using fabrics that could scratch, itch, or overheat you, sticking to lighter colours at all times to keep heat levels down — the last thing you want is to suffer from heatstroke. Be sure to consult the UV protection rating of whatever you’re wearing to better understand how thoroughly shielded you are.

Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

This is best put into practice year-round, but during the summer months in particular it is extremely important in regard to the well-being of your skin. It sounds like a lot, but drinking the equivalent of 8 glasses of water daily is the ideal way to keep your skin hydrated. It also rinses your system of toxins.

Healthy skin is also a much-appreciated byproduct of eating healthy, and incorporating fewer sugars and refined processed foods will help to achieve this. Substitute with fruits and vegetables, salads, and a diet rich in flavonoids, as this will help develop healthy, glowing skin that can better withstand everything the sun can throw at it.

Perform Regular Skin Examinations

Keep an eye out for unexpected signs of sun damage on your skin. The biggest red flag of them all is in the form of moles that might have altered in shape or size. If they hurt, itch, or bleed, be sure to have the area examined by a medical professional and/or skin clinic promptly. Skin cancer is common throughout much of the world, and it’s always best to keep an eye out for anything strange.

As long as you plan accordingly and apply protective measures to your day-to-day life amidst all the delights of summer, your skin will be better defended. By making use of these tips, there’s no reason to not go out and have some fun in the sun.