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.

air-vent-floor
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.

 

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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.

 

man-installing-hvac
Home & Garden

Benefits of Installing Central A/C In Your Fixer-Upper

Air conditioning is a common thing in most newer houses, but what about those older, previously-owned homes that still have good bones and a second life to live? If you’re taking on a fixer-upper, central A/C should undeniably be on your list of upgrades! Here are some reasons why you should take advantage of this opportunity and install central A/C in your fixer-upper.

It Is Easier Now Than Later

If you are already undergoing a major renovation, now’s the time to invest in a new HVAC system. When the drywall is down and the walls are open, that is the easiest time to seriously look at your options for a new HVAC system. Make sure that you speak with your contractor or builder about the new HVAC system, ensuring that they floorplan and design elements you are planning will still work with this new addition. This is also a good time to make sure all aspects of your home’s wiring and plumbing are up-to-date. Older homes are notorious for out-of-date wiring that could cause fire or other big problems into the future.

Think Of It As An Investment

It is excellent to think about turning an old, yet beautiful house with character into a more modern comfort zone. You can make upgrades like central AC, which make the home more attractive to future buyers and modern living, while still maintaining the integrity and charm of the original house. While you may be planning to keep the property for decades to come, or even intend the home to stay in the family for generations, plans can change and it is never a bad idea to think about future worth. Plus, your family will appreciate the central A/C!

Leave It To The Professionals

While there are many opportunities for DIY projects as you upgrade your fixer-upper, HVAC projects are not one of them. All HVAC work must be done according to industry code and pass building inspections, depending on the regulation of your area. Thus, always be sure to recruit the help of an experienced HVAC company to aid in the installment of a new air conditioning unit into an older house.

Your Comfort is Worth It

Ultimately, even if you have to push your budget, installing a central HVAC system during your major renovations project is worth it. Especially if you live in a climate like Canada or upper United States, where temperatures can plunge and surge at will, leaving you to find ways to acclimate!

men-drinking-beer-eating-sports-bar
Food & Drink

Rally Sports Bar: Restaurant Profile

Toronto plays host to some of the most fantastic restaurants this country has to offer. With Toronto being the multicultural hub of Canada, there is no shortage of good food. A staple among all Canadians is a good old fashioned sports bar! Rally Sports Bar is conveniently located in North York, minutes from the Don Valley Parkway.

Once inside Rally Sports Bar you will instantly feel the exciting atmosphere of a gripping final game. Whether your game of choice is hockey, baseball, soccer or football, Rally Sports Bar is the perfect location to meet up with friends and watch every game. Big screens are visible from every angle of the bar making every seat a prime seat. If there are multiple games being played at the same time and you can’t make the impossible decision of which one to watch, you can take in all the sports action on multiple screens.

Any sporting event is incomplete without amazing food in hand. Watching the game is much more fun when you’re eating slow cooked wood burning BBQ and drinking a cold refreshing pint of beer. At Rally Sports Bar, staff serve up a fantastic selection of BBQ food and pub fare for hordes of hungry sports fans. With menu options ranging from pulled pork and brisket sandwiches to smoked chicken wings and smoked spare ribs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Along with delicious food, we offer a variety of beer on tap including the local home grown brew, Mill Street. Enjoy a pint of Mill Street Organic, Tank House, Stock Ale, or 100th Meridian while you take in the game or just while hanging out with friends and family. With plenty of other varieties to choose from, Rally Sports Bar will be able to happily satisfy any beer taste.

Rally Sports Bar recognizes the need for a little afternoon delight. Join them for happy hour Monday-Friday from 3:00-6:00pm. Here you can enjoy 40% off appetizers as well as $5 glasses of wine. A great way to unwind with co-workers after another day is done!

Sports bars may be plentiful around the city, but once you experience Rally Sports Bar, you will instantly feel the difference. With our inviting atmosphere, our profound love for sports, and our exceptional BBQ menu, we guarantee that you will want to become regulars, in fact we encourage it! Learn more about your new favourite Toronto sports bar today!

 

child-play-water-outdoors
Home & Garden

Keep Your Home Cool This Summer Without Air Conditioning

Air conditioning can be a welcome blessing and a wicked curse at the same time. There’s no worse feeling than leaving a crisp, chilled living room and stepping outside to be slapped in the face with a sickening wave of humidity. There are plenty of alternative ways to stay cool that won’t give you nasty surprises once you leave home. These methods are also far easier on energy consumption, which is never a bad thing.

Upgrade Your Home, Inside and Out

Yes, it’s often expensive. It’s also time-consuming and involves a fair bit of labour. However, the perks from upgrading windows, doors, and insulation in your home can hugely benefit your ability to manage internal temperatures. Adding trees and shrubbery to your yard can keep your abode out of direct sunlight, and it goes without saying that a swimming pool is a wonderful way of cooling off, should you be able to maintain it. Installing a reflective roof is another fantastic way to lower internal temperatures, as doing so can lower roof temperatures by up to 15 degrees (°C) depending on your climate. Awnings and coverings are also ideal during the summer, as they block heat from entering covered windows or doors. The more heat you can distract away from your home, the cooler it’ll be inside.

Draw Those Curtains

In addition to home renovation projects, drawing shades, blinds, and curtains can go a long way in cooling down the internal temperature of your home. Floor and ceiling-based fans can help to maintain airflow and dissipate humidity as well, particularly if you fill a mixing bowl with ice and position it in front of one. Ensure that skylights are also provided with a retractable shade or sheer to keep direct sunlight out. Refraining from using too much lighting will also make a difference as it generates heat. And if you have to cook during a heat wave, avoid using the oven at all costs — and of course, if you feel like pizza then take advantage of delivery. Or grill outside until you can’t bear it any longer.

Focus on Your Internal Temperature

Cold showers and baths, a naughty little trip to the grocer for a tub of ice cream, and plenty of cold hydration can be the keys to lowering your internal temperature. Even if you’ve just sealed the house off like a quarantine zone and drawn all the shades, the temperature inside still needs time to drop. Cooling off with a dip in cold water is ideal, obviously, but settle for any alternatives that might be available.

Not using air conditioning can have a profound effect on your energy usage as well as your body’s adaptability to humidity. Nevertheless, if you don’t have alternative methods planned for cooling your house down, it’s going to be a sticky, gross nightmare. Plan ahead, strategize, and you can have a comfortable, cool dwelling in no time.

for-sale-sign-home
Home & Garden

5 Tips for the First Time Home Seller

When you’ve reached the decision that it’s finally time to place your home up for sale, there are a few important factors to consider in order to make for smooth sailing during that process. Jumping headfirst without having a clear vision and map on how to navigate through the process can lead to a lot of stress and aggravation. So before you nail down that For Sale sign, consider these 5 tips first.

Purge

As soon as you’ve solidified your decision to move, begin the process of dejunking. You want to start as early as possible so that you don’t feel completely overwhelmed. So start by going through one room at a time and deciding whether to pack it or purge it. There’s no point in bringing along stuff to your new home that you no longer need. So save yourself the aggravation and you’ll make that moving process a whole lot easier.

Understand the Equity

It’s always smart to be aware of what the equity will be on your home that’s for sale in order to have a solid vision on how it will help you purchase your new home. So always have an accurate grasp on the status of your home and equity for your future.

Know your Worth

Be sure to have a firm understanding on how the market is doing when preparing to enter it. Depending on the status, it could make for some pretty frustrating negotiations – so be prepared. Keep your cool, and try to always keep emotions at bay. And of course, have a solid understanding of how much your home is worth before negotiating.

Staging

Staging is one of the most essential components for nailing down offers. It provides potential buyers with a vision of what their future home can look like. Buyers don’t want to see clutter or a home that seems like it was unkempt. You want a potential buyer to see your home at its best, so small investments could be worth it at this stage to help your home sell at its best. Consider if you need new windows, a new entry door, a fresh coat of paint (interior or exterior), etc.

Detach Personal Emotions

Finally, if the home you’re placing up for sale has a strong sentimental value – like many of them do, you must detach any personal emotions from it in order to move forward and allow the process to be successful.

Selling your home is a big decision and can be an overwhelming process. But with a few keys elements thrown into the mix, it can be simple and rewarding. Use these insightful tips before placing your house on the market and you’ll be prepped and ready for smooth sailing.