5 Tips To Refresh Your Home For Spring Time

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It may still be snowing in some parts of the country, but spring is almost here. Before the flowers start budding outside, refresh the inside of your home to give your interior spaces that springtime glow.

Bring the outdoors inside
Adding fresh plants or flowers to an otherwise ho-hum space can spice things up in the blink of an eye. Even if you don’t have a garden full of fresh flowers to choose from, greens make a lovely addition to your living room, or even an eye-catching centerpiecefor your dining room table. Better Homes and Gardens suggests gathering a few fresh fern fronds for dramatic texture and rich color.

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Don’t be afraid to add color One of the easiest ways to perk up your space is to invest in a gallon of paint, call in reinforcements to help you out, and go to town with brushes and rollers. If you’re not incredibly adventurous when it comes to color choices but still want a pick-me-up, try going with a warmer, creamier version of the neutrals you already have; a creamy barely-yellow adds so much more warmth and interest than stark white. You could even paint an accent wall a bold, fun color and use that space to showcase some of your favorite art or family portraits for your own personal art gallery. ForRent.com suggests incorporating bright colors in a breakfast nook or one of the smaller spaces of your home or apartment. It’s less of a risk than painting your entire kitchen or living room, but still packs a punch.

Reorganize your bookshelves If you’ve got a fantastic library, now is a great time to take everything off the shelves, blow the dust off the covers, and reorganize. You might even consider artfully stacking books in different directions, some horizontal and some upright. Apartment Therapy reports some pretty impressive results simply by arranging books by color for a uniquely eye-catching display.

Update window treatments Spring is a great time to trade in your richly-textured drapes for lighter, breezier, more summery colors. If privacy isn’t a huge issue in a space, try adding light, breezy sheer curtains on a thin, minimalist rod. You’ll love how much the change automatically brightens your space. You might also consider substituting your ordinary blinds with Roman Shades. They’re a classier way to control light and privacy, and to update your style.

Make your entryway welcoming Upgrade (or thoroughly clean) your front-door mats and add a wreath to your front door. This could be a fun DIY project for the entire family. Make sure you have an efficient landing spot just inside your front door — a place to drop keys and hang up a coat or jacket before coming inside. This is also a great place for a fun mirror and a flower arrangement. Your home’s entryway often gives guests their very first impression of your home, so make it shine with your family’s personality and a touch of style.

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February home to-do’s

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You started off the new year with resolutions for yourself and goals for the home. As you now begin to settle into your new lifestyle, it’s important to clean up clutter at home and look forward to the months ahead. Winter is slowly coming to an end, and your house maintenance needs to reflect a fresh spring feel. Take a look at five chores to help give your home a boost of spring.

Clean up indoor paint

Unless your wall needs a fresh coat of paint, go through them with a sponge and freshen up the paint on your doors and cabinets. Take a deeper look and spot the smudges and dust that builds up in these areas. An easy run through will freshen the paint in the house and reduce the need for a new paint job.

Clean under the heavy stuff

It took time and lot of energy to put the fridge where it currently stands, the oven in its place, and the dresser in its corner. It’s understandable not to want to move them again. Though, there is dust and trash that can slip into these areas. These are not everyday chores, but it is important to clean under these untouched spots to prevent bad build up over time.

Raid the Fridge

A common trend that tends to happen during the new year is putting more food in the fridge than we take out. With our new diets or eating styles we outlined in the new year, eventually, there are a few of those items we just don’t get around too as much as we had hoped. Take some time to dispose of those items that got pushed to the back of the fridge.

Mattress and Bedding

Clean up the mattress by vacuuming and laying it on its side to fully air itself out. Replace the current sheets you have to give the bed a fresh new feel. It might be a good time to start packing up the winter weather bedding and start replacing it with a springtime vibe.

Windows/Screens

There are a few windows that get all the attention while the rest get none. The dust and grime that gets into the surface of your windows will make them look old and cloudy. Take a look at the windows around the house and grab some window-cleaner to take the cloudiness right off.

Tips on getting the home tax deductions you’re entitled to

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Taxes can be difficult for even seasoned homeowners to understand. With new tax legislation that was passed on December 22, 2017, there may be changes to the taxes you file this year. The following tips can help ensure you’re filing for and receiving all of the home-related tax deductions you’re entitled to.

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

The Mortgage Interest Deduction can be used by itemizing using Schedule A. To qualify, the mortgage must be secured by either your primary or secondary home; homes, trailers, boats, and RVs can all qualify as long as they have a sleeping area, cooking area, and bathroom.

Interest on mortgages up to $1 million, or up to $500,000 for married couples filing separately, can be deducted. Likewise, if you have an additional loan such as a second mortgage, home equity line of credit, or home equity loan, the additional interest is still deductible up to a total amount of $1 million on all home loans.

While it will not affect your filing this year, beginning in tax year 2018 the mortgage interest deduction cap will be $750,000. The accompanying increase in the standard deduction may make it more worthwhile for homeowners not to itemize in the future.

2. Prepaid Interest Deduction

If you bought a home during 2017, the interest – or points – you prepaid may be 100% deductible along with the mortgage interest deduction. Prepaid interest deductions are also reported using Schedule A; your lender will provide you with a form 1098 that details the amount paid either when closing the mortgage or after refinancing.

 

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5 DIY projects that will reinvent your bathroom in a weekend

(BPT) – Ready to tackle your next home remodeling project and showcase your Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skills? Or maybe you’re an aspiring DIYer, hoping to channel your creative spirit and try your hand at the next home improvement project? Now is the time to get started.

According to experts from the National Association of Home Builders, the amount of money homeowners spend on remodeling projects is predicted to grow nearly 5 percent in 2018. Some of these dollars will be spent on large comprehensive rebuilds and others will be spent on smaller fix-it-up projects. No matter the spend, it’s a good bet much of this money will go to fund DIYers in their home improvement efforts, and many of them will be taking on projects for the first time.

Here are five bathroom upgrade projects that can be completed in a weekend. So now you can reinvent your bathroom and employ your DIY skills at the same time. Go ahead, pick the project that appeals most to you, and let’s get this project underway:

* Upgrade your bathroom fixtures. The focal points of your bathroom can easily be replaced, making a big overall impact with little outlay of effort. Tapered design lines and modern styling, like those in the American Standard Townsend bathroom fixtures, can beautifully enhance your bathroom. Consider replacing an old vanity with a new smoked gray vanity or washstand. It can be accented with a softly angular sink displaying generously sized side ledges to conveniently accommodate toiletries. Finish the room with matching accessories – towel bars, toilet paper holder, robe hook – and you’re on your way to a whole new level of style, all done with your DIY expertise.

* Install a new shower door. A shower door replacement can be made for cosmetic reasons; plus, there are very real potential benefits behind it as well, provided you pay attention to the details. Follow the process to install your door and be sure to apply silicone caulk at the end along the edges of the base track – both inside and out – and along the jams. This will make your new door water tight and keep your whole bathroom cleaner and drier.

* Replace your sink faucet. The faucet in your bathroom gets used every single day, so why not make it one you love? American Standard Studio S bathroom faucets showcase a fashion-forward geometric silhouette with minimalistic surface details. You can choose an easy-to-operate single handle model, or distinctive two-handle configurations, depending on what works for your home and family. These faucets are easy to install, and the WaterSense-certified 1.2 gallons per minute flow rate will save you water – up to 45 percent over conventional models – and money without compromising your experience.

* Lay the tile. Whether you’re motivated by structural needs or an outlet for your own artistic expression, laying new bathroom tile is a project that immediately ups the wow factor. Tile is incredibly impervious to water and stains, making it perfect for the bathroom. But it won’t lay properly unless you thoroughly clean the surface beforehand. Fill those backboard seams with mortar, apply a fiberglass mesh and then you’re ready to lay a tile design that matches your unique look.

* A spot for the perfect seat. If you’ve ever wished your time on the toilet seat was a little more luxurious, now is the perfect time to upgrade to an American Standard SpaLet bidet seat. It’s easy to install and provides the ultimate personal experience with a wide array of features like heated seat, water temperature control, spray strength, nozzle position, and even a deodorizer. Now, you can bring a spa-like environment right to the comfort of your own bathroom, without much time or cost invested.

Start reimagining your bathroom today

As one of the most used rooms in your home, the bathroom is the perfect place to start your weekend warrior home improvement projects. Simple upgrades to the elements in a bustling family bathroom, cozy master bath or heavy-use powder room can often be done with DIY know-how and enjoyed for many years to come.

IMAGE CAPTIONS:
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Caption 1: The focal points of your bathroom can easily be replaced to make a big overall impact with little outlay of effort, as shown here with the American Standard Townsend collection of bathroom fixtures and faucets.

Caption 2: Sleek design-lines and modern styling, like those highlighted in the American Standard StudioS faucets and Studio line of fixtures shown here, can beautifully enhance your bathroom to make it ideal for your family's needs.

2018 remodeling trends that boost your home’s value

(BPT) – A strong housing market is giving homeowners the confidence to invest in remodeling. In fact, homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will approach $340 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.5 percent from estimated 2017 spending, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Remodeling can add value to your home while also making it more livable, but not all remodeling projects are created equal. While the choice to remodel is individual, there are many studies that show some projects return more on your investment than others. Fortunately, some of 2018’s leading remodeling trends also have great ROI.

Trend 1: Bathroom additions

Adding a bathroom can add comfort and convenience for current homeowners, plus catch the eye of potential buyers. A bathroom addition recoups about 60 percent of the cost, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report.

A top trend in 2018 is adding bathrooms to unique spaces, meaning not letting existing plumbing limit your options. This might include adding a small powder room on the main floor or adding a full bathroom to the basement where there is no current drainage.

Homeowners can get the valuable bathroom addition they want without cutting concrete or undermining the structural integrity of the home by opting for above-floor plumbing features such as a macerating toilet and drain pumps from Saniflo. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.

These compact systems can fit into a closet, beneath a stairway or even be built into the wall. When the project is complete, it will look like any conventional bathroom, but above-ground plumbing options make it possible to put a bathroom virtually anywhere – even in the garage or outside. Learn more at www.saniflo.com.

Trend 2: Home exterior updates

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this is true for houses as well. With this in mind, homeowners are focusing their efforts on the house exterior in 2018.

Some exterior remodeling projects can be costly and time-consuming, such as replacing siding and windows or redoing landscaping. To get a big visual bang for your buck with great ROI, consider replacing your garage door. The average garage door replacement job cost is $3,470, according to the Cost vs. Value report, plus it has a whopping 98 percent cost recouped at resale.

Want to take exterior upgrades one step further? Consider replacing your existing entry door with a new steel option that matches your new garage door. Your house’s facade will be completely refreshed, plus that door recoups 91 percent of the cost.

Trend 3: Smart home upgrades

You have a smartphone, smart watch and smart TV; it only makes sense that you also want to bring the convenience of technology into your remodeling projects with a smart home.

Smart homes have been trending for some time, but in 2018 this trend could reach a tipping point thanks to wider availability and more affordable options. What used to cost thousands may now only cost hundreds, and you might be surprised how many DIY options you can now find at your local home improvement store.

Some of the most popular technological enhancements for the home include smart lighting controls that save energy and let you customize lighting in every room of your home. Smart door locks and security systems are also valuable additions.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to enter into the smart home market, consider a smart thermostat or smart smoke detector. Technology is bound to make your home more comfortable and safe while boosting the bottom line come sale time.

5 Things you need to toss from the kitchen

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We have all been in the middle of cooking dinner when suddenly we are left with no counter space and nowhere to chop up the tomatoes, onion, and celery. Kitchen spaces always tend to look bigger until you are in the kitchen. We are here to help you start the year off with a lot more space, and adding space in the kitchen means decluttering the kitchen. Here is a list we compiled of things that need to be tossed in order to have a spacious functional kitchen.

Toss old cookware

If you have pots and pans lurking around that are broken, rusty, or scratched it is time to let them go. Chances are you haven’t been using them and won’t use them in the near future. Home experts also suggest organizing what you have used in the last six months and letting go of the bakeware you haven’t.

Toss the miscellaneous

The main reason kitchens will clutter up quick is due to the miscellaneous items we tend to hold onto without reason. Getting rid of bent knives, foot containers without a matching lid, utensils or China that are never taken out during the holidays (what are you saving them for), dishcloths, table linens, and old worn out oven mitts will open up much-needed space around the kitchen.   

Toss things from your refrigerator

The fastest way to clear up and clean up a refrigerator is to pull out everything and start by tossing out the food you know you’re never going to eat. Tackle your freezer by tossing anything covered with hoarfrost and food that is old and expired. In your refrigerator, look to toss anything wilted or moldy, and any leftovers you are not going to eat that day.

Toss old pantry items

The best way to declutter a pantry is to strictly follow the six-month rule. Toss those old ground spices that tend to hang around and anything else you have that is past their expiration date. The dishwasher is a good tool to get rid of any leftover scents from your spice jars.  

Toss whatever is cluttering up your kitchen countertops

Do you have keys, mail, and small appliances cluttering up your surface? Make sure to keep anything you use on a daily basis and put away or toss the rest of your countertop items. The countertop is a weekly challenge to declutter as new items will lurk their way onto the surface. Keeping a bin for your items that tend to keep finding their way back (keys, papers, mail) will reduce the clutter significantly.

Last minute Christmas Gifts for Him and Her

We’ve all been online or at the mall scrambling to find the perfect gift a week away from Christmas alongside hundreds of others doing the same thing. Shopping for the perfect gifts for loved ones is hard, but we have you covered. Here are five great last minute gifts for him and her.

For Her

 

Birchbox

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Worried about finding the right gift for her? A gift every month of the year might be the best way to go. Birchbox offers monthly subscriptions for the special person in your life starting at only $10 a month. Each box comes with new beauty products for her.

Black and white necklace

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You can’t go wrong with this black and white heart necklace with diamonds all throughout. Find in here.

Fenty Beauty

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If you know she loves all things beauty then you can guarantee all of Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty products will be on her list.

Adidas Gazelle

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Last years she wanted the stan smith’s, but this year it is all about the sway rose pink Gazelle’s.

Lomography Instant Film Camera

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Instant film cameras have become a must have accessory, and the lomography is the best one out there with the option to adjust exposure, two shooting modes, and an auto flash.

For Him

 

Turntable

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If your guy loves music then he will love a new sleek turntable. Best thing of all is that it can double as home decor. Buy it here.

Beeropoly

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Think of monopoly if it involved drinking. If your guy loves beer he will love Beeropoly.  Find it here.

Wallet

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Don’t underestimate how much a guy will love being gifted a new wallet. A tri-fold or card case are must haves he will use everyday. Here is one of our favorites.

Joggers

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An essential for the fashionable man is a nice pair of sweatpants he can easily throw on. Find them here.

Funko Pop!

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Daniel Wu as Sunny – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Episode 3 – Photo Credit: Antony Platt/AMC

Feed his inner fandom with Funko pop of his favorite game, movie, or video game characters. https://www.funko.com/products/all/brands/pop

Fun Family Activities to do on Thanksgiving Day

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Nothing beats a busy kitchen and a house full of friends and family on Thanksgiving day. Though, waiting around the kitchen for the food to be ready is never fun. While you wait for the food to cook, here are a few things you can do with the family to make the time pass by and create memories you’ll be sure to cherish forever.

Play some touch football

Gather everyone outside and enjoy the fresh air with a game of touch football. Get everyone involved to get a nice run in and build up hunger for the big meal.

Three-legged race:

I know what you’re thinking, a three-legged race, really? Believe us, a three-legged race is always more fun than it sounds. Grab your best friend or favorite sibling and get ready to laugh, fall and scream your way to the finish line (it gets very competitive).

Take a walk

Sometimes you need some fresh air and a pleasant conversation before the turkey is done. Take a short walk around the neighborhood and catch up with visiting relatives. Another option is to take join a local turkey trot (Long Beach has a Turkey Trot you can sign up for here.

Get the band together

Bring out the musical instruments or the karaoke machine and let loose playing a beat and showing off those vocals.  Bring out the video camera because this is where some of the best moments are made.

Charades

If you can get everyone to join in on a game of charades, it can turn out to be a very fun time. Make it more enjoyable and split up into teams, (boys versus girls always brings out the competitive nature in everyone).

Share memories

The best and most successful thanksgivings are when everyone finishes eating and sits around the living room telling stories. Telling funny stories of past Thanksgivings, stories of mom and dad as rebellious youngsters, and favorite childhood memories are always fun and entertaining. This is the best way to bond with loved ones.

 

5 Reasons to Stop Renting and Jump into Homeownership

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We understand home buying can sound like a scary thing and a big commitment. It’s okay to sit and ponder the home buying process, but waiting around too long is not good, especially with rising rent prices that don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Whatever your reason for renting is, here are five reasons why you should reconsider and leap into homeownership.

 

Owning a home is less expensive than renting

Surveys have time and time again revealed that financially it is cheaper to buy a home than to rent, and this year’s statistics provided by gobankingrates are no different. According to their research, it states that in 39 states across the country it makes more sense to buy a home than to rent. With rent prices nationally increasing at 2.9% annually buying a home now might just make sense.

 

Tax Breaks

As a homeowner, you will receive tax breaks. As a renter, you might receive your deductible (questionable) once you leave the place. The biggest tax break you receive as a homeowner is from the house payment you make every month which charges you interest that is deductible. Aside from that, as a homeowner, you will also be able to write off all kinds of expenses. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for renters.

 

Down Payments are a lot less

Remember when you had to sell an arm to make a $20,000 down payment to buy a home? Well, that’s not the case anymore. There are many options today such as an FHA Loan, which you can qualify with a fair credit score, that only requires you to put down 3.5 percent.  Fannie Mae’s conventional 97 mortgage requires just 3 percent down.

 

It is okay if you have lower than average credit

The myth of having a near perfect credit score to get a loan has been busted, it is just not true today. The average credit score of buyers who finance using an FHA loan is 683. And for those who use non-FHA financing have minimum scores of 600.

 

Equity

One of the biggest benefits of owning a home as opposed to renting is equity. When your home’s equity rises, that equity is yours and you can use it however you please.

Looking For Something Fun To Do in South Bay this October?

Looking for something fun to do around the South Bay area? Look no further! Here are five awesome events happening in the area that you must check out.

 

South Bay Escape Room: Mortuary Mystery

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If you enjoy puzzles, riddles, word games, and crime scene investigation TV shows then you will definitely love this event. The South Bay Escape room is located in the basement of the Volunteer Center’s historic, Old Torrance building, which so happens to be a real former mortuary. Perfect setting for this fictional fun, spooky, and of a kind fundraiser. You will have 60 minutes to solve the puzzle and find the clue to escape the room.

When: Five weeks only! September 28 to October 29,  from 4 – 5 PM

Location: 1230 Cravens Avenue, Torrance, CA

For ticket and more info: www.volcenter.org/escaperoom

 

Maybe Partying Will Help

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The Pacific Coast Art Gallery is hosting the opening party of “Maybe Partying will Help.” An art gallery featuring the new paintings and vinyl artwork of the husband and wife duo Lori Herbst and Chris Shary from Northern California. Lori is an incredible textile artist who makes one of a kind pieces using vinyl.  She will be releasing many new retro surf/beach pieces, as well as vinyl art of The Clash, Wonder Woman, and Farrah Fawcett. Chris is famous for his rock portraits (Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins) and his Milo artwork for the Descendents. The gallery will be featuring his rock portraits as well as his paintings. There will also be an open bar sponsored by Abigaile restaurant.

When: September 30 – October 31, from 7:30 – 10 PM

Location: 205 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA

 

The Dudes’ Brewing Co. three-year anniversary party

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The Dudes’ Brewing Co. in Torrance is celebrating their three-year anniversary on September 30, and they want you to join them! Attendance will be free and the first 100 guests to arrive will receive a Commemorative Anniversary Glass. There will be raffle prizes and food all day! And for those who happen to be into yoga and beer Dudes’ Brewing Co. will be debuting the first class of a whole new Yoga and Beer program before the party starts. Check in at 10:15 AM, class starts at 10:30 AM and lasts one hour, and includes a pint. RSVP for Yoga here: http://bit.ly/BeerYogaParty

When: September 30, from 3 – 6PM

Location: The Dudes’ Brewing Co, West 208th Street, Torrance, CA

 

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

pexels-photo-265315The South Coast Botanic Garden is hosting a fun secret pumpkin hunt. Join them, and travel through the grounds of the South Coast Botanic Garden in search of the hidden abodes of their feathered friends and collect the clues left in their birdhouses. The clues will lead you to the South Coast Botanic Garden Pumpkin Patch. The hunt is family friendly, fun, and adventurous. Make sure to take your tennis shoes and be ready to do some hiking.

When: October 1 – November 30, from 9 AM – 5 PM

Location: South Coast Botanic Garden, Crenshaw Boulevard, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

 

Cruie at the Beach Car Show

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The cruise at the Beach Car Show takes place every Friday night between September 27 and October 27. The lot in front of Ruby’s Diner in Redondo Beach becomes a giant car show, showcasing muscle cars and modern rides. So if you love cars and are looking for something to do this is the place to be. Oh and don’t forget to stop by Ruby’s Diner before or after you check out the cars for a delicious burger or milkshake.

When: September 29 – October 27, from 4 – 8 PM

Location: Ruby’s Diner, North Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA