Nancy O'Herron's Blog
Have you ever wondered how rooms in magazines always seem to be pulled together in a way you just can’t seem to replicate? Spoiler alert: the secret sauce is the addition of greenery and fresh cut flowers. But don’t worry you don’t have to run out and buy bouquets of flowers each week to gain the same effect for your home. You can turn your new home into a green paradise all year long with these five easy to care for plants.
Aloe - A plant that’s easy to care for no matter how green your thumb, the aloe is a hearty plant that can survive a little neglect here and there. Note, though, that the aloe does do best in dry areas and while it can go without frequent watering you want to ensure it is in a pot that drains well to avoid root rot. A large aloe plant can add balance to a minimalist room while a row of smaller plants adds whimsical charm to a child’s room.
English ivy - Here’s a plant for the homeowner who wants a plant to add some decorative interest. As a sprawling plant, the English ivy will look beautiful draped along shelves or windows. The ivy is another easy to grow plant that doesn’t require frequent watering and will thrive with lots of light.
Rubber tree - Looking for something to fill a bare corner? Pick up a rubber tree to add life to the room. Its height allows it to make a statement on its own without a corner table to put it at eye level. This tree prefers indirect light and only requires watering about once or twice a month.
Peace lily - Add some beautiful blooms to a room all year with the peace lily. Not only does it boast beautiful white petals, it is also known to greatly improve air quality. This lily is easy to care for and can be coaxed it to bloom all year in a room with low light conditions.
Spider plant - Draw the eye upward in small rooms by hanging the spider plant from the ceiling. With proper care, this plant will eventually offshoot with “babies” that add more visual interest to its foliage with delicate white flowers. Another plant known for its ability for improving air quality the spider plant is easy to care for.
When choosing plants to add to a room don’t be afraid to get creative as you would with decor and take into consideration how well the color and shape of the plant matches the style of your home. Whether you reach for something to sprawl out over a sparsely filled bookshelf with the English ivy or fill an awkward corner with the rubber tree keep the flow of the room in mind. Happy decorating!
90 Thornberry Road, Winchester, MA 01890
There's a cheap office supply product available almost anywhere that can improve your home organization, save you money, and help prevent food-borne illnesses: ordinary stickers.
By stocking up on a variety of blank stickers, you can boost your efficiency around the house, save time, and reduce confusion.
Here are a few examples of how this basic strategy can prevent problems and simplify your life:
- Leftover food: How many times have you looked at a container or package of leftover food in the refrigerator and wondered if it's still reasonably fresh and safe to eat? If you label it with the date, you'll never have to risk getting sick from food that's been sitting around in the fridge for weeks (or longer). "When in doubt, throw it out" is a good policy for dealing with perishable food items, but you also don't want to get in the habit of throwing out perfectly good food. Everyone has slightly different standards for how long food should be kept, but when leftovers are not labeled, your only option is to guess how long it's been there -- and that method isn't too accurate! As a side note, there are several government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that can advise you on recommended refrigeration storage times (and safe temperatures) for different types of food. Generally, it's three or four days, but it can be more or less, depending on how perishable it is, whether the package has been opened, and if it's cooked or raw. Frozen food has a much longer shelf life (usually one or two months in the freezer), but if you don't label it, you may have no idea what it is ("mystery meat?") or how long it's been in storage! Clearly labeling refrigerated and frozen food will give you peace of mind, help prevent you from throwing away food prematurely (saving you money), and reduce your chances of getting food-borne illnesses.
- Old keys: Did you ever stumble upon an old key and wonder which door, suitcase, file cabinet, or car it's meant for? You can always try it out on different locks, luggage, or vehicles, but it could easily be from a previous residence, an item you no longer own, or a vehicle you traded in years ago. A much more efficient method would be to place the key in a small envelope or zip-lock bag and label it with identifying information. Labeling the tag on the keychain is another option.
- House paint: Paint cans that have been around for years can often be difficult to identify, especially if the original product label is obscured by paint spills. By adding a descriptive label displaying the date, the room it was used on, and the color, it will be much easier to organize and find the paint you need when you want touch up your walls or baseboards.
Your driveway is the first amenity that people see when they visit. When you bought your house, you may have only seen your driveway as a place to park your vehicle.But, a driveway is more than that. A driveway is often a property border,dividing you and your neighbor's yards. It's one of the largest visuals that make up your house's curb appeal. Your driveway is where you start to feel at home.
Which of these 5 driveways is right for you?
Choose the right driveway and you could buy a house that generates a quality sale should you decide to move. Choose the right driveway and you can provide your children ample room to play safely away from the street and your growing front or back lawn. Following are five popular driveways to check out before you buy a house or upgrade your house with a new driveway.
Brick driveway - This is an elegant driveway that has an artistic appeal. Clay bricks come in a rainbow of colors and sizes. These driveways have been around for centuries. Straight, round and curving are shapes that a brick driveway come in. Install a brick driveway and you can expect the paving to last for about 25 years.
Cobblestone driveway - If you love natural stones, a cobblestone driveway might be best. Primary shapes that cobblestone driveways are laid in are long, curvy, straight and square. A cobblestone driveway can extend a quarter mile from the street to your house's front steps. They resemble brick driveways and are smooth and flat, not at all a bumpy ride as you drive to your house.
Concrete driveway - Live in the suburbs and you might see house after house lined with a concrete driveway. Concrete driveways are a popular suburban choice. As with sidewalks, a downside to a concrete driveway is that it can bubble or crack. An upside is that a concrete driveway can be installed in reds, browns and traditional grays.
Gravel driveway - Attend several sporting events at large outdoor stadiums, and there's a good chance that you've driven over a gravel driveway. You won't have to worry about repaving a gravel driveway. What you will have to deal with is bits of gravel popping into your boots or shoes.
Asphalt driveway - An asphalt driveway is expensive to lay. There are heavy and lighter grades of blacktop that can be used when laying an asphalt driveway. Choose a quality sealer and your asphalt driveway can remain strong, absent cracks, for years. If your asphalt driveway develops cracks, you can fill in the cracks instead of resealing the entire driveway.
Although it's not attached to your home, your driveway plays a factor in your house's overall value. Think about your driveway as more than a place to park your vehicles. See your driveway as part of your home. Wash away stains and clean your driveway. To care for your driveway, also check for cracks and apply sealers as needed.
Whether you're 25 or 65, one thing's for sure: Home ownership, raising a family, and having enough money to retire comfortably takes a lot of money! Surprisingly, a high percentage of people of all ages have not accumulated a sufficient nest egg for their future needs.
What many homeowners (and aspiring homeowners) don't stop to realize is that there are many opportunities to save money, reduce expenses, and keep more of your hard-earned cash where it belongs: in your pocket, bank account, or retirement plan. While it may seem like your money flies out the window as fast as you can earn it, you may be overlooking some key strategies for holding on to more of it. One of the most powerful tactics for saving and making more money is learning how to negotiate effectively.
Practicing the Art of Negotiation
Virtually "everything is negotiable," especially in real estate transactions. Fortunately, you can rely on a good real estate agent to look out for your interests and get you the best deal. However, it is generally to your advantage to have a basic understanding of negotiating principles and the possibility of winning concessions from the other side.
Perhaps the number one thing to keep in mind when attending an open house or touring a home you're considering buying is to choose your words carefully -- particularly if you're in the presence of the seller's agent or the home seller, themselves (Note: If you're just viewing the house with your buyers' agent, you don't have to worry about weighing your words or being too effusive.) As an example, if you blurt out "This house is absolutely perfect!" or "This is exactly what we're looking for!" then you're putting yourself at a strategic disadvantage when it comes to making an offer on the house. It pays to "play things close to the vest." That expression, of course, originated from the game of poker, in which it's a tactical error to let your opponents see your cards.
There are dozens of situations in life where negotiating skills can help you gain hundreds, if not thousands of additional dollars from a transaction. Examples range from negotiating a raise or a starting salary to buying or selling real estate or automobiles. By developing your negotiating skills and practicing them at every opportunity, you'll find yourself gaining financial and other advantages that wouldn't otherwise be available to you. As the poem "My Wage" by Jessie B. Rittenhouse reminds us, if we bargain with life for pennies, then that's exactly what we'll get in return.
By negotiating the best possible deal in real estate transactions, automobile purchases, home improvement contracts, employment opportunities, credit card interest rates, and dozens of other situations, you can build up a larger retirement nest egg, help your kids pay for college, and achieve a greater measure of financial security.