Easy Ways to Turn Your Living Room into a Home Theater!

There’s nothing quite like staying in with family and friends. The comfort experienced at home is unlike any other. If you enjoy movies or binging the newest shows, a home movie theatre might just be the answer to make those stay in nights even more memorable. And with colder months quickly approaching, now’s the perfect time to set up that cozy entertainment spot. Here are some easy ways to turn those movie nights into unforgettable experiences.

1. Paint the Walls

Movie theatres have dark colored walls, but not merely for aesthetic reasons. Dark walls don’t reflect light, making a movie experience all the more enjoyable. If you have light walls, consider changing the color to a darker hue such as burgundy or navy blue.

2. Acquire Go-to Movie Theater Snacks

Why not bring the sweet smell of popcorn into your movie theater home? For an impressive retro style popcorn popper, try the Great Northern antique popcorn machine. A soda stream allows guests to customize their own soda and make healthier flavored fizzy drinks. There are many DIY concession bar ideas online that will add flair to your home theatre and help store other lovable movie snacks.

3. Up the Cozy Factor

Comfort is key to a long movie marathon or binge watching session. Stock up on cozy blankets and pillows for relaxation. Investing in an ottoman will allow your guests to kick their feet back and relax. Recliners offer the deluxe movie experience, so check out some reclining chairs to add to your home theater. This helpful chart can help determine the optimal distance between seating arrangements and the TV depending on size.

4. Install Dimming Lights and Accents

The ability to dim lights from your comfortable position on the couch can add ambiance to the movie experience. Indoor step lights, LED exit signs, and aisle rope lights can all make your home theater experience a true theatre look and feel.

5. Improving Sound Quality

Sound is everything when it comes to the theatrical movie experience. From the hum of a lightsaber to suspenseful creaks, sound is a huge aspect of movie watching. So why not invest in a seat shaking sound system reminiscent of an IMAX experience? Check out these sound systems made with home theatres in mind. If the movie watching room has hardwood floors, sound may bounce off and create unwanted audio disruptions. So be sure to add a rug or two, and minimize any sound disturbances.

Home theaters recreate that unforgettable theatre experience in the comfort of your own home. Make your house the go-to destination to premiere that new show on Netflix, or watch a horror flick in style. But aside from the acoustic amplifiers and sophisticated lighting, don’t forget to personalize your home theater space. Add your favorite posters, movie memorabilia, and personal touches to make your home theater one of a kind.

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Congratulations Linda Moore Top 1000 NRT Associates!

It is with great pride, that I am able to announce I have been recognized as one of the top 1,000 sales associates for the First Quarter of 2018! This unbelievable achievement has been recognized by the NRT LLC, one of the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage companies.

I have been informed that out of over 50,000 sales associates across all NRT brands, I have been ranked in the top half!

I was informed of this tremendous honor by the President and CEO of NRT, M. Ryan Gorman. His humbling letter stated, “Your ability to excel in an ever-changing market, while remaining steadfastly committed to the clients you serve, has elevated you among your peers.”

I cannot begin to express how proud, and humbled I am by this achievement. I started working in this business to help people find the perfect house to call a home. To know that my efforts have made such a difference in the real estate market is truly unbelievable.

I pledge to continue working as hard as I always do, if not more, in pursuit of my clients’ happiness. I also want to continue making a positive impact on the areas I work in.

I would like to extend my services to anyone looking to buy a home in the beautiful residential area of Encinitas, California. This vibrant beach city is the perfect location to settle down. I would be honored to help as many people as I can find the perfect coastal home.

Helping people build a future is what got me interested in the real estate business. So give me a call, or send me an email. I’d love to get to know the future residents of Encinitas!

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Benefits of Being a Dog Owner

Aside from looking cute, dogs offer pet parent’s a multitude of health and social benefits. If you currently have a dog in your home, you may already be aware of some of these perks. If you are currently thinking about becoming a dog owner, this list of well-being incentives may just convince you to take the plunge and get a fur baby for your family.

1. Improved Heart Health

Dogs have the ability to fill our hearts with love. But did you know that petting a dog has been scientifically shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure? A Chinese study found a link between dog ownership and a reduced risk of coronary artery disease. There have also been studies that show pet parents have slightly lower cholesterol.

2. More Resilient to Allergies

Children that grow up with a dog are less likely to develop allergies. The hygiene hypothesis shows that the more germs kids are exposed to, the better they can fight them. Dog dander can actually help your child in the long run. When exposed early, children can develop the bacteria necessary to combat allergies and asthma.

3. Fit and Active

Dogs require plenty of exercise. Granted, some dog breeds require more than others, but they all need to be walked daily. Having a dog can motivate pet owners to get up and move. Dogs help people stay active by getting them out of the house. After all, are you going to deny that cute face a trip around the park? By maintaining a daily active routine, a dog may also help owners lose weight.

4. Improve Immune System

Dogs are walking germ ridden hosts. Which is great for pet owners! By being exposed to a diverse body of germs, a person’s microbiome can become more resilient to sickness. Meaning pet owners get sick less often, and less severely when compared to non-pet owners.

5. Increased Happiness

Dogs can greatly increase a person’s happiness. Think of all those videos where parents surprise their kids with a fur baby. The pure joy on their faces! Dog owners are less lonely, less depressed, and tend to have less stress. Dogs are made to love people, and the love they show us can have positive impacts on our lives.

6. Active Social Life

Dog owners can be seen as more trustworthy and approachable than those without a pet. Dogs are much like a social invitation to interaction. Having a dog means having strangers approach you to ask about the breed, or if they can pet your fluffy friend.  Dogs can help owners make new friends and help form relationships.

7. Help Children Learn About Empathy

Dogs teach people how to be compassionate and empathetic individuals. Pet attachment can help kids develop positive attitudes toward animals. Dogs can help teach children how to play nicely and how to take care of another living being.

Dogs have so much to offer their pet owners. Happiness, a higher immune system, and even a healthy routine. But deciding to acquire a dog is a huge responsibility. If you’re thinking about becoming a pet parent, check out this article to see if you’re ready to undertake the duty of owning a dog. And if you already own a dog, give them a delicious treat for all that they do for you. They deserve it.

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Organization Ideas for Back-to-School!

It’s that time of the year again. Fall is just around the corner and school is almost open again. Kids are starting school for the first time or continuing their education. Nerves are high and the excitement is palpable. There are a lot of supplies that must be bought and new clothes to try on. Back-to-school season can be very chaotic and stressful for both parent’s and kids. There’s a lot that needs to get done in a few short weeks. Maintaining organization can make a world of difference.

So use these helpful organization ideas and get started on the right foot!

1. Plan Ahead

This goes without saying, but planning ahead can make all the difference between chaos and order. But planning ahead is also hard to do. Use a wall calendar to plan school events and after school activities, this way you will know what’s coming up in advance. Give meal prepping a try, this way you won’t have to worry about what your kids are going to have for lunch.

2. Clean Out The Closets

Kids outgrow clothes so quickly and their styles can change. Use back to school shopping as an excuse to clean out their closets. You can sort everything into three piles. To throw, to donate, and to keep. Donate any gently worn, outgrown clothing items and throw out holey socks and worn-out clothes.

3. Create Daily Routines

Kids are the champions of disorganization, and are also known for getting distracted easily. Help them stay organized and on track by making them checklists for morning and night routines.  Give them the opportunity to get themselves ready in the morning.

4. Designate A Lunch Space

Use a cupboard to store all of the lunch boxes, thermoses, and pantry snacks so they will be easy to grab and easy to find. In your fridge, designate a small space for refrigerated snacks like string cheese and fruit.

5. Plan Outfits For The Week

Let your kids pick out their complete outfits for the week. Choosing what they’re going to wear Monday through Friday will save time and energy. Use different hooks to hang each outfit. Or you can use a hanging clothes organizer with the days labeled.

6. Stock Up On Supplies

It’s inevitable that kids will run out of pencils or paper in the middle of the year. So buy items in bulk when they’re on sale. If a project needs to be completed the night of, save yourself a trip to the store by having poster boards and glitter ready to go.

7. Designate A Homework Space

Give your kids a space to do their homework and study by stocking a caddy or turntable with the essentials. A cork board or a dry-erase board can help them keep track of what needs to get done. And having a lamp can provide them with the extra light they need.

8. File Everything

Kids receive a lot of paperwork from school. This can include field trip forms, permission slips, and general school flyers. Use a file box or a cabinet drawer to organize everything. Tabs can be color-coded and labeled so you can find what you need in a jiffy.

9. Stock the Backseat Of Your Car

Using an organizer for your backseat can make dropping your kids off at school a breeze. Use the organizational pockets to stock up on tissue, sanitizer, and even some snacks. Having these items in the car can be a life saver when you’re running late and need to grab breakfast on the go.

10. Set Their Bed Time

Getting an appropriate amount of sleep is key to a productive and energetic day. So make sure your kids get the right amount of sleep by checking this helpful sleep chart and setting their bedtime at a certain hour.

Back-to-school season doesn’t have to be as chaotic as it seems. Take a moment to prepare yourself and get everything organized just in time for that first day of classes. If you’re stressed, your child will be too. So relax and enjoy the excitement of a brand new school year. This is a momentous occasion you don’t want to miss out on by spending your time worrying about what’s to come. Because with these organization tips, you’ve got back-to-school handled.

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8 Tips on Settling Into Your New Home

Buying a new home is a momentous occasion. However, moving and settling into your new home can be chaotic, and sometimes incredibly stressful. Not to worry, there are ways to maintain organization and make settling into your dream house that much easier.

Here are some tips on settling into a new house:

1. Change Your Address ASAP

Avoid missing any important bills or wedding invitations. Aside from informing your friends and family of your address change, make time to go to the post office and fill out an official change of address form. Some banks and financial institutions allow customers to change their addresses online, but if they don’t make sure to contact them directly.

2. Secure Your Home

Secure your new home by having the exterior locks changed. After all, you never know how many people the previous owners may have made copies for. Buy new batteries for your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Then test them to ensure they are working properly. Having a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher is always a good idea. If your new home has one, check the pressure gauge to see if it is still functional. Lastly, make sure you know the location of your home’s circuit breaker and the water-off valves.

3. Familiarize Yourself With Your New Home’s Location

Get to know the main streets and highways near your home. Map out the nearest gas station, grocery store, hospital, bank, and post office in relative distance to your home. Try and determine the best route to work, and which streets you can take to get the kids to school when they’re running late and miss the bus. Also, find the nearest park, for after you’ve settled in, to take a nice relaxing break.

4. Review Your Home Owner’s Association Rules

If you bought a home that is a part of the HOA, review the rules. The Home Owner’s Association (HOA) is a private organization located in communities throughout the United States. They have strict rules on what homeowners can and cannot do to their property, such as upgrading the property or small construction jobs. In order to avoid fines, be sure to know what changes you are allowed to make.

5. Get To Know Your Neighbors

Your neighbors are more than likely going to be living next to you for a while. So get to know them and establish a friendship. Neighbors can look after your house while you’re relaxing on vacation and might even lend you supplies when you need them. So why not try and build a relationship with them. They might even offer resources as to where to get the best take-out on a Friday night.

6. Transfer Your Utilities

Change your utility bills to your new address. This includes water, electricity, gas, phone, and internet. If needed, sign up for a service change. Nothing is worse than trying to clean up after a long move, only to find that the water hasn’t been turned on yet.

7. Stock Up On Supplies

There are a few supplies that every home should have in case of guests or emergencies. Make sure you have a basic set of tools and know how to use them. Gather some basic cleaning supplies, a set of scissors, duct tape, safety kit, power outage essentials, and a fire extinguisher. Have extra sheets, towels, and pillows in case of guests.

8. Keep Paperwork Organized

It’s always a good idea to have a file folder to keep track of important receipts and documents. Store all of your moving-related paperwork in an easy to find folder come tax season! You should also keep your final home buying documents in either a fireproof safe or an offsite safety deposit deposit box.

Moving is an exciting time, so breathe easy! While things may seem chaotic as you move your valuables and possessions from point A to B, don’t forget to smile. You’ve come a long way and finally made the plunge. So use these tips to your advantage and settle into your sweet new digs with ease.

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How to Host the Best Summer Party

Sadly, the end of summer is quickly approaching. However, there is still enough time to take advantage of the nice weather and host a beautiful summer party. Here are some tips and tricks on how to turn your run-of-the-mill summer party into an extravaganza your friends won’t soon forget!

1. Make Frozen Boozy Drinks and Desserts

Summer cocktails are delicious, but why not beat the heat by making boozy frozen desserts instead! There are a surplus of recipes for alcohol infused ice cream with flavored alcohol, sparking wine sorbet, and tipsy popsicles. Have some fun with your desserts and cool off with these homemade treats. You can find a slideshow of recipes here.

2. Wow With A #SummerFun Display

Make your party an Instagram worthy affair with over-the-top decorations and a bold color scheme. Decorating can be fun, but also expensive. Don’t worry though, you can still have a gorgeous display with a wallet friendly budget. You can find an overabundance of decorating ideas on Pinterest for every theme, color scheme, and desired mood.

3. Wine with Personalized Labels as Party Favors

Make some cute goodies for your guests to take home! Wine labels are a great idea because they mark a celebration and you can decorate them however you’d like!  You can buy custom wine labels online for convenience, or make your own using labels from the craft store.

4. Make Delicious Fruit Ice Cubes

Don’t let your drinks become diluted by the melting ice! Using pureed fresh fruit in your ice cube tray will keep your drinks cool and make your drinks more aesthetically appealing. By mixing fruit and some flavor such as lemon, lime, or orange zest, you can add additional taste to sweaty drinks.

5. Host a Backyard Water Park

August is one of the hottest months of the year. Cool off with your guests by renting or buying an adult water slide! Imagine your friend’s excitement as their eyes fall upon the massive, inflatable funhouse you acquired. Guaranteed to make your party an epic one to remember. After all, who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again if only for a day?

6. Backyard Movie Night

Warm summer nights allow for spectacular summer activities. Host an unforgettable movie night by using a projector to display the movie onto the side of your house. This allows for a bigger screen and a fun night to remember. Recapture the magic of a drive in by hosting your own backyard movie party!

7. S’mores Bar

Adults and kids alike enjoy a good s’more. Build a s’more bar and let your guests customize their delicious treats with flavored marshmallows, different kinds of chocolate, peanuts, and sprinkles. Take a classic American indulgence and kick it up a notch. Wow your friends with an appetizing display.

These are but a few of the ways you can liven up a summer party. There are a ton of fun ideas and summer activities to do with your guests this summer. As a host/ess, you should know how to show your guests a good time at your summer parties. Let this summer be one of your best yet!

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Getting Rid of Ants Invading Your Home

Ants are hardworking insects capable of lifting items a thousand times their own weight! They are intelligent insects with intricate social colonies capable of building complex nests. These insects provide great ecological benefits to your garden, but you definitely don’t want them inside your home. Once they realize your home is a source of food, a small colony can quickly turn into an ant army invasion.

There are different types of ants, but typically these three types tend to invade homes during the warm summer months.

  • Odorous house ants have a sweet tooth and will more than likely appear at your picnic. They leave a pheromone trail so killing a few won’t solve the problem. When crushed they leave a stinking smell, hence the name.
  • Carpenter Ants are easy to spot because they are large and colored either dark brown or black. They generally live in wooded areas and like to nest in rotted wood. They need a constant water source. 
  • Pavement ants are dark brown or black, and quite small. These ants are quite aggressive and will often invade seemingly impenetrable areas. Pavement ants will eat just about anything. 

There are several natural options for you to get rid of ants. The following list names a couple relatively simple steps you can take to get rid of these small home invaders and prevent future ones from visiting.

  1. Food Bait: Use a 1:3 combination of Borax and powdered sugar to attract and kill ants simultaneously. Place small amounts of this concoction near the suspected area of invasion. You can also place this mixture directly in their path.
  2. Vinegar: Spray vinegar near any cracks that ants could or have entered through. This eliminates their chemical trail and any future visitors.
  3. Diatomaceous Earth: This natural and organic siliceous sedimentary rock. Made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic animals, this is one of the best solutions to ant invasions. Sprinkled around the exterior perimeter of your home, this substance will kill any insects that come into contact with it by sucking out their moisture.
  4. Cut the foliage: Ants and other insects like to climb trees and other foliage. By trimming the excess or long branches, you eliminate the bridges between the plants and your house.
  5. Essential oil: By using a few drops of 100% pure peppermint oil on cotton balls you can easily get rid of ants. Place the soaked cotton balls in areas where you’ve seen ants crawling.
  6.  Cinnamon: Sprinkle cinnamon near any entry points
  7. Baby powder: This method only works occasionally. Sprinkle the baby powder around the perimeter of your home where ants may come into contact with the house.
  8. Seal your home: Keep crumbs to a minimum. By sweeping and vacuuming daily, an ant’s food source will be cut off and they may leave on their own. Store any sweet foods in Tupperware or plastic bags. And don’t leave any food out on tables or counter tops.

These natural and effective solutions have been known to solve ant invasion problems. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Make the proactive decision to start ant prevention before that small ant turns your home into a feeding ground.

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Putting Plants in Your Bedroom Can Improve Your Sleep

Do you struggle to sleep enough or to get good rest at night? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything to sleep better, and nothing helps? There may be one helpful move that you probably haven’t tried, simply because it is not widely known about or talked about.

If you aren’t resting well, or you’d like to sleep better, try putting plants in your bedroom. Sure, it may sound crazy, but plants can soothe your mind and help remove pollutants from the air in your room. If you love plants, or you’ve tried everything else, and you still can’t sleep, you don’t have anything to lose from adding some greenery to your bedroom.

Plants That Clear the Air

NASA did a study on houseplants that help clean your air. They found that some commonly raised indoor plants can make your air cleaner. You may not think that this would affect your sleep, but these pollutants could be irritating your body at night. Remove them, and you may sleep better.

Scientists tested a whole host of plants, and you may not even need to make a trip to the store to get them. Some of the most efficient at removing pollution include:

  • Spider plants
  • Gerbera daisies
  • English ivy
  • Peace Lilies
  • Bamboo palms

If you don’t have them, you can buy most of these at your local nursery. You may want to get several plants, both to make your bedroom look better and because some of them are more efficient at handling certain pollutants than others.

Plants Help You Rest

Studies show that natural views, time spent in gardens, and even photos of natural scenes, can all help hospital patients heal faster, all while feeling significantly less pain and taking less medication. If people who are undergoing the massive kind of stress that can come with being in a hospital are helped by greenery, plants can probably help you, too.

Make sure that you have the right kind of greenery, though. People respond better when it is lush, rather than sparse. You may want to set up an entire corner with several plants. Either place it right next to your bed or sit on a chair and look at it for a few minutes before bed. You could also get up close and personal with your plants, sticking your face into them and inhaling deeply for a few breaths. This infusion of greenery should help you relax so you can sleep better.

If you can’t put plants in your room, maybe because you are allergic, or your landlord forbids it, find some lush landscapes to look at, instead. They may not help as much, but they should still help improve your sleep.

Plants not only make your bedroom look great, but they can bring peace and ease to your body and mind, as well as working to remove some common air pollutants that may be keeping you awake at night. If you don’t have anything green in your bedroom, try adding something and see if it helps you get the sleep you crave.

 

Samantha Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.  

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Picking the Wrong Size Furniture for Your Home

When it comes to finding different furniture for your home, it’s hard to determine what it’ll look like and how it’ll fit. These are some of the trickiest items to scale for your home, and how to judge it best.

Sofas

When it comes to your sofa or couch, you should be measuring before you buy. If you don’t, you’ll mostly likely end up with a couch that’s too big. If you have a lot of extra room and you get a smaller couch, you can always add accent furniture if the room seems to bare rather than a giant couch. For measurement, most living rooms fit a 75-80-inch piece, but there should be about 24-36 inches of clearance between the furniture in the room.

Lamps

Limit the size of your table lamps to the size of the table. But, if it’s too small, it could be a mistake and get swallowed by the table. The best rule of thumb is to make sure the bottom of the lampshade is at the seated eye-level.

A floor lamp is between 5-6 feet in height for a home with the average 8-foot ceiling. With higher ceilings, you can adjust the height be a foot or so taller and follow the same scale for the height of your ceiling.

Area Rugs

For an area rug, start with 8 feet by 10 feet, or even 9 feet by 12 feet if your room is large. Aim to place the front legs of the chairs and couches on the rug – or all 4. Whatever the size of the rug, make sure you have 2 feet of space from the rug to the wall.

Dining Room Tables

Not only will the size of your family determine your dining room table, but there are also some judgements you can make to help with that decision. You’ll want 42 inches of clearance between the table and walls. If you buy a table that expands, make sure you’ll be able to exit with however many leaves you will need to add.

Beds

Beds are also a tough decision to make, mostly based off of what size bed you are looking for. At the least, allow 2 feet of clearance so you can change the sheets without an awkward shuffle. If your bed is still a tight squeeze, you can eliminate dressers, nightstands, and lights. You can put any clothes from your dresser into the closet, and floating shelves work great as a nightstand as well as suspended lights.

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Must-Have Counter Top Appliances

Choosing small appliances for your kitchen isn’t just deciding where to put it, but how to fit it in your lifestyle. For example: a bread maker may not be the best option if you don’t eat a lot of bread. Here are some of the essentials and some of the must-haves!

1. Blenders

If you enjoy smoothies, you should have a blender in your kitchen. You could use it to make adult drinks, smoothies, milkshakes, soups, and even crush ice to make syrupy cones!

2. Slow Cookers

Slow cookers can help in many ways. When you are gone all day or know you won’t have time to prepare dinner, you just throw your ingredients together and let is slowly cook itself and stay warm all day. It works great for stews, one-pot meals, and potluck dinners.

3. Stand Mixers

Stand mixers come in handy when you least expect it. They help you make anything that needs baking but gives you the freedom of multitasking. Whether it’s a cake, cupcakes, brownies, or something that normally could be mixed by hand, using a mixer can also save a lot of wrist-aches.

4. Coffee Makers

Coffee makers are lifestyle dependent. If you are a big coffee drinker, not only is it convenient to have a coffee maker, but you’ll wind up saving a lot of money instead of taking trips to the coffee shop.

5. Espresso Machines

Just like the coffee maker, whether or not you would need an espresso machine depends on the type of coffee drinker you are. Having a nice, high-quality machine that focuses on just espresso can make a world of difference. Chain coffee shops tend to water down their espresso, so you get what you need at home without having to pay per shot.

6. Food Processors

Food processors are indispensable for all types of tasks around the kitchen. The processor makes slicing, chopping, blending, pureeing, and kneading a lot easier.

7. Toaster Ovens

A good convection-powered toaster oven is more than just a luxury. Beyond reheating food and making toast, you can bake small portions like cookies, cakes, pizzas and pies without having to heat up an entire kitchen.

8. Wine Coolers

For the wine-connoisseurs, a great wine preservation system isn’t just a gadget. You can maintain the appropriate temperatures for separate bottles and even dispense your wine.

9. Soda Makers

If you’re trying to go green while reducing sugar and sodium in your home, a soda maker could be your next appliance. These gadgets turn out freshly-made flavored sodas with less additives than mass-marketed products.

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