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Mar 29

Green Living: Three House Plants to Seed this Spring

With a long, cold winter behind us and spring in the air, it’s time to look forward to the new budding blossoms that will be filling our gardens and homes. Here are three in particular that are not only good to add to your home décor,  but can really make an impact on your overall health and well-being.

Aloe Vera

A staple houseplant with a remarkably easy maintenance schedule and several health benefits, the noble aloe vera plant is a great place to start. Commonly used as a first-line treatment against scrapes, burns, rashes, sunburns, or other skin maladies, it’s so easy to administer that even children can manage it. Simply break off a piece of the aloe vera stalk and rub its sap anywhere you like – topical use is deemed safe by the FDA.

Historically, aloe has also been used to treat hair loss, hemorrhoids, frostbite, cold sores, and psoriasis. It’s included as an ingredient in beauty products for hair and skin.

Some holistic health practitioners also juice the aloe vera plant and drink it as part of a shake, but be warned that it contains strong laxative compounds and internal use is not FDA approved.

Plant in wide, well-draining containers with a potting mix designed for cacti, with indirect sunlight, such as on your kitchen shelf.

Lavender

The sweet smell of lavender has been used for centuries to help its cultivators drift into a relaxing sleep.

Research supports this ancient healing wisdom, showing that the scent of lavender lowers blood pressure and heart rate.

Readers in regions closer to the equator – hot climates with lots of sunlight – will have an easier time growing lavender indoors, as the plant requires substantial sunlight to achieve the distinct color and scent reminiscent of lavender.

The ideal place to plant lavender is in the bedroom, in a small pot an inch or two larger than the plant’s root ball, in a south-facing window that allows plenty of sunlight.  Alternatively, plant outside and use a bedside vase to hold dried lavender – the scent will last for weeks.

Peace Lily

Mold growth in your home is unsightly at best, dangerous at worst. The Peace Lily plant removes mold spores from the air so that you can skip a shower cleaning without endangering your health. The plant thrives in the shade and high-humidity environments, making it the perfect bathroom plant.

Plant it in regular potting soil and replant in fresh soil annually. Keep an eye on the soil’s dryness level year-round (moist, but not wet), and if you regularly shower in the room with the plant, you may not need to water it at all.

Mar 20

Spring Equinox: A Time for Balance

Today is the Spring Equinox, when the sun is directly over the equator and thus for the whole world, day and night are (roughly) equal. In the Northern Hemisphere, the weather is finally getting warmer after a long, cold winter, making Spring Equinox a perfect time to restore some balance in your home and in your life. We’d like to go beyond the usual spring cleaning suggestions to highlight a few things that can rejuvenate your home and your life without the drudgery of a full spring clean:

Open the doors and windows as much as possible: Bring in the fresh air and sunshine! There are so many benefits in doing this, not only to reduce A/C usage, but for your health and well-being. Sunshine can increase Vitamin D production and even reduce symptoms of depression.  Fresh air clears out the stuffiness in your home and provides the opportunity to feel more connected to your surroundings.

Exercise outside: Free from the icy misery of winter or the sweltering heat of summer, it’s a magical time to exercise outside. Whether you choose a boot camp style workout or simply a walk, take the time to get back outside and reconnect with nature.

Plant some spring flowers: Not only does this form of moderate activity get you outside it also provides enjoyment for weeks to come. If planting spring flowers is something new to you, then this is the perfect time to educate yourself and give it a try.  Here’s a good list to get you started outlining all different types of flowers, categorized by blooming times.

Look for small changes with big effects: Seek out smaller changes you can make for dramatic effect. Paint a wall, move the furniture or switch the pictures around. You can always change these things back easily but it can be a great way to feel refreshed in your home without putting in huge amounts of work.

Put away all winter gear: Take all those boots, sweaters, jackets, hats, gloves, etc., and put them somewhere that they’ll be protected from damage but not out in the open. Clutter is never good for your state of mind, and winter clutter in summer (or vice versa) is just needlessly annoying.

These are just a few suggestions for rejuvenating yourself and your home environment for the Spring Equinox. A massive spring clean is always a great thing if you can put the time in. But if you’re just trying to keep your head above water like many of us, then a few simple changes can really help restore balance in your house and in your life.

Mar 19

Westside DIGS: The New Greenery

Westside DIGS features SL70, Trumark Homes’ community in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, and its design use of the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, a zesty shade of greenery.

Mar 14

Five Tips to Organize Your Home

Clutter is a challenge that almost every homeowner faces. From the daily mail and shoes to old photographs and sporting equipment, finding the proper place for everything can be difficult. However, discovering the right organizational solutions for your home and lifestyle can make all the difference when trying to get your home in order. Try out these five decluttering tips to shape up your home.

1.    Invest in storage containers after assessing your home and belongings

When embarking on an ambitious decluttering and organizing project, it may be tempting to buy new storage bins and containers as the first step, but the fanciest and most expensive sweater storage bag won’t do you any good if it won’t fit in any of your closets or other storage areas. Before buying any new boxes, take a closer look at the nature of your storage spaces – do you need shallow and flat containers for the top shelves of your closets or narrow and tall bins for underneath cabinets? You’ll save time and avoid creating even more clutter by assessing your needs before buying anything.

2.    Sort and label storage containers before storing

The time you devote to getting organized will be most effective if you can easily find what you’re looking for when you need it. Throwing anything that fits into a container before sealing it up and storing it away may be a quick fix to clear the clutter, but chances are you won’t remember that you stored your winter scarves in the same box as your record collection. Put similar items together in the same storage bin and label everything before putting it away.

3.    Aim to store items where they’re used

As with sorting and labeling storage bins, storing your belongings in proximity to where they’ll be used will make it much easier to find items when you need them and will help you resist the temptation to fall back into the habit of leaving items anywhere. For example, make space for your tools in the garage and get a bin or shelf for shoes in your entranceway’s closet.

4.    Take advantage of underutilized space beneath beds

The space underneath beds is a great example of often wasted space. Investing in flat storage boxes or even upgrading to a bed with built-in drawers can help you free up much-needed space in your closets. Under bed storage is the perfect place to put out-of-season clothes or rarely-used special occasion items.

 5.    Tidy up the cords

While wires running to your entertainment center or bedside table might seem like no big deal, details like this can make an otherwise organized home seem messy. By using a cord organizer that allows you to run your cords unobtrusively along baseboards or behind your media storage, you’ll make your home instantly look neater.

As you can see, decluttering and organizing your home doesn’t have to be a never-ending project, as long as you employ the right strategies and storage solutions from the beginning.

Mar 10

The Benefits of Homeownership and How to Save

Owning your own home is both a blessing and an accomplishment that comes with major benefits.  Many people would love to own a home but there can be challenges that come with home ownership, such as saving enough money to actually make the purchase.

Saving money to invest in a new home is not a walk in the park – it requires discipline and commitment. Many people, especially millennials, have a huge problem when it comes to saving. We live in a world where we are used to getting things fast or on demand, without having to spend too much time, money or effort. This makes the idea of home ownership even more challenging and often times, people end up spending money on rent rather than investing in a home because it is faster and easier. Rent, however, has its own disadvantages when compared to owning a home.

Here are several benefits of owning a home rather than renting.

  • Life expectancy – Life expectancy today is high. This means that if you take up a mortgage to pay in twenty years, you still have a lot of time to live rent free. Especially if you start paying your mortgage when you are young.
  • Privacy – Home ownership means that you have more space and freedom to keep to yourself if you so desire, unlike when you live in a rented house or apartment where there is constant interactions with neighbors, maintenance technicians, etc.
  • Rising Interest rates– Interest rates keep fluctuating, which means that rent may increase with time. The total cost you might spend on rent for many years can add up to be more than buying a house.

With all of this in mind, here are several easy steps you should take to save up for a new home.

  • Be specific on the date you want to move in and plan from there – If you know the date you want to move in to your new house, then you can save towards that and avoid procrastination.
  • Get a mortgage plan that is affordable – While being ambitious is good, remember to also be realistic. Get a mortgage that you can afford while also still pay for your day-to-day expenses.
  • Practice – In order to be sure that you can afford paying mortgage, practice making payments to a savings account and see if you can make that payment on a daily basis.
  • Set up a savings account for maintenance – You do not want to move into a new house with old furniture or equipment. Therefore, as you plan for your new home, save money for maintenance and interior designing. Download a money managing app like Mint that will show where you currently stand financially and ways to improve.

Buying a home for the first time can be scary, but at the same time exciting. Save up for your new home and see just how rewarding homeownership can be.