Consumer Real Estate News

    • Keep the Fun Afloat: 5 Tips to Make Watersport Adventures Safe This Summer

      17 June 2021

      (Family Features) For those who enjoy outdoor and active summer lifestyles, water entertainment may be the way to go. Racing the waves with the wind flowing through your hair can be a fun and exhilarating way to enjoy fresh air; a dip in a cool lake can also help keep the heat at bay on hot summer days.

      Despite world events over the past year, the watersports lifestyle is thriving – potentially due to the nature of personal watercraft riding and ability to practice social distancing. In fact, powerboat sales reached record highs, and while that momentum has slowed some in 2021, personal watercraft sales are still surging – up 77% over 2020, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. This growth means there are lots of new riders on the water, and that can affect the safety of riders both experienced and new. 

      Respecting riding etiquette, wearing protective gear and being conscious of the environment can help ensure riders have fun and continue to enjoy access to watersports. The team at Sea-Doo, a global leader in personal watercrafts, shares this advice to help keep everyone safe while having fun on the water:

      Know the rules. Rules can vary from one state or location to the next, so be sure you know what the expectations are before you head out on the water. You can find more about licensing requirements and other regulations in your area through the Boat U.S. Foundation.

      Dress for success. Ensure you have a life jacket or personal flotation device that fits snugly but comfortably. Remember to connect the tether cord from the ignition of your watercraft to your life jacket to cut power to the engine should you end up in the water. Additionally, neoprene shorts can help prevent injuries and give you a comfortable layer between your body and the saddle. Gloves and boots provide protection and improve your grip, and sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the wind and water. It’s also a good idea to keep a windbreaker in a storage compartment in case weather blows in unexpectedly.

      Gear up. Once you’re dressed for the occasion, you won’t need much other gear, but there are a few items that can help protect you. Always keep an anchor on board, along with a radio to call for help if you have trouble. A water bottle can help ensure you stay well hydrated on the water, where you typically sweat a lot due to the wind and sun. 

      Play nice. On gorgeous, sunny days, you can expect your local lake to be busy. Being respectful of others on the water helps ensure everyone can enjoy their water adventures safely. If you haven’t already, take a watercraft or boat safety course and brush up on the basics. Beyond that, pay attention to signs, especially ones that note restricted areas and no-wake zones, and keep a safe 200-foot distance between yourself and other watercrafts.

      Be earth aware. Part of being responsible in the water is respecting the environment. You can do your part by committing to green habits like refueling on land and doing maintenance work well away from the shoreline. When you’re riding, getting too close to the shore can tear up your watercraft, but it can also be harmful to the fish and birds that feed on the sediment in the shallows, as well as the vegetation. Be aware noise and movement of boats may disturb bird populations. Stay clear of posted bird nesting areas. Nesting birds may fly from their nests, exposing unprotected eggs and hatchlings to the sun’s heat or predators. Keeping to channels and deeper water also helps protect the wildlife and prevent shoreline erosion.

      Find more tips to maximize your fun in the sun and stay safe on your personal watercraft

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Summer Veggies to Start In the Ground or In Pots Right Now

      17 June 2021

      It doesn’t take a lot of outdoor space to grow your own. Experienced gardeners suggest starting these veggies now, either in your backyard or in pots. If planting in pots, start with a premium potting mix and supplement with 1/2 cup of controlled-release fertilizer for each container. If you prefer to use an organic fertilizer, blend three parts potting mix with one-part aged chicken manure. 

      Tomatoes - Tomatoes are one of the best vegetables to grow in pots, but set a cage or a trellis in the container at planting time and tie the vertical leaders to it as they climb. Try a slicer type like Early Girl or cherry types like Sun Gold.

      Summer Squash - Zucchini and their yellow summer squash cousins are really productive, so in-ground or in pots, one or two plants may produce more of the veggie than one family can eat. Plant or place in full sun. Try a compact type like Eight Ball or SpaceMiser zucchini.

      Peppers - Both bell peppers and chilies love heat and all-day sunlight. Try California Wonder or Sun Bell sweet peppers. Among the hot chilies, Habañero does especially well in pots.

      Eggplant - Ichiban, an Oriental type, may be planted in the same container as sweet peppers and bears beautiful small eggplants. Also try Bambino, which produces walnut-size eggplant.

      Beans - Both bush and pole types take well to containers, but support pole beans with a trellis at the rear of the container.

      Cucumbers - Try varieties like Lemon or Marketplace 86 in pots and tie the vines to a trellis, although cucumbers typically do better when planted in the ground.

      Planting Tips: Press soil firmly around each seedling. Set needed trellises or cages at planting time. Water as often as needed to keep the soil as moist as a wrung-out sponge. Feed plants monthly with a handful of fertilizer.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Quick and Easy Decor Tips You'll Wish You'd Thought of Before

      17 June 2021

      Got a few hours—a weekend, at most—to give your rooms a new look? It won’t take a big bite out of your wallet to make small changes that make a difference and a statement. 

      • Paint a Few Legs - Wooden farmhouse tables and chairs all look pretty much alike, but you don’t have to buy new to upgrade. Make yours stand out by painting the legs of the tables and chairs in the bright, vibrant accent color of your choice.
      • Wall Murals Are Back - Find them online in hundreds of unique designs ranging from beachside illusions to library shelving to space age views and mores—many at costs far less than you might think.
      • Lay a Runner - A colorful runner in the kitchen or hallway adds instant interest to any space. Or, add a round or oval rug in the living or dining room. In open areas, use an underlay grip to minimize slippage.
      • Try Blackboard Walls - They’re great for budding chalk artists in the kids’ rooms, and cool in the kitchen for posting grocery lists, upcoming appointments, and keeping track of play dates and other schedules.
      • Brighten a Room With Shutters - Full-size shutters are the latest trend in window coverings. They filter light and add interest to expansive white or neutral-colored walls. 
      • Add a Statement Headboard - It can be as fussy as a tufted satin or an interwoven leather panel mounted on the wall behind the bed, or as simple as a half-moon painted behind the bed in a color to match the bedspreads—or your mood.
      • Create a Gallery Wall - Whether it’s family pictures or a group of prints and graphics, choose varying sizes, frame them as you like and arrange them to suit your eye.
      • Hone In on the Mantel - Once the Christmas decor has left the mantel, make it a focal point with décor for every holiday or for the changing seasons. Family and friends alike will be keeping an eye out for your interesting new finds.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Take Care of Your Backyard Gear

      16 June 2021

      As backyard season kicks into high gear, you’ll need to have the right equipment on hand to create and maintain a healthy and inviting outdoor space. You’ll also need to make sure it’s well-maintained and safe to operate. Here are some steps to follow from the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) to make sure your outdoor gear is ready to go:

      Refresh your knowledge. Read your equipment owner’s manuals and follow all manufacturer’s guidelines. If you find a manual online, save a digital copy for future reference.

      Look over equipment. Lots can happen when equipment is left in a garage or storage shed for an extended period of time. Check the air filter, oil level and gasoline tank. Watch for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative. Check you have the appropriate batteries.

      Drain fuel tanks. If you didn’t empty the gasoline tank before storing equipment, drain it now. Fuel should never sit in outdoor power equipment for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems or damage the fuel system.

      Protect your power. Use only E10 or less fuel in gasoline-powered outdoor power equipment. Most manufacturers recommend a fuel stabilizer be used, especially if you don’t use up all the fuel in the tank right away. Any fuel containing more than 10% ethanol can damage small engine equipment not designed for it.

      Store fuel safely. Label fuel cans with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose safely of the fuel and buy fresh gasoline. Always store fuel out of the reach of children or pets and in approved containers.

      Don’t mix up your battery packs. For battery-powered equipment, use only the charger specified by the manufacturer. A charger that is suitable for one type of battery pack may create a risk of fire when used with another. Follow all charging instructions and do not charge the battery pack or tool outside the temperature range specified in the instructions.

      Stash batteries safely. When the battery pack is not in use, keep it away from other metal objects, like paper clips, coins, keys, nails, screws or other small metal objects, that can make a connection from one terminal to another. Shorting the battery terminals together may cause burns or a fire.

      Tidy up. Clean equipment will run more efficiently and last longer, so take care of it regularly by removing dirt, oil and grass, and store it in a dry place. Never store equipment in a place that is damp or wet.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Completely Free Ways to Treat Yourself

      16 June 2021

      While an indulgent day at the spa or a tropical beach vacation may be what comes to mind when you think of rest and relaxation, self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, there are many small, virtually cost-free things you can do at a moment’s notice when you feel the need for a little pampering. Try some of these simple ways to treat yourself next time you’re feeling stressed:

      Slow down. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much of a treat. But in our overwhelming, multi-tasking lifestyles, easing off the gas to mindfully focus on just one thing can be a calming and restorative experience. Read a book just for fun, do some sketching, give yourself a manicure...with your phone on mute or left in another room.

      Take a nap. The guilt that comes with even thinking about taking a nap often prevents us from indulging in this powerful antidote to stress. Most of us aren’t getting enough sleep in the first place due to the demands of work and family (or the late-night lure of Netflix), which compounds the stress we may feel on any given day. Not only will a nap help you catch up on sleep, it will strengthen your immune system, clear your mind and give you renewed energy to make the remainder of your day more productive. 

      Go outside. Even if you don’t have the time or ambition to go for a hike or bike ride, just spending a few moments outdoors can do wonders for your frame of mind. Fresh air, sunshine and a little nature will help you clear your head and reboot...even when it’s cold. So take a quick stroll around your yard or around the block, or simply sit for a few minutes on your porch or balcony. As mom always said, the fresh air will do you good!

      Pursue your passion. Reconnect with something you really love to do, but that’s never seemed like a productive use of your time. Maybe it’s painting or writing or playing the guitar. Whatever it is that speaks to your soul and creates a deep level of enjoyment, be sure to make time for it on a regular basis. Taking time with your favorite hobby will keep you fulfilled and relaxed.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.