Sanity And Stress Savers For the Busy Parent

stressFor those of you that are the main parent in your household, you know what it’s like to get to the end of a day and feel like the whole thing has gone full tilt, with barely a moment for you to catch your breath. Between morning wake up calls, getting breakfast for everyone, daily errands, soccer practice, dry cleaning, having dinner ready at a reasonable hour, and god forbid you actually have a job on top of it all.

Being a busy mom or dad doesn’t have to mean that you run through life feeling scatterbrained and a little crazed. There are a few simple things that can save your sanity and lower stress without sacrificing all you get accomplished in your hectic day.

1. Get up 15 minutes earlier! That short amount of time won’t make a huge deficit in your sleep requirements, but it can make a huge difference in your mindset for the day. Take those few moments to grab a cup of coffee (tea/juice/water…pick your poison), and maybe step out on the patio/porch, and start your morning slow. Taking a few moments to ease yourself into the day can lower your blood pressure AND your stress levels. If you start the morning off already in a blur and feeling rushed, the rest of the day doesn’t look promising.
2. Breathe! (correctly!) When you feel yourself starting to get irritated or stressed out, stop and take a few deep breaths. The key to this is making sure you’re doing it correctly – take deep breaths, moving your diaphragm with each breath instead of breathing shallow. To know if you’re doing this correctly, place your hand on your stomach and see if it moves with each breath. If only your chest moves, you’re doing it wrong! With just 5-7 breaths, you can lower your stress and blood pressure, as well as soothe your mind. For those that swear they can’t stop long enough, you can do this while you’re driving. No excuses!
3. Take Action! When something goes wrong (flight got canceled, you’re running late, all the cupcakes for the school burned up in the oven), are you the type that sits there and worries about things? “Why did this happen to me?” “What am I going to do?” Don’t just sit there and think up a bunch of ‘what-if’ scenarios or have a pity party about how your life is so unfair. Get up and do something about it! Worrying and self-pity don’t get anything done, and actually take up more time that you could be using to actually accomplish something. You are raising your stress level and getting nothing in return. Adopt the mindset, “OK, this happened, I need to do this to handle it”.


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Stocking Up for the Semester: Essentials for Your First College Apartment

Renters-Voice_Cleaning-SuppliesIn addition to registering for classes, paying for textbooks, and actually finding an apartment, stocking your first college apartment is a big job to undertake at the beginning of the fall semester. Free from the confines of dorm food, mini fridges, communal bathrooms, and random roommates, you’re free to decorate, cook, sleep, and study however you like. But where to start when shopping to fill your first apartment? You might have a lamp or two from your dorm, but a skillet? A kitchen table? A shower curtain? Forget about it.

To get you started, here are some essentials you’ll need for your first college apartment.

An Apartment Toolkit

Now that you’ll have an apartment to decorate plus odds and ends to fix, you’re going to need a set of tools that will help get the job done. After all, you never know when you’re going to have to duct tape something in a hurry. Buy a ready-made toolkit, or get a cheap toolbox and gather up these items: measuring tape, crescent wrench, pliers, hammer, Philips head screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, duct tape, level, scissors, nails (assorted sizes), and screws (assorted sizes).

Cleaning Supplies

Continue reading

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How to Move With Your Pets And Ensure Their Safety

petsWhen it comes to taking on a long-term move with pets it’s very important to make sure that your pets are safe throughout the entire moving process. Moving a long distance with a pet can be a bit of a nerve-racking experience for you and your beloved animals but it is possible to get through it without much of a problem. Here are some top tips that you can use for transporting your pet over a long-distance move and keeping them safe in a car over the long drive with all of your belongings.

1. Dogs and cats probably shouldn’t roam the car: no matter how tightly you may have packed all of your belongings for a move it’s usually best to have some type of pet carrier especially for long-distance moves. When pets are contained in their own carrier space this can protect your animals in the event of a crash especially when the carrier is hooked into a seatbelt. Keeping your animals in a carrier is also a great way to keep them from distracting the driver and to protect them in the event that the stuff you have packed becomes unstable.

2. Keep pets in the backseat of any vehicle: Remember that you should always keep a pet carrier in the backseat as this will protect animals from the airbags in the event of a crash. Airbags go off under a massive amount of pressure to protect humans but they aren’t really designed to protect animals in the event of a crash. Airbags might actually injure your pets during a crash so it’s always best for them to travel in a protective crate and avoid the tremendous forces that airbag can place on an animal.

3. Stop frequently and bring a leash and ID tags: remember to make time for more rest stops especially when traveling within animal over long distances. Take plenty of rest stops and make sure that your pet has lots of water. Remember that at any rest stop it’s important to leash up your pet and give them their ID tag in case they decide to run for get lost.

4. Don’t leave pets alone in the car: always try to find accommodation along the way that accept pets and never leave your pet alone in a car especially when it’s hot out. Make sure to keep the inside of your car nice and cool for your pets and crack a window to provide them with fresh air if possible when you are in the car.

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Apartment Tour Checklist: Getting All the Facts to Find Best-Rated Apartments

There are so many things to take into account when talking to a leasing agent and touring an apartment that you run the risk of leaving the property with questions unanswered. That’s why it helps to prepare ahead of time with a list of questions.

First, ask yourself exactly what you need from an apartment. Start with the list below so you can decide what you need and what you can live without.

• What is my apartment price range?
• What is my preferred bed/bath ratio?
• What size apartment do I need?
• How close should the apartment be relative to the places I go every day?
• Do I want an outdoor area (community area, backyard, or patio)?
• What kinds of amenities do I need? Continue reading

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Good Reads for Your Spare Time

When you feel like reading and you need some suggestions, there’s a long list to choose from. A few to start with are adventure books, mystery books, and fantasy books.

readingAdventure books tend to give you a certain type of excitement and a reason to go find more of the series or style if you get hooked. One example is that of Tess Gerritsen. These are murder/mystery type books where the investigators go try to find the killer of the growing lines of bodies. Another example would be Agatha Christie. Another murder/mystery book where ten people on an island get stranded together and they start dying, but no one knows why. Loads of fun to follow the story!

Mystery books are fun because the whole time you could try and figure out who is at fault. Some of those are the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene and the Hardy Boys series by Franklin Dixon which are both of the same style. Good way to follow the detectives as they try and solve the mystery!

As for the fantasy style books then you can imagine yourself as part of the adventure that is taking place. One of the good ones is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Another good set is the collection of Brian Jacques books, with all of the animals and their own travels around the world. Another set would be the tales of Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It is one kid learning to work with a dragon and try to save the world. Also, the R. L. Stine books are a good choice. In those, it gets a little creepy, but it’s a fun way to put strange in the real world.

Be it adventure, mystery, or fantasy. Whatever your preference, there are many authors and series to choose from!

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Long Summer? How to Find a Top-Rated Apartment to Beat the Heat

If you live in a hotter climate where July seems to last forever and winter is over in the blink of an eye, you know how important it is to find an apartment that will help you keep cool throughout the summer… however long it lasts. Whether your heat is dry or humid, a long summer demands a home that will keep you from overheating. Here are a few things an apartment must have in order to beat the heat.

Cool Pool

There’s nothing like a dip in the pool during a hot summer day. As you tour apartments, take a close look at the property’s pool. Is the water clear? Are there people swimming in it? Are there gates around it? What are its hours? A clean, well-secured pool can be a great bonus in an apartment, but if the water looks dirty or it seems unsafe, you might want to keep looking. Continue reading

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Find Your Music Groove

music_searchThere are many types of music out in the world to choose from and the true question is where do you start? There is country, rock, soul, and so many more to go on after all that. But that is where we are going to stay for now.

If we start with country music, there is a variety of styles in itself. We have slow music that a lot of you see as “sad” or “slow” music which is where artists like George Jones and Billy Currington come in. They make you want to cry and grab your friend for support. But then there are also those artists that are more “action” and “moving” type artists like George Straight, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, and Trace Adkins. There is lots of rhythm going in those songs that makes you want to get up and dance!

Rock type music you can find all over the place. Some examples are Hinder, 3 Doors Down, 12 Stones, Buckcherry, and Chumbawamba. And that would be just the starting few. This music all has its own rhythm and the artists have their own way to create their style. It seems to be a good choice when you feel like it’s time to get up and move!

Another good type of music is that of the soul. Some good examples for that are Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder. This music gets you a rhythm that you can just snap your fingers and move to for a little bit. In this, the music is a good way to just take a break, leave everything that you have going on alone, and enjoy the music for a little bit!

So, no matter what your groove is, there is always music out there to go find and start moving to! Be it country, rock, soul, or even another laying out there in wait, it’s all out there for you! Find your music!

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Three Fun Ways to Occupy Your Time on the Web

web_searchingIf you are a frequent web user and have a lot of time on your hands here are a few places that you can go to have some fun. One place is Neopets for when you want to play some games or socialize with friends or there is Pandora when you want to listen to a particular type of music that you may not have. Another good one is Netflix for all those movie watchers out there who don’t want to go buy all of the DVDs they are only going to watch once!

Neopets is a good website for spare time. They give you a starting kit with ‘neopoints’ to spend on what you need to create your own virtual pets. You get to pick a shape and color from the selection they give you, or you can adopt a pet that someone decided that they didn’t want anymore. (Yay for rescue pet owners!) You can take your Neopets all over an already created planet to make money and meet friends, play games, and have online conversations. Basically you have an alternate life with online pet creations of your own. Warning: Even though they’re virtual, you still have to feed them!

Pandora is for all the music lovers out there who don’t want to spend money to get their favorite types of music. You create your own channels by searching out the artist or style of music that you like and enjoy! And if it comes to a song that you decide you don’t want to hear on that channel anymore, you just give it thumbs down and it is never played on that channel again. One downside is the occasional commercial that comes up every few songs, but that’s what the mute button is for!

Netflix is one of those places to rent a movie without having to go anywhere to get it. For all you TV show watchers out there, this is one way to get caught up on those series that you are way behind in and don’t feel like hunting it down. It’s the easy way to set up a horror night film fest. The downside: $7.99 a month. But it can be worth it if used right!

So, if you have some loose time on your hands and want something to do there’s Neopets. If you want some music to listen to but don’t want to spend money, there’s Pandora. If you want something to watch but don’t want to go everywhere to find it, there’s Netflix. Plenty of options for all you web users out there!

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Bicycle Storage Solutions for Your Apartment

Whether you cycle for the joy of it, or because you need a way to get from point A to point B, finding a place to store your bicycle in an apartment can be a challenge. At first glance it might look like there is no way that a big aluminum contraption could fit into your apartment, but if you’re willing to get creative, there are several bicycle storage options for even a small apartment.

Hang it on the wall.

One of the most common solutions for bike storage is installing a mount into the wall. All you need for this to work is a few screws, bike hangers, and permission from your apartment complex.

Make a bike shelf.

You can easily put together a bike shelf that mounts onto the wall if you don’t want to use the metal hanger mount. The advantage of this method is that it holds the bike up by its frame rather than by its front or back tire, lengthening the lifespan of the bike. Continue reading

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5 Tips for Creating a Spa Inspired Bathroom

Apartment bathroomIf you’ve been dreaming of treating yourself to a weekend at the spa but don’t have the time or money, you’re in luck.

We have outlined 5 tips for creating a spa inspired bathroom.

You don’t have to leave the comfort of your apartment to enjoy a warm soothing spa-like bath.

1. Color
The colors you use in your bathroom should be natural, earth tones and white. These are colors that create a relaxing environment. You can also infuse some hues of blues and greens. Just make sure the dominant colors of your bathroom décor are natural tones.

2. Quality Items
There are a few things you wouldn’t want to skimp on and your bath towels are one of them. If you think of a spa, think of how luxuriant the bath towels are. You should also invest in a good quality bath robe. Indulge a little.

3. De-clutter
This is absolutely necessary for creating a spa inspired bathroom with the right ambiance. The only things that should sit on your countertop are things that help to aid in your spa-like experience, such as flowers and candles.

4. Shower Head
Purchase a shower head with multiple settings. Some of these are actually labeled ‘spa’ shower heads. You don’t have to buy the most expensive shower head but you should make certain that it is of good quality.

5. Bath Essentials
This is the icing on the cake. Buy those items that give you the feeling of being in your own private spa. This is where you’ll buy such items as a bath pillow, aromatherapy sea salts, candles, and a teak bathmat.

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