Consumer Real Estate News

    • 4 Ways to Make a Statement on an Empty Wall

      2 December 2020

      Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or you’re finally ready to tackle an untouched space, empty walls can be intimidating. Too little artwork or a lack of design can completely upset the aesthetic of a room, especially if the rest of the home is well thought out and decorated. Make a statement by turning this empty canvas into a focal point or backdrop with these decor ideas.

      Bold Wallpaper
      Set aside the frames and instead, reach for a bold-patterned wallpaper. Consider installing temporary or removable wallpaper for an easy design change, year to year or even season to season. When choosing your pattern and color scheme, be sure to choose a palette that compliments the existing paint colors and other decor around it. Or, if you are redesigning an entire room, base your accents, furniture and other decor items on whatever pattern and color scheme you choose.

      Bring color, design and texture into your space with a unique tapestry. For those who love a boho chic aesthetic, this may be your best choice. Ranging in sizes, colors, textures and patterns, a tapestry can easily become a focal point of a large, empty wall or simply accent the existing decor around it while providing an easy use of the bare space. Go crazy with fringe and unique materials, like wood and metal, or keep it classic with neutral colors and quilted designs, just be sure it fits your aesthetic and color scheme.

      If you're looking to open up a space, instead of filling your empty wall with large artwork or a gallery wall, reflect with some mirrors. Hang mirrors with unique shapes, textures and materials to create your own artwork while adding a utilitarian aspect to your space. By using mirrors, especially on a bare wall, you can transform a room to feel larger, lighter and thoughtfully designed. Even hang one large mirror to truly brighten a room or a few with storage capabilities in smaller spaces.

      Gallery Wall
      Whether you have a ton of family photos or choose to purchase a curated collection, a gallery wall is a quick and easy go-to for an empty wall. With a few carefully selected frames running in size and quantity—this all depends on your personal aesthetic—you can fill your space with a focal point that feels a lot like a museum or art gallery. Even add other design elements, such as shelves or other hanging decor, to personalize your wall to your liking. Just be sure to make a plan ahead of time, and even consider hiring a professional, to ensure your gallery is measured and hung correctly.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Keep Any Floor Looking Beautiful

      2 December 2020

      The choices for home flooring are dazzling these days, with nearly a dozen types of floor tile available and laminate options you’d need to examine closely to be certain they aren’t actually real wood. But different floors require different cleaning methods to keep them looking their best.

      Here’s a guide to proper maintenance for the four most common floor types:

      Ceramic or Porcelain Tile - These most-popular floor tiles by a wide margin are also among the easiest to clean, requiring nothing more than a wet string mop and warm water, and/or a neutral floor cleaner that does not contain abrasives. If the grout between tiles gets dingy, you can clean it by hand. Spray on a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, let it stand for five minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.

      Vinyl - Vinyl floors are gaining in popularity, both as tile and in planks resembling wood. Their only natural enemy is too much water, so again, warm water and/or a neutral, non-abrasive cleaner applied with a good string mop are all you need. Just be sure the mop is well wrung-out before using. 

      Laminates - Laminate flooring, available in a wide variety of patterns, offers the look of wood at a fraction of the cost. Like vinyl, it dislikes a lot of water and it hates harsh chemicals, so use a dry dust mop or vacuum for regular cleaning. If it needs more every two or three months, mop it with a solution of one teaspoon of unscented baby shampoo mixed into a gallon of warm water. Be sure that mop is damp, not soaking wet.

      Hardwood - Little can replace the warmth and luster of real hardwood floors. But if you’re lucky enough to have them, you’ll need a little more elbow grease to keep them looking their best. Regular vacuuming is the first step. A microfiber mop sprayed with a dusting agent once a week will pick up dust and prevent scratches. If a deeper cleaning is needed, use a wood floor cleaning product, diluted according to label instructions. Saturate a string mop in water, then wring it almost dry and damp-mop the floor. Rinse with a clean mop and be sure no standing water is left on the floor, as this can cause permanent damage to the wood.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Boost Your Spirits Through the Holidays and Beyond

      2 December 2020

      (Family Features) Stress and anxiety are all too familiar to many Americans, this year especially, and the added pressure of the holiday season may provide a new set of challenges. Practicing self-care and nurturing your mental health can help you navigate these potentially isolating times, especially if you’re tackling this season single.

      With so many other demands in life, taking care of yourself, including your emotional and mental well-being, may not always be at the top of your list. However, putting more emphasis on yourself and your needs can be achieved in small, measurable ways and may not only help boost your spirits but can affect your approach to dating, too.

      “We believe happy and healthy relationships start with happy and healthy individuals,” said Stefan Harvalias, head of global marketing for Plenty of Fish, one of the largest global online dating companies.

      Harvalias points out there are a number of ways you can alleviate stress and anxiety. While there’s no one magic formula that fits all, many people find coping easier with activities like these. 

      Listen to music. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of music in managing mental health. Slow, mellow music can help the mind shift into a lower gear and has even been shown to influence the body’s physical state such as reducing blood pressure, pulse and heart rates. For someone with anxiety, music can be a welcome distraction from the troublesome thoughts occupying the mind. For others, music is simply a way to escape from reality and focus on something enjoyable.

      Talk with friends and family. Although COVID-19 may be creating physical distance, there’s one way it can bring people together: by acknowledging your shared stress to one another. While the impacts of the pandemic vary greatly, everyone has been navigating uncertainty and change that comes with such a widespread event. A weekly check-in call or video chat with friends and family members can help you feel less alone with your feelings and experiences. Topics like mental health and mindfulness have risen to the surface of everyday discussions, removing a lot of the stigma they once had.

      Seek out tools to help you unwind. If you’ve never given much thought to managing your mental health, you may not know where to begin practicing better self-care, and that’s OK. That’s where you can benefit from resources like those available through Plenty of Fish. Knowing the toll the pandemic is taking on singles, the dating app partnered with Shine, a leading self-care app, to create two free dating-related meditations developed to help singles better manage anxiety and improve mental health and wellness. 

      Navigating dating, work and your personal life can feel like an intense juggling act. To help find balance and feel less pressure, consider listening to the “Balance Dating While Busy” guided meditation and reflect on your energy and priorities so you can make space for dating in your life.

      Although dating may look and feel different right now, it’s still doable. Shift your mindset and reflect on ways to adapt with an option like the “Navigate Dating During COVID” guided meditation. 

      Recognize the role of physical wellness. The mind and body are intrinsically connected, and how you take care of your body can have an impact on your mental state. This includes eating well to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition, which can positively impact your mood. Additionally, exercise releases feel-good hormones, so a quick walk around the block or a 10-minute exercise video can benefit you both physically and mentally.

      Give yourself permission to disconnect. When life feels uncertain, being closely tied to an information source like your smartphone can give you a sense of security, but it can also add to your everyday stress. If you’re working from home, you may find you never fully shift out of work mode. However, it’s easy to become addicted to refreshing your newsfeed, allowing your devices to cut into time you could spend more productively. Limit your screen time to force yourself to focus on the present and activities that bring you pleasure while allowing your brain to rest, like spending time with loved ones or enjoying a good book or movie. 

      Find more resources to support your mental health and dating experiences this holiday season at

      Keep COVID From Crushing Your Dating Game
      As if single life and dating didn’t bring enough uncertainty on their own, a global health crisis has only heightened the anxiety many singles feel. Dating pressures and anxiety tied to COVID-19 were the subjects of a study by Plenty of Fish, which showed just how challenging dating has been for singles this year.

      According to the survey of singles:

      • 60% have experienced feelings of anxiety before going on a date 
      • 29% have canceled a date due to anxiety 
      • 44% are anxious about their date not wearing a mask
      When it comes to the benefits of self-care, a majority of surveyed singles reported: 
      • 66% practice self-care regularly
      • 87% said self-care activities reduce stress 
      • 78% said they feel less stressed after a self-care routine
      • 50% meditate
      Alone time, exercise and pampering were listed as the top self-care activities

      “Prioritizing your mental health matters more than ever,” Harvalias said. “Self-care and wellness mean something different to everyone – all that matters is that you find an outlet to disconnect and do what makes you happy.”

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Age With Style and Grace

      1 December 2020

      (Family Features) Aging may be inevitable, but with advancement in research and technology, there are plenty of ways you can slow, or even reverse, the hands of time to stay healthy and promote longevity. 

      Consider these ideas from Longevity Labs+, a company dedicated to cutting-edge aging research and the makers of spermidineLIFE, a first-of-its kind, clinically studied supplement containing natural spermidine, which renews cells and can reverse the signs of aging:

      Protect Your Skin
      Not only does your skin protect vital internal organs, it’s an essential barrier to intruders like bacteria and other infection-causing microbes. The skin is also the body’s greatest tool in managing hydration levels and providing critical cues to your nervous system about things like temperature and pain. 

      With such a big role in your overall health and well-being, the skin often shows the first signs of aging. Wrinkles and age spots are often indicators of a person’s true age.

      However, you can reduce the visible impacts of aging on the skin with daily care. Regularly moisturizing helps keep skin supple, and diligent sunscreen application year-around can protect your skin from damaging sun rays. Some compounds and nutrient plans can help nurture youthful skin. 

      It’s also important to closely monitor your skin for changes, especially changes to moles or other spots that may be signs of skin cancer, which is generally treatable when caught and managed early. In addition, collagen peptides and a spermidine-rich diet can be key in ensuring healthy skin into your later years. 

      Maintain Clean and Healthy Cells
      You may not realize it, but as each day passes, your body’s cells age, die and accumulate toxic matter, which disrupts cellular function and causes a myriad of age-related diseases such as dementia and cardiovascular disease as well as decreases immune function. However, a compound naturally produced by the body and found in nature called spermidine can clean cells of toxic matter so they can operate with renewed youth and efficiency. Spermidine triggers a cellular renewal process called autophagy, which allows cells to shed layers of waste and regenerate instead of slowing down and dying off. As the body ages, natural levels of spermidine decline, cellular regeneration slows and signs of aging are accelerated.

      Spermidine is a key to anti-aging and is believed to help reduce the onset of neurodegenerative and age-related diseases. You can boost spermidine levels by eating certain foods that are high in spermidine, like lentils, soybeans, mushrooms, aged cheese, pears, broccoli, peas and cauliflower.

      However, few people eat enough spermidine-rich foods to maintain optimal levels in their later years. Taking a supplement like award-winning spermidineLIFE* can support cellular renewal and help cells stay young and healthy. The first and only clinically studied spermidine supplement in the world, it includes spermidine naturally extracted from European non-GMO wheat germ along with carefully selected vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. 

      Manage Physical Health
      As you grow older, your metabolism slows, making it easier to hold onto extra weight. Excess pounds are associated with numerous health risks, in addition to slowing you down overall. Maintain a more youthful body and mobility by consuming a well-rounded, nutritious, whole-food diet and committing to regular exercise, which can help not only banish extra calories but also keep your muscle tone strong, your balance steady and your posture straight. 

      Just as important as what you do to protect your health as you age is what you don’t do. That means limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and avoiding the temptation to indulge in high-fat and sugary foods.

      Support Mind Matters
      Worry lines aren’t just wrinkles that come with age; they can be a sign of persistent angst. From stress to lack of sleep to slips in memory, there are plenty of reasons to focus on your mental health as you advance in years. 
      Getting enough rest can play a big role in your physical health as well as your mental wellness. Too little sleep prevents your body from reenergizing itself fully and can affect your cognition and mood. Worry and stress can also cause you to feel your years. Information is key, and smart devices such as heart rate and sleep trackers can provide you with the necessary information to find what helps and what hurts healthy circadian rhythms and deep, regenerative sleep.

      Growing forgetful as you age is also common to an extent, but memory problems can be exacerbated by stress, lack of sleep and other factors. You can also keep your mind sharp by playing games, doing puzzles, reading and maintaining an active and engaging social life with others. Even during this pandemic, phone and video calls can help engage your mental state through important social activity.

      Find more ideas for navigating your later years with grace at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Draw in Finicky Eaters With Colorful Topping Bar Meals

      1 December 2020

      Some kids want only hot dogs for lunch and dinner. Others will have nothing to do with anything green or with one food touching another. Whatever your kid’s particular penchant, there will always be finicky eaters and parents who are looking for painless ways to broaden their child’s appetite.

      One way to do that, say child nutritionists, is to encourage your child to cook with you, even if only by adding ingredients and/or stirring the bowl. Children who engage in cooking a meal are more likely to eat it.

      Also, because children tend to imitate what others do, another way to tempt your child, without fraying nerves or deepening resistance, is to offer alternatives in a casual way that encourages new food choices:

      Personal Pizzas - Create personal pizzas from store-bought dough and top each with a favorite sauce. Then, lay out a toppings bar so that each family member can ‘build’ their own pizza from choices like sliced ham, shredded chicken, pepperoni and even sliced hot dogs, if that’s your kid’s favorite—plus cheese and a colorful, tempting array of chopped veggies and pineapple chunks. Pop the finished masterpieces into the oven and watch young eyes light up when they come out ready to eat.

      Nacho Bar - Who doesn’t love a pile of tortilla chips topped with melted cheese? Build on that by microwaving the base, then letting everyone choose from extra toppings, such as shredded chicken, cooked ground beef, chopped tomatoes, kernel corn and beans. Watching others pile on their favorite toppings may encourage reluctant little eaters.

      Pancake or Waffle Buffet - Cook up a batch of pancakes or waffles, keeping them warm in the oven. If your kids are old enough, they can help make the batter or turn pancakes on the grill. Set out syrup if that’s a must, but add a few options like sliced bananas, fresh or thawed berries and little extras like chopped nuts, raisins, shredded coconut or chocolate chips.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.