Create A Summer Sanctuary--On A Budget
(NAPSI)-You can create a relaxing outdoor retreat on any budget. Target
Style Expert for Home, Sabrina Soto, offers these smart, affordable tips:
Have A Seat
Think of your outdoor space as an extension of your home. Color and
comfort are two key factors. If you have a lot of space and entertain often,
opt for a larger table. Folding chairs and cushions can add extra seating.
Add colorful, outdoor, water-resistant pillows for extra comfort. Soto
advises that not all furniture has to match, but cushions and pillows should
If you have room for a separate lounging or dining area, use outdoor area
rugs and furniture made from different materials to define the spaces. The
dining area could include wrought iron or wood furniture and your seating
area could be wicker or fabric based. Set an outdoor recliner or hammock in a
shady spot for "solo" time.
For smaller spaces such as an apartment balcony, add privacy with a
divider screen or trellis. Then, dress up your space with window boxes or
small planters for a personal garden.
Designate a separate area for the kids. Add a child-sized picnic table that
can be used for crafts as well as meals. An inflatable pool or dual-racing
water slide can provide cool relief and hours of family-friendly
To beat the heat with a cool treat, consider a snow cone station. The Snow
Cone Maker from Target lets kids choose from delicious flavors such as
cherry, blue raspberry and watermelon. At just $2.49 per packet, you'll be
keeping the kids busy and cool all summer long.
Let There Be Light--And Shade
"There are many different ways to utilize lighting in your outdoor
space," says Soto. "String lights are a fun and affordable option,
while solar-powered lighting is one of my favorites. I love the warm glow
they add to an outdoor setting." Sabrina suggests hooking up outdoor
lights to a timer so that they turn on automatically at night.
Candles work for any environment. Whether you want flameless candles for
kids' safety or votives for a romantic touch, there are endless scents and
colors to match your decor. Soto advises using citronella candles to ward off
flies and mosquitoes.
Set up seating areas to take advantage of shade or opt for a table with a
built-in umbrella. You can also get portable shade canopies to create shade
Have fun with your table setting. Spice things up without spending a
fortune by mixing and matching dinnerware, pitchers, platters and place mats.
Available in many different shades and patterns, melamine dinnerware can help
create a colorful dining experience and starts at prices as low as $1.49.
Bringing everything outside to the grill can be cumbersome unless you have
the proper transporters. Picnic baskets, which start at just $14.99, are
great for carrying the essential burger buns and condiments and then can be
used to hold extra items to make room on the table.
For more low-priced products and fun summer ideas, visit www.Target.com..
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Small Decor Changes Can Lift Your Mood
(NAPSI)-Simple changes to your home decor can make a big difference in
your mood and attitude. "The right living environment can motivate, inspire
and empower you and everyone who walks through your door," notes design
expert Stephen Saint-Onge.
What's more, sprucing up your home doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here
are some tips to turn your old space into a new haven:
Declutter and design. For a quick design makeover, consider tackling your
countertops. According to a recent survey from She Speaks, more than half of
women say embarrassment over their cluttered countertops is the No. 1 reason
they don't invite guests into their kitchen. A great solution to clear the
clutter is to organize items into glass jars. You can even fill the jars with
colorful foods or kitchen accessories to help brighten up the space. To
emphasize this look, surround the jars with simple black or white picture
frames filled with images that play off the color. Saint-Onge suggests
showcasing your children's art or even postcards from your travels into
simple frames for an instant face-lift.
Fashion meets functionality. Smaller spaces can seem harder to renew.
Therefore, choose items that not only work for you, but are also stylish, yet
functional. And since outdated kitchen appliances can depress the look of a
room that's now become the center of most houses for family and entertaining
purposes, Saint-Onge believes that having one unique item as a focal point is
crucial. For example, the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto is a stylish,
retro-sleek, one-cup coffee machine that's not only pleasing to the eye but
makes 10 different types of coffee. Its design stands out on any kitchen counter
and it's available in red, black and cream to fit just about any motif.
According to Saint-Onge, it's such little details that can bring a room to
Shop your house. Everything old can be new again when you repurpose things
you already own. That means rearranging items on a bookshelf, moving items to
different rooms, or simply switching your throw pillows around. Also, using
things you might otherwise discard--an old map, for example, framed as wall
art--can be a creative way to add some flair. In other words, look for things
you may have stored away and forgotten about.
Treat yourself. Splurge on simple things to complete your new space.
Consider a new lamp to make your space brighter, a new collection of everyday
dishware or a fresh coat of paint for the kitchen backsplash. Throw in a few
new dishtowels, fresh flowers and brew a fresh cup of coffee so you can
instantly enjoy the fruits of your labor. Bottom line: Treating yourself
needn't break the bank, and you'll literally feel better for it.
For more information, visit www.dolce-gusto.com.
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Contractor-Grade Cleaning Products Redefining Consumer Expectations
(NAPSI)-A number of products made for contractors and the construction
trades are finding a new home with consumers.
The continued growth of national home DIY retailers such as Lowe's and
Home Depot has brought more than added convenience to consumers--it has also
enabled DIYers to access many of the same heavy-duty cleaning products that
are used each day by professionals in the construction and industrial trades.
And in many cases, these contractor-grade products represent a significant
improvement in cleaning power, versatility and bottom-line value over their
broad-market consumer counterparts.
"There is simply no comparison between some contractor cleaning
formulations and the consumer products you find on most retailers'
shelves," said Richard Schmidt, vice president of Cleveland-based
Federal Process Corporation, which offers a broad range of contractor- and industrial-style
products. "The expansion of major retailers like Lowe's opens the door
for consumers to a much better, faster and more effective product that has
been battle tested in some of the most challenging work environments."
Premoistened cleaning towels, one of the fastest-growing cleaning
categories for both grocery and DIY retailers, have emerged as a key
battleground between consumer brands and brands that have traditionally
served the professional market.
One of these professional brands--Work Sav'r--has taken aim at
consumer-grade products by introducing its powerful Tub-O Towels contractor
wipes at Lowe's and other retailer locations.
Unlike most consumer cleaning wipes, Tub-O Towels wipes feature both a larger
and thicker towel that stands up to extreme use. More important, according to
category experts, these wipes are generously infused with a
professional-grade, citrus-scented cleaner that removes almost any soil as
well as paint, marker, carpet stains, sealants, silicones, grease, oils and
Consumers are relying on this type of product to clean everything from
vehicle upholstery to outdoor furniture to carpet and wall stains at home.
Plus, the wipes are aloe and vitamin E enriched, so they are safe and
effective for hand cleaning as well.
"In the case of cleaning wipes, a contractor-grade product can
provide a much more effective cleaning and a better value in terms of the
number of wipes needed for a major job," said Schmidt.
To learn more, visit the site at www.worksavr.com
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Decks Can Offer Style And Value To A Home
(NAPSI)-The right deck can offer hours of enjoyment to you and your
family-and add value to your property. In fact, some say adding a deck is a proven
way to add value to a home in an uncertain market.
According to the recent Cost Vs. Value Report completed by the
collaboration of Remodeling magazine and Realtor Magazine, homeowners can
expect to recoup a national average of more than 70 percent of the value of
adding a new deck when they go to resell the house. In some areas of the
country, that recoup value is more than 82 percent of the original cost.
However, great decks don't just happen. They require imagination, planning
and the right materials. If you are thinking of adding a deck to your
property, here are some tips:
• Start by checking with your homeowners' association or local
authorities to determine specific rules, zoning or building codes. These may
affect the size, height and safety features of your deck.
• How you plan to use the deck can play a big part in the design.
Entertaining, dining, family activities and relaxing can all place different
demands on the design.
• When you'll be using your deck is also a factor to consider. You'll
want to position the deck in an area that will receive the appropriate amount
of sun and/or shade.
• Do you want your deck to adjoin the kitchen, living room, family
room or your master bedroom? Accessibility will influence both design and
• Decide what size deck you want. Many builders suggest the deck be
the same size as the largest room in your home. Be sure you have enough room
to comfortably fit your deck furniture.
• Keep the physical features of your yard in mind, including trees, gardens
and hilly areas. Some items may need to be moved or removed before you start
• Be sure to consider your privacy, traffic noise and the local
climate. Often, you can add screens and landscaping to solve problems in
• When it comes to selecting materials, your lifestyle, as well as
your budget, can have a lot to do with deciding which materials work best for
For example, many homeowners are turning to composite deck materials made
from plastic and wood fiber--such as EverGrain from TAMKO Building Products--because
the decking is low maintenance in that it requires no staining or painting,
just periodic cleaning.
Plus, this compression-molded decking features true-to-life lasting grains
with no rotting or termites. It also offers coordinating railing systems.
To learn more, visit www.tamko.com or
call (800) 641-4691.
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Don't Let Household Chores Wreak Havoc At Home
(NAPSI)-According to a recent survey, there's a battle of the sexes
raging-and the fighting could get dirty.
It's all over how to divvy up household chores and distinct gender
cleaning habits and preferences. The survey, conducted by Taylor Nelson
Sofres (TNS Global) among married Americans, found:
• Most married women say they do most of the household work, while
only 18 percent of married men say the same. More men than women believe
household work is split evenly between the partners (53 percent vs. 26
According to relationship expert Dr. Robi Ludwig, "Arguing over
household chores is a common problem and can be very disruptive to a
• One in five Americans argue with their spouse at least once a
month or more about who does most of the work or chores. Conversely, most
married couples that share household chores say their marriage is a happy
• A majority of married Americans agree that women have taken on a
larger role as a financial provider yet over two-thirds believe women are
still expected to do more of the household chores.
• Married people, especially women, desire cleaning products that
fit into their fast-paced lives, so products need to multitask, be fast
acting and smell good. Women care about the environment and feel good about
choosing the brands that do, too. Men look for big projects that require a
thoughtful plan of action, focus and time. Men say laundry and choosing the
appropriate cleaner are their least favorite chores; for women, it is taking
out the garbage and taking a trip to the local home improvement store.
Fortunately, there are items made to meet the different cleaning
preferences of men and women.
"By embracing each other's differences and learning to understand
their preferences, couples can be happier and even make household chores
enjoyable time spent together," says Ludwig.
One line of powerful cleaning products provides an easy, reliable and
cost-effective way to improve chores for both sexes. They clean the toughest
dirt and stains throughout the whole house-inside and out-and help increase
water and energy efficiencies. The CLR family of cleaning supplies uses
all-natural ingredients that are safe and gentle enough to use every day, yet
effective at getting the job done. A DfE-design for the
environment-designation on the packaging lets you know it helps protect the
environment and is safe for your family.
You can learn more-and take your own cleaning quiz-at www.clrchorewars.com or by calling
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Revolutionize Your Kitchen Routine by Ceci Carmichael
(NAPSI)-Savvy moms look for ways to update their lifestyles and often rely
on the latest tools to keep their households running smoothly.
Here are a few innovative tricks and tools you can use to transform your
kitchen routine for better results.
Arm Yourself with Apps
Smartphone applications, such as those on the Apple iPhone®,
can be functional as well as entertaining. Many have been developed to solve
even the toughest of kitchen quandaries. For instance, there are apps that do
kitchen measurement conversions and apps with fast, healthy recipes.
So whether you need a new way to calculate conversions or to get a leg up
on your meal plans, download a few to have on hand.
Upgrade to Hands-Free Appliances
Bring your kitchen into the 21st century by replacing old appliances with
new, touchless appliances. There are paper towel
dispensers and trash cans that are activated with the wave of a hand and sink
faucets that turn on with the tap of an elbow.
An added bonus--less contact with surfaces around your kitchen means
reduced cross contamination and cleanup time.
Chore Lists of the Future
Does the state of your kitchen suffer when left in the hands of your
family members? Don't count on sticky notes or verbal instructions for your
family. Use a fridge magnet that records videos to leave detailed, visual
instructions on what to clean and how to cook. Forgotten chore lists can now
be things of the past.
Automate Kitchen Cleanup
Eighty percent of women wished they had ways to shorten the amount of time
spent cleaning up after a meal without sacrificing quality.
With all dishwashing detergents changing to phosphate-free formulations,
this can be a good time to change your routine and try the new revolutionary
FINISH Quantumatic. It can transform your cleanup
routine because it dispenses detergent so powerful you'll never need to
pre-rinse. The innovative, refillable detergent dispenser delivers an
unbeatable clean and amazing shine automatically for 12 individual washes.
For more information, visit www.FinishDishwashing.com.
Ceci Carmichael is a chef and lifestyle expert
and former host of Food Network's "Calling All Cooks" and
"Good Food Fast with Family Circle."
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Tiling Made Easy
(NAPSI)-Updated kitchens and baths are key selling points for homes, and
tiling countertops, backsplashes, and tub and shower surrounds can add
instant style and resale value to your abode. Beautiful, durable tile can
infuse color and drama and set the tone for any decor.
Many do-it-yourselfers hesitate to take on tiling projects because the
process is messy and the technical demands of traditional tile adhesives,
such as mortar or mastic, can be intimidating to even the seasoned DIYer.
Fortunately, the latest tile adhesive can take much of the muss, fuss,
stress and cost out of tiling. Tiles can be installed in three easy steps:
(1) Peel off the liner; (2) stick tile in place; and (3) apply grout the same
day. You can forget about the messy and daunting process of mixing and
applying traditional tile adhesives. A process that used to consume a whole
weekend can now be completed in just one day.
Lower Cost, Faster Results
Bondera TileMatSet can be easily applied to any clean, flat, level surface
including drywall, plywood, old tile, laminate and Formica. Bondera is
available at Lowe's stores nationwide and on www.lowes.com.
The product's innovative technology repels water and is mold and crack
resistant. Using Bondera on a typical DIY kitchen or bathroom project can
save you up to 40 percent versus the cost of hiring a contractor, and it
saves time as well because you don't need to wait 24 hours to grout.
For more information, visit www.BonderaTileMatSet.com.
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Cool New Way To Save Money And Still Be Comfortable
(NAPSI)-Imagine being able to save money, reduce your taxes and feel
better at home. Now there's a cool way to make this happen with the new breed
of evaporative coolers (ultracoolers). For those who live in hot and dry
climates, these evaporative coolers work by combining two stages of cooling
to provide the coldest air possible. The first stage precools the air without
adding any humidity. The second stage completes the cooling by optimizing the
humidity in the air. Since the air supplied is colder than other evaporative
coolers, it takes less air and energy to cool your home.
How To Do It
The ultracoolers provide an automatic and maintenance-free operation
throughout the cooling season. The thermostatically controlled unit lets you
"set it and forget it." One such "ultracooler" is the
OASys by Speakman Company.
Why Not Save Money?
This environmentally friendly cooler allows you to save on energy and
money because it uses less than 600 watts of electricity--up to 80 percent
less than the traditional air conditioner, all without using harmful gases.
Great for you, great for the environment!
You can save on taxes because these coolers qualify for the 30 percent
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act tax credit. Rebates are also available
through major utility companies.
Where To Learn More
For more information about the device, for a copy of the tax credit certificate
and to see other rebate offers, visit www.oasysairconditioner.com,
call (800) 974-1078 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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