Are you planning to renovate your bathroom? If so, here are five mistakes to avoid.
1. Not having a plan. It’s important to meticulously design every aspect of your bathroom before you do anything else. If you don’t, you may find that the double vanity you had your heart set on won’t fit or that your items won’t work together.
2. Going over budget. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re in the midst of a renovation. If you’re doing the work yourself, purchase all the materials you need before starting to avoid making impulse purchases. If you’ve hired a professional, be sure your contract states exactly how much things will cost.
3. Being too trendy. It’s normal to want your new bathroom to be stylish, but not every trend stands the test of time. For a bathroom that will be as chic tomorrow as it is today, choose classic finishes and timeless styles.
4. Neglecting the ventilation. It’s important that bathrooms have the proper ventilation in place in order to deal with the abundance of moisture that arises when bathing. Without it, mold and mildew issues may develop down the line.
5. Using the wrong materials. It’s important to choose materials that can stand up to the dampness of a bathroom. You may love the look of hardwood flooring, but it’s not suitable for a space that frequently gets wet.
If you find yourself making any of these mistakes, take the steps needed to correct it before it’s too late.
A green Christmas: eco-friendly decorating
Holiday decorations can help make Christmas feel like a magical time of the year. Here are a few ways you can make them more eco-friendly.
Invest in eco-friendly lighting
Brighten up the exterior of your home with LED lights and use a timer, so they don’t stay on all night. Alternatively, you can opt for solar-powered lighting. If you want to set the mood with candles, choose natural soy-based products.
Buy locally made items
Make your own decorations
Use natural materials like fallen branches, pine cones, and dried leaves to make your own seasonal decor. If you want to get the kids involved in holiday crafts, sort through your recycling bin for useful supplies like toilet paper rolls, cardboard boxes, and egg cartons.
Finally, be sure to buy your Christmas tree from a local farm that doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides. For an unconventional alternative, build your own by stacking books or using other common household items.
9 ways to connect as a family over the holidays
The holidays are an ideal time to connect with your kids and spouse. Here are nine great ways to spend quality time together.
1. Cook or bake
Whether it’s preparing a big meal or making treats for Santa, cooking is a great way to bond with kids of all ages.
2. Rent a cottage
3. Have a game night
An evening spent playing games is sure to be filled with laughter and excitement. Make a point to choose games that appeal to everyone.
4. Spend a day outdoors
The winter holiday is an ideal time to go snowshoeing, skating, skiing, tobogganing, hiking, snowmobiling or to simply build a snowman. There’s nothing like a day spent outdoors to help you create lasting family memories and smiling rosy faces.
5. Support a good cause
Working together to make a positive difference in the world is a fantastic way to forge stronger family ties. Spend some time picking a cause that speaks to you and your kids, and research the best way to support it.
6. Watch a movie
Choose a film or series that everyone in the family will enjoy, pop some corn and gather in the living room to share a couple of hours at home.
7. Make a family bucket list
Make a list of the fun activities that you, your spouse, and your kids want to do. Put your list in a spot where it’s visible to all (like on the fridge) and start crossing things off.
8. Plan a cultural or educational trip
There’s no shortage of things to do that are both fun and educational, from going to zoos and planetariums to visiting science and history museums.
9. Create a family survey
Put together a fun questionnaire tailored to the ages of your children to find out more about their likes, dislikes, hobbies, ambitions, and more. Ask about their dream job, which countries they’d like to visit, what they most wish for, and what their most cherished memories are.
However, you decide to spend time with your family over the holidays, the important thing is that you’ll be together.
How to make your home more energy-efficient
If you want to decrease your carbon footprint while paying less for your utility bills, reducing the amount of energy your household consumes is key. Here’s how to make your home more energy-efficient.
Use energy-efficient lighting
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are better options than traditional incandescent lights. LEDs are the most energy-efficient, consuming about a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs. What’s more, they last 10 times longer.
Seal or replace windows
Tune-up your heating and cooling system
Get your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, or other appliance professionally serviced on an annual basis. This will help ensure your heating and cooling system runs at peak efficiency year-round. In addition, be sure to perform any regular maintenance tasks recommended by the manufacturer such as replacing the filters.
Choose energy-efficient appliances
Look for the Energy Star label when buying large appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, and televisions. Energy Star-certified appliances use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard appliances. In addition, choose bathroom fixtures that conserve water such as low-flow shower heads and toilets.
To maximize your efforts at making your home more energy-efficient, consider hiring a certified energy auditor. This professional can evaluate the inefficiencies in your home and provide expert recommendations.
Women’s fashion: 5 styles to try for a stand-out holiday look
The holidays are an ideal time to experiment with bright tones, bold fabrics, and showy trim. Here are a few ideas to inspire a dazzling look.
Put an ephemeral twist on classic pieces by opting for a dress or shirt with feather trim or a blouse with puffed feather sleeves. For a more moderate take on this bold look, consider a playful feather purse or earrings.
Recreate the shimmer of a starry night sky by wearing a chiffon blouse adorned with silver sequins. Balance the metallic sheen with a sophisticated color like navy or charcoal. Or embrace an all-out silver-inspired look by slipping on a long-sleeved lurex dress in this festive hue.
From subtle gold threading and oversized chain-link jewelry to gorgeous metallic cocktail dresses, there are plenty of stylish ways to incorporate this classic holiday color into your look.
5. Balloon sleeves
These short, wide statement sleeves are a playful nod to the bubbly bottles of Champagne that are sure to make an appearance over the holiday season. The voluminous sleeve design pairs well with chic straight-leg trousers but makes an even bolder statement on a colorful sheath dress.
For glamorous pieces made of quality materials, visit the shops in your area.
Men’s fashion: 3 stylish trends to celebrate the season
The holiday season is practically here, and time is running out to find an outfit for your upcoming office party or family gathering. Here are three-runway trends to help you put together a dashing look.
1. Bold prints
If you prefer to remain inconspicuous, this might not be the trend for you. However, a holiday party is a perfect opportunity to experiment with a paisley blazer or pants that have a geometric pattern.
2. Elevated denim
3. Shades of red
From a sleek burgundy suit to a scarlet cardigan or spotted bow tie, red can be incorporated in a variety of ways to suit almost any style or occasion. Plus, it’s a perfect option at Christmastime.
For advice on how to best pair clothing with the right accessories, speak with a style consultant at a local men’s clothing store.
Shut down the noise of friends when it comes to money
Most people think that their friends don’t influence their finances, but it can happen in subtle ways.
Take the friend who goes on a cruise three times a year. They might always want others in their circle to join them. The temptation to join is high. It is so much more fun to vacation with good friends. But is it worth it to go into debt for a cruise?
Or consider the friend who always wants to go out for a fancy dinner and drinks. Yes, it is fun, but is it in the budget every weekend?
People who would never consider keeping up with the Joneses may still fall into the trap of following friends down a bad spending path.
Here are some things you can do to keep yourself on track:
1. Stare at your money frequently.
Seriously, just look. Look at the balance, the interest payments, and review how long you have been working to increase the balance. Knowing where the path you have taken can help put today into perspective.
2. Think about what you want.
Is it a cruise now? Or do you want to buy a house, pay for a child’s college, or save for retirement? Preserve your emergency fund? These are goals you can remind yourself about.
3. Consider your track to the future at least once a year.
As you stare at your investments or savings, focus on where you will be a year from now or 20 years from now if you refuse that cruise today.
Ask yourself if investments need to be rebalanced, maybe for less risk, for example. However, avoid being influenced by the financial markets today, as they move up and down amid the chatter of analysts. Try to think long term, according to Kiplinger Personal Finance.