Are you in the market for a new vacuum cleaner? Here’s a brief guide to choosing the best one for your home.
Types of vacuums
Vacuum cleaners come in a few basic styles, including:
• Upright vacuums with either a bin or bag attached to the handle and a rotating brush head to pick up dirt. These are popular because they clean well, particularly carpeted surfaces.
• Canister vacuums, which have a hose attached to the dirt receptacle that you pull behind you. They’re easier to use on stairs because the hose allows you to tackle different levels without having to carry the whole motor with you the entire time.
• Stick and handheld models. Both are great for dealing with small messes but aren’t ideal for extensive or deep cleaning.
• Central vacuum systems, which allow homeowners to plug a hose into an outlet in the wall, thereby accessing a central unit with very strong suction.
• Robot vacuums offer a hands-free approach to cleaning, but their high price tag reflects their level of convenience.
Bag vs. bin
Vacuums come with either disposable bags or reusable bins to store the debris they pick up.
Though vacuum bags need to be frequently replaced, they tend to hold more and release less dirt and dust into the air as you change them.
Reusable bins, alternatively, can be emptied and reused countless times but hold less debris. You also risk coming into contact with dust when you empty it.
No matter what vacuum you choose, if anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, choose a model with a HEPA filter to avoid releasing allergens into the air.
Gifts teachers will love
Christmas is the perfect time of year to extend your thanks to your children’s teachers. Instead of giving them another “world’s best teacher” mug, choose one of the following gifts that’s sure to please.
• Personalized pencils with their name printed right on them
• A tote bag that’s roomy enough to carry all their work to and from school
• A gift card to a local coffee shop to keep them caffeinated while they’re marking homework
• A membership to a local museum to inspire their lesson plans
• A scarf to keep them warm
• A gift basket filled with supplies like dry-erase markers, red correcting pencils, glue sticks, grade-appropriate books and even classroom decor
• A nice bottle of wine to help them relax over the vacation
• A box of artisanal chocolates, because everyone deserves a treat
In addition, few teachers can resist handmade gifts, so anything your kids make is sure to be appreciated. No matter what you choose, don’t forget to have your child make a card that expresses thanks to the teacher for everything they do.
How to enjoy the holidays without overindulging
Food plays an integral part in many holiday celebrations. But when you have many social obligations in a short period of time, it can feel like all you’re doing is eating. Here’s how to enjoy the season’s festivities without overindulging.
Don’t skip meals
Eat regular meals throughout the holidays as this will make you less likely to overindulge at parties.
For breakfast, make some eggs or avocado on toast. These foods are full of protein and healthy fats that will keep you going all day.
At lunch, try a salad topped with a healthy protein like salmon, grilled chicken or legumes.
Have a light snack before heading out to the party to make sure you don’t arrive hungry. Focus on protein-rich foods like nuts or plain yogurt with fruit.
Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and in between consuming alcoholic drinks. This will help you avoid becoming dehydrated and will also allow you to feel more satiated and therefore make you less likely to overeat.
Get in a workout
On the day of the party, try to get in a workout. Not only does regular exercise help you metabolize your food quicker, but you’ll also crave healthier foods, making it easier to pass on heavier fare.
Making sure you take care of yourself over the holidays allows you to treat yourself without overindulging. You’ll enjoy spending time with loved ones and set the right precedent for the new year.
How to choose a hanging light for your entranceway
Are you redecorating your entranceway? If so, here’s how to find the perfect hanging light for it.
Determine the right size
To determine how big it should be, measure the length and width of the space in feet, add the numbers together and then convert the sum to inches. For example, a room that’s 10 feet by 12 feet needs a light fixture with a diameter of 22 inches.
Select the right height
Hanging lights should never be less than seven feet away from the floor. Any lower and they may give someone a bump on the head.
Choose a style you love
Hanging light fixtures come in a multitude of types, colors and shapes. Remember to keep the rest of your decor in mind when making your selection.
If you’re installing a light fixture where there wasn’t one before, hire an electrician. A certified professional will make sure that the wiring is done to code.
Types of hanging lights
• Abstract pendants are modern light fixtures formed into unique shapes.
• Bowl pendants have bowl-shaped diffusers that are turned toward either the ceiling or floor.
• Cluster pendants comprise a group of mini-pendants that provide the same amount of light as a single larger pendant.
• Crystal chandeliers can be made of cut glass or crystal and are perfect for formal spaces.
• Drum chandeliers are similar to drum pendants but have numerous light bulbs.
• Drum pendants are cylindrical and have a fabric or hardback diffuser.
• Globe pendants are sphere-shaped and usually made of a transparent material.
• Mini chandeliers are smaller fixtures that can be used in tight spaces.
• Mini pendants are slender hanging lights typically used in multiples.
I just adopted a dog, now what?
Adopting a dog is a life changing event. Here are some steps to take when you bring your new canine companion home.
• Take them to the vet. Your dog should be examined to ensure that they don’t have a disease or other issue that requires attention. In most cases, they’ll also make a recommendation for when the dog should be spayed or neutered.
• Schedule their vaccinations. Many animal shelters vaccinate dogs before they’re adopted. Nevertheless, you’ll need to make sure your pup’s up to date with their shots. Vaccines should be administered annually for the rest of their life.
• Get identification. If your municipality requires it, get your dog licensed right away. Also, make sure they can be identified, either with a tag on their collar or a microchip embedded under their skin.
• Start training. It’s a good idea to train your dog to come when you call and follow basic commands like sit, stay and down. Not only are these commands useful, but training sessions serve as a great way for you and your pet to bond.
If your new pet seems shy or nervous around you at first, don’t get frustrated. A period of adjustment is to be expected. With consistent love and attention, they’ll quickly become more comfortable around you.
10 gifts outdoorsy types will love
Are you looking for a gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life? If so, here are some ideas.
For their next adventure
1. A portable water filtration bottle or straw
3. A kit to turn the flashlight on their phone into a lamp
4. A military grade compass
5. A down jacket or rain coat
6. A wireless charger for their electronics — one that’s solar powered is ideal
7. A portable camping stove and mess kit
To inspire them
8. A wilderness survival book
9. Novels and memoirs about outdoor adventures
10. A birdfeeder to bring wildlife to their backyard
To really spoil your outdoor enthusiast, consider buying them a pass that will grant them access to the country’s national parks for a year. No doubt, they’ll love exploring the American wilderness.
5 ‘wild’ books for wilderness buffs
1. Into the Wild
By Jon Krakauer
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on The Pacific Crest Trail
By Cheryl Strayed
3. The Call of the Wild
By Jack London
4. One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
By Sam Keith
5. Lost on the Wild: Danger and Survival in the North Woods
By Cary J. Griffith
Top brass: the metal interior designers are falling for
An alloy of copper and zinc, brass is once again at the forefront of home decorating trends. Today’s brass, however, is muted and offers a welcome respite from the flashier rose gold and copper that dominated the design world in years past.
Brass goes well with almost any color, from somber blues and burgundies to pale neutrals like cream and blush.
Increasingly, retailers are offering an assortment of brass items to their customers. From cabinet hardware and faucets to floor lamps and chandeliers, there’s no shortage of options if you want to bring brass into your home. If you’re in the market for a new bedframe, consider one made of this metal.
To prevent your brass from looking dated, choose angular, modern pieces that are brushed to a dull sheen instead of the overpowering shine that was once popular. Keep your pieces looking new by regularly cleaning them with ketchup, tomato juice or a simple solution of lemon and salt.