Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Easy Ways to Change the Look of Your Home

This is a sponsored guest post by Alex from The Berger Bungalow.

Over two years ago, I remember stepping foot in my first home for the first time. It was just a few years after my husband and I got married and I could not believe that we were buying our first home! Hopefully the home that we would eventually bring our future kids home from the hospital to. I was so, so excited.

The home buying process was intense, to say the least. Our rental home that we were currently in was up for sale and we didn’t want to risk getting kicked out due to it selling before we found a home of our own, so we were in a time crunch. We searched and searched for something that was ‘perfect’ and still within our budget and it just seemed like everything didn’t fit us, or our offers were turned down (we even offered full asking price + closing costs and got turned down!). We had no idea why it was happening and we were so frustrated.

But, just one week after our offer was turned down, we were about to leave for a trip to the beach and my sister (who also happened to be our realtor) called me and told me that she thought she found the perfect place for us, but we had to make an offer that very day. So, we delayed our trip by a few hours, saw the house, and made an offer from our car, on the way to Florida.

Although it needed some TLC (I mean, every single room had a different color!), it was perfect and it was just what I imagined: a large kitchen so that Ian and I could cook together, a dining room where our family could get together and share meals and laughs, an office AND a future playroom/current man cave (this was very high on my want list, but I didn’t think it was in our budget), a big back yard for our pups, an open floor plan, high ceilings, and the list goes on. I was just so excited to make the home ours and make it stand out.

But, over the years, as much as I have wanted to really work on our home, we have been spending all of our energy (and money) on travel. We visited wineries in Montalcino, hiked Cinque Terre, explored Sonoma County and even tried a Cedar Bath (which was so cool!), and we have many trips coming up throughout the end of the year which include, New Orleans, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, Florida (again), and more. Because of this, I haven’t really done much other than our initial renovations with the house and I am now ready to get down to business and really focus on decorating for the seasons, improving our home, and doing a few renovations. Here are some of the things we are planning to do (which will hopefully make our house more homey and also boost the value of the home):

Paint The Kitchen Cabinets

I absolutely love the kitchen, but as you can see, our cabinets have an orange tint to the wood and I really prefer lighter colors, without the warmth. So, I think I am going to paint the wood a lighter, more neutral color and also change out the hardware to look a bit more modern compared to the knobs that we currently have.

Install New Countertops

This is definitely on my top 3 ‘must do’ list. Our countertops are just a plain white laminate right now and I really do not like them. They stain, they are hard to keep clean, and they are a very inexpensive material. I would love to replace these as soon as possible, in order to make our kitchen look better and more upscale, which will in turn, boost our home value and make it more appealing for future purchasers.

Fireplace Surround

Our current fireplace surround is just black wood right now and it’s very dark for me. I have been searching for something to enhance the look of it for a while now, but everything is so pricey! I finally came across Faux Brickwork, which seems like an awesome option. Faux Brickwork is the leading supplier of faux brickwork to the domestic and commercial world. They supply faux brickwork to many luxury homes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, offices and retailers. Located out of Clearwater Florida, Faux Brickwork is able to provide authentic looking brickwork without the high costs of building work. Their high quality panels are made from plaster, which makes them authentic visually and also makes them lightweight, making installation fast and simple. The reason why we are considering Faux Brickwork for our fireplace surround is because of the fact that we can order and install it quickly and it would be much more affordable compared to tradition brick, or even tile. They also offer samples and a custom design service, so we know we will be getting exactly what we want. I mean, look at this picture below. It looks so authentic!

Install New Tile

Again, this is on my top 3 ‘must do’ list. Our current kitchen tile is very, very ugly. In fact, I was chatting with my blog agent the other day and described it as “poop brown,” haha. You can see a picture above. I would absolutely love to replace this! My parents imported their kitchen tile from Italy and it is gorgeous, so I have pretty high standards when it comes to this. Here is to hoping that I can find what I love for a reasonable price!

Decorate For The Seasons!

This is one thing that I am looking so forward to doing this year (and in years to come, as well)! Decorating for the seasons is so much fun to me and I just have not had a chance to really do so with our crazy work and travel schedules in the past. This year, it is happening! Of course, this will do nothing for the value of our home, but it will make it feel a lot more like ‘ours’ and I know it will make it a happier place.

Everything You Need to Know About Adopting a Dog

Written by a contributing writer

Considering almost 50% of households have a pet dog, there’s a good chance that you’ll consider taking on one of your own at some point or another. When some people decide that it’s the right time for them to get a canine companion, they choose a breed and automatically start looking up breeders in their local area. But it’s extremely important that you are aware that this isn’t the only option. There are already so many perfect pooches already out there who are in serious need of a loving home, and you could offer them just what they need! This is why you should always consider adopting before shopping. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, here’s everything you need to know about adopting a dog!

Choosing a Breed

Chances are that you already have a good idea of what dog breed you’d like to make a part of your family. But the majority of people come to this decision by merely looking at different dogs’ appearances. It’s so important that you know a lot about the different breeds of dog that you are considering taking into your home, as each has been bred for a specific purpose and will consequently have different characteristics, behavioral traits, and physical traits that you need to take into mind. A Bichon Frise, for example, is bred as a lap dog and companion dog, so will need more attention than other breeds. A Border Collie is bred as a working farm dog, so will have lots of energy and require longer walks. You need to make sure that you can meet your dog’s natural needs before taking them on. Some dogs in shelters may not have an immediately recognizable breed, or may be crossbred, but you can carry out a DNA test to determine what breed they are with www.certapet.com/embark-dna/.

Getting to Know Potential Pup’s Personalities
Every dog will have an individual and unique personality. So, it’s best to get to know the different dogs at the shelter to find out which is best for your home and family. You will need to make a good fit, where you and your pooch can gel well with one another. If you have a calm home, you should look for a calm dog who is more comfortable in quiet and laid back surroundings. A hyperactive, energetic canine companion may prove overwhelming for you, and you may not be able to cater to his or her needs either. If you are energetic yourself and have an extremely busy household, the energetic pooch could prove to be a better fit than a shy and reserved dog who may quickly become overwhelmed.

Bringing Your Dog Home

Once you’ve settled on a dog, the shelter you have taken them on from should give you complete instruction on how to help them settle into your home. Where possible, you should book a little time off work, so that you can help them to feel comfortable and welcomed.

These are just a few steps that you will go through in the process of adopting a dog. Take as long as you need to make the right decision - a dog is a big responsibility and you want to ensure that the pooch you take home will be heading back to their forever home, where they can be happy and healthy!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Tips To Buying Baby Safety Products on A Budget

Written by a contributing writer 

Baby safety is of utmost importance. You will not want your baby suffering injuries as a result of falling down from their bed or playing near dangerous places within the house. With babies, anything can happen, and this makes it important to safeguard them at every turn. To safeguard them, you will need good baby safety products like baby gates, barriers, and latches among others. These products can be costly but you can still acquire them even on a budget. Below are tips to help you out.

1. Try the Secondhand Market
If you are on a tight budget, don't worry because you can still get your desired baby safety products on the secondhand market. The good thing is you will find the products at a cheaper price. But first, you need to scout in depth for the best second-hand baby safety products dealers. You will not want to buy an expensive fake product that will not keep your baby out of harm’s way. Baby safety products ought to work properly as they are supposed to offer maximum protection to the baby. You can do a live test with your baby in it to ascertain that the products are working well. Also, you can try to compare prices between the dealers. If you can get the same baby safety products for less at another store or dealer then go purchase it.

2. Scout for Sale Discount Offers
Many at times, stores will have sales discount and free coupons offer for their baby safety products in order to boost the sales. You can take advantage of such offers as you will end up saving a few bucks. For instance, if the store gives a 30% discount on each product, then it will mean you will spend less money and buy more baby safety products for your baby. If that is not the case, you can even request for a discount from the store if you are a regular customer. For the best baby safety products such as baby gates, baby barriers, latches and locks at affordable rates you can see the range here.

3. Exchanging Products
You might be having something you do not want and your friend needs it. What do you do? You exchange with him or her and in return, you pick something that you want from them. It is the same for the baby safety products. This will go a long way in helping you save a lot of cash which you can use to buy other essential baby products. You can also do product exchange with a baby store or even a secondhand dealer if they allow. In the long run, you will find that you have spent less cash.

4. Buy One at a Time
As with many new parents, they will have the urge to buy new products for their babies all at once. But if you are working on a low budget, then this is highly discouraged. You can try buying the baby safety products one at a time. First, start by making a list of all the baby safety products you will want and list in the order of priority. Afterward, you can commit yourself to purchase one or two products each month. You can start by purchasing the protectors, then baby gates then the next time you purchase baby barriers. Start buying early before the baby starts crawling so that by the time the baby is walking, you have all the baby safety products you need.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Makeup Favorites for Summer & Back-To-School With COVERGIRL

Summertime is winding down and back-to-school is starting to take over. Getting back into the swing of things can be difficult. There are usually so many changes! And change is ROUGH. BUT these products are perfectly versatile and can be used now in sweet summertime and also flawlessly transition into that back-to-school, fall-but-not-quite-fall seasonal awkwardness. And they are all affordable, drugstore options by COVERGIRL.

1. Clean Matte BB Cream

This has become my go-to foundation. Medium coverage, smooth, long lasting, and 0 breakouts. What more could you ask for? If it looks great, survives the summer heat, and doesn't anger my difficult skin, I'm sold for life.

2. Vitalist Elixir Lip Oil

I'll admit, I wasn't sure about this at first. I'm much more of a tinted lip balm girl than any other type of lippy. And I definitely am not one for lip gloss (have you seen how long my hair is? What a sticky nightmare!) But this is a smooth, thin, moisturizing tint that isn't gloppy or sticky. My hair doesn't stick to it and it sinks into my lips the way a good moisturizer sinks into skin. The tint also has the staying power of a stain. My favorite shade is Berry Libation. (I think these might already be discontinued - Which makes me so sad! If they are, I hope CG decides to bring them back!)

3.  Mascaras - Full Lash Bloom, Flourish by Lash Blast

Both of these mascaras give a voluminous, 0 clump, beautiful, eye-popping look. The Flourish mascara contains coconut, papaya, and avocado oils that help nourish your lashes. The Bloom has been a favorite of mine for a while. It replaced my much more expensive Mally Beauty Volume mascara because it achieves the same look for a fraction of the price.  Plus, honestly, I receive so many compliments on my eyes when I wear either the Bloom or Flourish mascara.

4. Melting Pout Matte Liquid Lipstick

This is another one I was SURE wasn't going to be my cup of tea. But I was wrong. I usually can't stand matte lipsticks and liquid lipsticks are normally too much for me to handle. But these are a different breed. Especially when it comes to drugstore makeup. These don't settle into the lines of my lips, are easy to apply, don't stick to my hair, and stay put! I like the shade "Coral Chronicles".

5. Vitalist Healthy Elixir Liquid Foundation

If you're looking for more coverage or if you have drier skin, I recommend this foundation. Even with combination skin, it really made my skin look so healthy and smooth. It applies nicely (I use a beauty blender type sponge) and a little goes a long way.

6. Katy Kat Palette

You've probably heard other beauty fanatics raving about these shadows. They are super pigmented and blend out beautifully. The "Hot Kat" palette is my favorite.

7. Vitalist Look Lock Up Spray

A setting spay! YES! I have such a hard time finding a nice setting spray that isn't high-end. And, although this does not completely replace my high-end favorite (Boscia White Charcoal Mattifying Makeup Setting Spray), it is a good, lower cost alternative. It does have a floral scent to it, which I don't really mind. Overall, it does its job and keeps my makeup in place without any stickiness or patchiness.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Don't Let Injuries Bring Your Fitness Plan To A Grinding Halt

Written by a contributing writer 

The last thing you want when you’re working towards fitness goals is an injury. If you’re on a mission to get in shape, here are some simple tips to keep injuries at bay.

Invest in the right equipment

If you plan to take up a new sport, try a different activity, or hit the gym, it’s essential to make sure you have the right equipment. Don’t try and play tennis in flip-flops or go to the gym in baggy trousers that run the risk of getting trapped in the treadmill. You don’t have to spend a fortune on clothes, shoes, rackets, and sticks, but it’s wise to cover the basics. If you haven’t got the right equipment, it can increase the risk of accidents and injuries and prevent you from performing to the best of your ability. If you fancy trying a class or a sport to see if you enjoy it, ask about a free trial, as many gyms, and sports centers offer this option.

Image credit https://pixabay.com/en/running-shoes-run-sneakers-shoes-2661558/

Protect previous injuries

If you’ve had an injury in the past, it’s important to understand how this might impact you going forward. If you still get pain when you run, for example, it may be wise to consult a trainer or ask your doctor for advice before starting a new fitness regime. You may find that using supports or investing in orthotics such as those available at https://biopods.com/ will help to minimize pain and improve your performance. If you’re working out, and you get recurrent aches, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. You may find that an old injury hasn’t healed quite as fast as you expected, and continuing may do more harm than good. Physical therapy is often beneficial for those recovering from injury.

Warm up

If you’re short on time, or you’re excited about getting started on a new fitness plan, you may be tempted to skip the warm-up. The warm-up is actually one of the most important aspects of any workout. When you do a warm-up, your heart rate increases and this means that blood is pumped around your body faster to deliver oxygen to your muscles. If you don’t take time to warm up, you run the risk of pulling muscles and damaging soft tissue. Spend 5-10 minutes doing light cardio exercises combined with stretching. It’s also essential to cool down after exercise. You can find useful warm-up tips here https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/warm-up/5-minute-warm-up-workout/.

Master the technique

If you’re playing sports or using machines at the gym, it’s crucial to master the technique. If you’re throwing, jumping, or lifting with the wrong action, this could lead to significant injuries, as well as affect your performance levels. It’s beneficial to take classes or arrange sessions with experienced trainers if you’re new to a sport.

Image by https://www.dm.af.mil/Media/Features/Display/Article/929593/worth-the-weight/

Are you working towards new fitness goals or are you keen to be more active? Injuries can put a damper on good intentions, so make sure you have the right equipment, always take time to warm up, protect old injuries, and use the right technique. Good luck!

Monday, August 13, 2018

6 Tips All Parents Need For Camping With Kids

Written by a contributing writer


Camping with your children can be an exciting, fun, and adventurous experience. It offers you the chance to get away from the stresses of everyday life, ditch your technology, and really bond with your little ones. That being said, without proper planning and preparation, camping can quickly turn into a cold, damp, muddy, and stressful nightmare. If you’re planning a camping adventure with your children this summer, here are six things you need to know.

Make Sure You Plan Ahead

Throughout the summer, campsites can fill up incredibly quickly, so it’s important that you plan ahead and make a reservation as soon as you can. That being said, you should still ensure that you do plenty of research on your site before you book it. Some campgrounds don’t allow children or don’t have the facilities to accommodate them, so make sure that yours is suitable.

Pack Everything You Might Need

Usually, when you go on vacation, you should try to take as little as possible, but when you’re camping, that’s rarely an option. Instead, you should buy a roof rack and bag, like the ones from this website, and fill it with everything you might need for your trip. Ensure you have clothes for every weather, plenty of entertainment, and all of the camping gear and equipment required.

Set Some Campsite Safety Rules

Your campsite may say that it’s child-friendly, but that doesn’t mean you should let your little ones run off alone the minute you arrive there. Instead, you should pitch your tent and then take them for a walk around the grounds. While you do this, you should explain which areas are out of bounds and set some safety rules. If they are too young to understand this, then they shouldn’t be left alone.


Share Chores With Your Children

From cooking to cleaning to collecting firewood, camping comes with a number of chores that you’re not usually faced with when you go on vacation. Instead of doing all of these chores yourself, ask your children to pitch in now and then. Depending on their ages, there are a number of things they could do. This helps them to learn responsibility and independence.

Stick To Your Usual Routine
When you’re camping with really young children, it’s important that you stick to your usual routine as much as you can. Of course, there will likely be some adjustments that need to be made, but you should avoid skipping nap times or going to bed a lot later than normal. This way, your kids will be less tired and cranky, and you’ll all have a much more enjoyable trip.

Don’t Try To Go Wild

For your first time camping, you should make sure that you go for a campsite that has shower and toilet facilities, as well as other useful and fun amenities, like a shop, playground, and kids club. It can be tempting to go all out and rough it for a week, but this can make your trip incredibly stressful and uncomfortable. You can always go wild when you have a bit more experience.

If you’re planning a camping trip with your little ones, these tips should help make your time a lot more fun and relaxing.

5 Trendy Places to Buy Clothes Online

Written by a contributing writer

In this fast-paced world, everyone tends to be busy all the time. That does not leave a lot of time to shop for new, trendy clothes at the mall or some other brick-and-mortar shop. That’s where online shopping comes in to save us all. It’s fast, convenient, and – if you know the right places to look – full of jaw-dropping deals that are usually harder to find in-store. It allows you to look stylish without completely draining your bank account.

However, online shopping has one major drawback. There are so many online stores available on the interwebs; how do you choose where to spend your money? That’s because, when it comes to online shopping, you have to consider more than just the price tag. You want to be sure that the online shop can guarantee you high-quality items, fast and affordable shipping, reasonable return policies, and privacy protection. Also, you will want to ensure that the store’s style and aesthetic matches with yours. If you’re searching for trendy clothes, here are 5 of the best online stores to shop from:

1. The Black Ravens

If you’re a fan of the alternative look, then TBR is the perfect online shop for you. The brand is all about embracing unique styles, so you can expect lots of Gothic, Rocker, Punk, and Emo items here. And if you like doing cosplay, then you’ll love the wide selection here.

The store is based both in the US and UK, so look forward to fast shipping times all around the world. This is one of the best store options for a truly unique look.

2. Fashion Nova

No roundup of online clothing stores would be complete without including the ever-trendy Fashion Nova. This Instagram is wildly popular with the young and hip, especially because it seems to be a staple for celebrities and trendsetters.

It’s one of the most famous online clothing brands, popular for its inexpensive party wear and sultry aesthetic. If you’re looking for something pretty for a fun night out, Fashion Nova is the best choice for you.


Do you love the style and glamour of fashion magazines? Then you’ll adore ASOS. This brand built its popularity on providing clothing styles that are exactly “as seen on screen”. The best thing about it is that it also offers a well-rounded experience for the buyer. Browse through the site and you’ll find pages full of beautiful products, featured style and fashion articles, and reams of suggested products and style ideas.

It’s pretty pricey, but you are assured of great quality and excellent customer service. Your best bet is to wait for one of their regular sales to snag any pieces that you have been eyeing.

4. Forever 21

This is probably one of the most well-known online clothing and accessories brands around. It’s popular with the young crowd, especially college students looking for a good deal. It always has the latest styles and trends, plus their clothes are very affordable.

Forever 21 offers clothing in a wide range of sizes, so you can always get what you want in the perfect fit. However, this store distinguishes itself with the extensive selection of petite and plus-size items, which are some of the hardest to get when shopping online.

5. Style for Less

While Style for Less has many storefront locations, the easiest way to shop here is through their online store. You get access to some of the trendiest women’s clothing, accessories, and footwear for incredibly low prices. Furthermore, it’s full of great deals and sales on a regular basis. Not many people know about this store, but it is well worth the look.