All Articles Tagged "home"

How To Childproof Your Home

January 28th, 2016 - By Clarissa Joan
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

As a mother of two–an infant and a toddler–I often wonder, on the topic of childproofing should prioritize my children or my home? This is a joke.

Child safety is very important. I repeat child safety is VERY important.

Our children have never been hospitalized or injured to a degree of needing medical intervention. I am grateful for this grace.

Our home, however, has undergone many episodes of replacements, rearrangements, and repurposed furniture. Take for example, what use to be our dining table. As a family, we still eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at this table.

From the perspective of our two-year old, however, our dining room table is her stage and her activity gym. Yes, our very nice cherry wood dining table, which cost hundreds of dollars, is now the domain of a 33-inch tall little person who uses it to sing Disney songs and to substitute the playground jungle gym on very cold days.

No parent likes to see hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of furniture, electronics, apparel, and walls destroyed. It is painful!

But the truth of the matter is, most of these items, sans your family heirlooms and memorabilia are replaceable.

Our children, however, are one of a kind. One child cannot be replaced by another; never, ever ever. Our children are priceless. For this reason, we have become masters at childproofing our home. We did not aspire to be experts on child safety and furniture conservation, but as heads of household who desire peace, love, and harmony in our atmosphere, childproofing was the best option.

Via the following childproofing techniques, we have been able to create the proper space for our children, us, and all of our things to co-exist happily.

Remove The Small Things: Before our daughter was born, we combed the house for items we declared to be choking hazards. Anything that could easily slip down the air passageway of a small and inquisitive being unfamiliar with the difference between food and not, we disposed of and or tucked away safely. Both are children, are what pediatricians call “mouthers,” so this was a great move on our part. A “mouther” is a child who uses the sense of taste to discover the world.

Segregation: Politically and socially speaking this is a taboo term. However, in the case of parents, infants, and homes, this is a godsend. Shut every door. Lock every cabinet. Keep all china and knives at ceiling level. Mount every peace of furniture that can tip. Your child will attempt to touch it all. The less access they have to scissors, knives, q-tips, pencils, cleaning products, hair products, make-up, small jewelry, etc. etc. Put up signs if you need to: “For Adults Only” You must deny access to all potentially hazards items or else be prepared for haphazard injury.

Create Kid Friendly Play Areas: Our children just moved into their own bedroom/playroom. What use to be my office and our storage room is now a huge gigantic children’s museum that happens to also house a crib and playpen. Prior to this we had created a 5 by 10 corner of our bedroom into discovery zone. But as children get older, they need more space to grow. What we now call “Sisterland,” is an AMAZING sanity checking environment that keeps them off of our couches and tables, out of our closets, and off my work desk. Invest in your “Sisterland” now.

Purchase Safety Equipment: We have a safety gate that guards our kitchen, cabinet latches that secure our bathroom products, and socket covers that keep them from getting electrocuted. These all work for temporary moments in time. If your child is like ours, they override these real quick. That is when the golden rule comes into play.

Be Present: The golden rule of child safety is to be present. No matter what gate, playroom, or storage closet you invest in, your children will always override it to get closer to you and do what you are doing. Those little brains are growing faster now than they ever will again in life. They are absorbing as much knowledge and information as possible. We want to keep them safe, but we also want to let them be free to explore and experience the world passionately.

Being present, communicating, watching, and engaging our children daily is the best remedy to the perils of home and society. Our presence limits them from being harmed, as well as, models for them how to avoid harm on their own as they mature.

And if all these childproofing tips fail, yell yell yell! I know. They say don’t do it. But toddlers do not listen. Yell “Noooo!” “Stop that!” “Don’t do that!” My favorite “Why would you do that?” My two-year old now says this back to me when I am apparently bothering her. Oh, the joys of motherhood.

Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience. She resides in Philadelphia, Pa with her husband, their two girls, and a yorkie named Ace. Clarissa is also an expert in impact investing. She is the Communications Associate at Impact America Fund.

Stopping To Smell The Roses: What I Learned When I Became Anti-Social

January 5th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I lived independently in the city of Newark after graduating from college. In those years, I managed to build a life full of freedom, fun and established a name for myself in the city. Like most of us in our 20s, we reach a point of either social burnout or a financial burnout. Three months ago, I was hit with both, which forced me back to the other side of Jersey with my parents. After establishing a life where I was, I fought hard to maintain it from a distance, which meant weekend trips up north to party with friends between Newark, Jersey City, and New York City. But when funds started to dry up, I knew I had to cool it. So I slowly became a social hermit. During my period of isolation, I began to slow down and really smell the roses. In that time, I learned a lot about myself.

The Word “Friend” Shouldn’t Be Used Loosely

When I lived in Newark, my social hotline was always blinging. Monday through Sunday there was always a “wave,” whether it was a happy hour in the downtown area, coming home at the crack of dawn after a fun-filled weekend partying in New York City, or finding an art opening, brunch, dinner or house party because I knew the right people. But when the train rides became exhausting and I started to say no and decline invitations, phone calls started to come few and far between. There were no texts to check on me to see how I was handling the transition, no “Hey, how are you” messages. Nothing. That’s not to say my social circle was filled with shady people, but I have learned that outside of the social scene, we really didn’t have anything else in common that is beneficial.

Less Time Out Allows You To Focus On What’s Important

I didn’t realize how much my social life was a distraction to my work. When I had nowhere to go, I suddenly became more focused on my work. My productivity increased, and I accomplished a lot more in the day. When I became less social, I became more financially responsible and cautious of my spending. I was also able to hit the reset button and brainstorm how I was going to gain my independence again, from obtaining an affordable apartment to more writing opportunities and just knowing how I was going to do things differently.

You Need To Make Time To Rest 

Being away from all the hustle and bustle of the young, wild and free, and worrying less about trying to keep up, I found myself experiencing brighter mornings and less tiring evenings due to a night of staying in rather than staying out late after work. When you have a reputation for being a social butterfly, it can be hard at times (especially on your mind and body) to live up to that.

I Learned To Appreciate The Company Of My Family

Living in Newark, I was always too busy to catch the train to Trenton to visit my family. It was too much of a hassle for me. I missed birthdays, dinners and family gatherings, and for a time, it didn’t really bother me. I’ve become a better daughter, cousin and more to my family now that I am back home with them and focused less on my social life. I’ve even learned how to look beyond the differences in lifestyles between myself and my cousins, and invite them to hang with me sometimes, accepting them for who they are.

As I slowly transition myself back into the social scene, I have a plethora of lessons to take with me. Most important of them all, everything has a balance, but sometimes you have to play both sides of the scale in order to find that equilibrium.

When You’re Too Old For A Roommate

October 21st, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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bad roommates

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If you want to get technical, I’ve had roommates all of my life. I went from living with my parents, then off to college where I had roommates. I’ve lived with my boyfriend, and as a single woman, I have lived in shared apartments with other women. There are some upsides to having a roommate, like splitting the cost of utilities, cable, Internet, and most importantly, rent. There’s an abundance of shared food unless you buy your absolute favorite things and make them off limits to others. There’s never a lonely moment because you always have someone to talk to, and it makes for a more lively environment. All these things sound good, but now that I’m in my mid-20s and not far from 30, I feel I am too old for roommates. Why? For the simple reason that there’s never a moment where I am truly alone. I am sharing space, which means that I have to compromise. I can’t decorate how I want, and I always have to consider someone else before I make household decisions. I’ve realized that there are a plethora of reasons why I am too old for flatmates, roomies, and/or bedfellows. Here’s why I need to ride solo.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I’m young, and I am on the market for dating, as is my roommate. Still, I respect my space enough not to bring men back with me. If things don’t work out, I don’t want them to know where I live. However, some people are a bit more free than others. Imagine waking up early in the morning to make a cup of coffee or tea. You still have crust in your eyes and last night’s makeup is smeared all over your face because you were either too lazy or too tired to wash it off. You only have a T-shirt on, and as you’re making your way down the stairs to the kitchen, you see a strange man sitting on the couch staring at you. He doesn’t speak or anything, and it is the most awkward five seconds of silence ever. You hurry up and make your tea, running back in your room where you stay for the remainder of the day.

Yes, this really happened.

I mean, we’re grown, we date, it’s a part of life. But it’s also common courtesy to let your roommate know when you will have a guest over who will be occupying public spaces. It would also help so you’ll know whether to wear headphones to prevent yourself from hearing the morning delights taking place in the adjacent room. Having a roommate, you have to consider these things. It’s liberating living away from your parents, but when you have a roommate, there are still a few restrictions. Same goes for walking around in your birthday suit. Even in terms of dating and getting serious with someone, you want to be able to navigate those intimate spaces with that person, but you have to keep in mind that you aren’t the only person occupying your place of residence.

The Weakest Link

We joke about how we always have that one broke friend who always want to go out and do stuff. Well, it’s funny until they become that broke roommate who can never pay their expenses on time. And depending on whose name these bills are in, it could mean some pretty hostile situations. Again, the upside to having a roommate is supposed to be the splitting of utilities, cable, Internet and most importantly, rent. But the downside is splitting these expenses with people who are struggling financially. My landlord once told me that if for some reason you feel like you can’t afford something then you shouldn’t get it. And I know that it’s time for me to go after having to continuously get utilities and other apartment expenses put in my name. I figure if I can afford to pay my rent and pick up someone else’s slack then why not just live alone?

Pet Peeves

When having a roommate, there are just shared responsibilities that people need to be aware of. For example, washing the dishes or taking out the garbage and cleaning the public spaces are just things you should both do. I’ve learned that everyone has a different cleaning style. Some clean as they go, some pick a day or time to devote to cleaning and some just don’t clean at all. I realized I was too old for a roommate when I started to clash with one because of our different cleaning styles.

I also like having and entertaining guests, but I also love my alone time, which involves peace and quiet. I can’t always get that, and I can’t really get too mad about it because that’s what happens when you live with someone. And just as I have the freedom and choice to be quiet, my former roommate had the choice and freedom to be loud.

All in all, I could go on for days sharing nightmare stories about living with people, but these are the things that helped me realize I am too old for this s–t and better off living on my own. What did it take for you to get proactive and move out on your own? Do you have any nightmare roommate stories?

 

 

7 Ways To Organize Any Room In 15 Minutes (Yes, Really!)

June 11th, 2015 - By Rich
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While you may have already done your spring and summer cleaning, now just about weeks into the season you may notice it’s time to get a little more organized. Does company come over and you can’t find the remote? Are you feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of clutter building? Get your abode in order with these super quick tips that will help you organize any room in just a matter of minutes. Yes, minutes, not hours!

7 Ways To Organize Any Room In 15 Minutes (Yes, Really!)

Don’t Call The Super: Home Repairs Everyone Can Do

June 4th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

You don’t always have to call the repairman when things go awry in your home. With just a few tools and a little know-how, anyone can do these home repairs on their own.

Memorial Day Guide: Party Ideas And Recipes

May 21st, 2015 - By Rich
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Are you ready to kick off the first major barbecue holiday of the year? Memorial Day is a time to celebrate those we lost in the armed forces. It’s also a much needed vacation from work that unites us with loved ones. Here are some yummy recipes and decorating ideas for your pre-summer party.

Memorial Day Guide: Party Ideas And Recipes

Home Girl: 20 Top Holiday Gifts For The Home

November 20th, 2014 - By Rich
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One of the best gifts you can give someone this holiday season is something for your home. If you think about it, items like home decor and essentials are practical, taking away worries if the right size will fit. Hopefully you have spent a little time in the intended recipient’s home so you can peep out their style prior to making any purchases. Here are the top holiday gifts for the home.

20 Top Holiday Gifts For The Home

Great Outdoors: 15 Outstanding Outdoor Rooms

August 5th, 2014 - By Rich
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There’s no better time like the  summer to get outdoors and enjoy your deck or patio. But you don’t need thousands of dollars to create a relaxing retreat. Need inspiration or great colorful themes to get you going?  Take a look at some of our favorite images that we found around the ‘net that inspire a true outdoor living space makeover.

Great Outdoors: 15 Outstanding Outdoor Rooms

Home Sweet Home: 8 Things To Consider When Purchasing a New Home

July 26th, 2014 - By Rich
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Nearly a year being in this home I am still often haunted at the process it took to get here. Selling and purchasing a new home in last year’s market was not for the weak. Outside of the market dictating some of our issues I thought I would give those of you considering the leap a few tips.

1. Decide What To Do With Your Current Home: If you currently own a home, don’t assume you have to sell it. If you would like to keep it as an income property speak with a mortgage specialist before starting your search. We found out months later into our process that we could’ve kept our home. Had we known earlier we may have put the search off a few months to save the additional monies needed to keep it as a rental property.

2. Know Your Financing Options: FHA, VA, Conventional etc. It can all get very confusing. They all have their own set of requirements, as well as pros and cons. Research them and have an idea of which way you are leaning so that no one can sway you into something that ultimately is in their best interest and not yours.

3. Be Your Own Advocate. Do Your Research: We had the best agent but I was still online looking at houses daily. If you have the time, look for yourself. Agents are busy, you are likely a number in their client roster. You would hate to miss the perfect house because she was out with another client. I’m sure mine was sick of me, but I found our first house that way. She had somehow overlooked it in her search. Zillow, and your local real estate agencies websites are great places to start. Georgia has a free MLS system that can be searched, see if your state has one.

4. Narrow Down Your Search Area: Know where you want to be and the pricing associated with that area. Decide whether size trumps area, commute etc. Gas is expensive, and no one wants to drive you around for you to get to the property and say this is too far! I did it…a few times. Then I realized it was a waste of our time. We set 2 distinct areas and searched those areas.

5. Consider all the Minute Details: Once you’ve narrowed down the area and start really looking, remember your budget. The house is perfect and it’s in your price range but the schools are poor and will require private education, there is an HOA, the commute will be 2 hours and the yard will require maintenance. All of these are additional monies outside of your mortgage that can strain your budget . Being house poor is not the move.

6. Look Past the Esthetics: Some houses are not so attractive but their structure is sound. Like mine. After watching multiple episodes of anything HGTV airs I still had a no moment when we walked up to this house. I couldn’t see past the overgrown exterior and the ugly paint colors. I saw dollar signs. While it may be expensive to make cosmetic changes they can be done over time. Look at the roof, room size and the things that matter that cost waaaaayyyyyyyy more than a few gallons of paint and a some elbow grease

7. Have Your Paperwork in Order: Buying a house requires lots and lots and lots and lots of paperwork. They will ask for 3 months of bank statements, paystubs and whatever else they make up. Prior to starting the process watch the swipes on your debit card, and transfers in and out of your account. They are nosey and will ask about them. Save yourself the drama. If you do, document right then so if it comes up you don’t have to think too hard. Try to avoid transferring to other people, they’ll want their bank statement too. We encountered this and it was a nightmare.

8. If You See it Move on It: No house will have everything you want unless you custom build it. If it’s good enough, in the right area and for the right price put in an offer. I missed 3 houses being indecisive. If you keep thinking something better is out there you will be looking forever!

Party Over Here: 8 Amazing Memorial Day Party Ideas

May 23rd, 2014 - By Rich
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If you’re a mom like us, you like to have the party at your house so you can keep an eye on your little one and the action that ensues, so why not bring the fun to your house this holiday weekend with a Memorial Day party? Add parents to the mix and it’ll be an event our friends will talk about for the rest of the summer. We help you celebrate outside with these tips, tricks and just great ideas.

Party Over Here: 8 Amazing Memorial Day Party Ideas