REMAX 440/Central Blog

Luxurious Bathroom Ideas for the Home

September 24, 2012 2:36 am

A great bathroom could add real value to your property, so it's vital you spend the time and effort creating the perfect sanctuary. By handpicking the finest accessories to fine-tune your bathroom, you can turn it into a luxurious haven.

Sharp lines and clean appearances can boost a simple washroom into a cutting edge design. Dogi's Fontane range is a stunning collection of natural furniture pieces made from solid wood ash, providing a minimalist feel for your home. Enhancing your bathroom's shape and size through discrete storage, each piece is custom-made, maximizing surface space through multi-storage units. With a range of styles, colors and sizes to choose from, you won't be short of ideas to match existing bathroom features.

Fittings and accessories should never be ignored when furnishing your washroom. A key piece, such as a basin, can really enliven the look and bring a touch of luxury to any space. Glass Design creates washbowls that are a great example of cutting-edge design meeting decadence. Each piece is uniquely designed, using materials that capture the soul of the product, adding a new lease of life to your abode.

If you have a medium- or large-sized bathroom, consider investing in a freestanding bath. It provides a focal point, adding grandeur to your bathroom. Make sure you think about the look and feel you want before investing, as this is a key product that will influence the whole look and feel of your room. From traditional Victorian to industrial-inspired designs and Japanese influences, there is a great range of inspiring pieces to choose from.

Source: C.P. Hart

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Many Adults Would Plan to Live Frugally if They Won the Lottery

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams? While it's easy to fantasize about what one would do with a lottery jackpot, a new survey reveals that many U.S. adults would continue to live normally if they won the lottery. In fact, 64 percent of U.S. adults said they would be extremely or very likely to continue to live frugally and 55 percent would still be extremely or very likely to use coupons. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from September 5th – 7th, 2012, among 2,570 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

In addition to frugal living and coupon use, hypothetical lottery winners said they would be extremely or very likely to maintain other cheap living habits, including:

• Shopping at dollar and/or discount stores – 53 percent
• Only buying items on sale – 51 percent
• Continuing to work at current job – 36 percent

Regardless of lottery-winning plans, nearly four-in-ten (37 percent) of U.S. adults buy lottery tickets at least sometimes, while 13 percent of buy them very often or often. Those in the Northeast (43 percent) are significantly more likely than those in the West (30 percent) and Midwest (35 percent) to buy lottery tickets at least sometimes.

Comparing gender, more males (42 percent) buy lottery tickets at least sometimes than females (32 percent). When it comes to age, significantly less U.S. adults ages 18-34 (28 percent) buy lottery tickets at least sometimes, than those ages 55 and up (41 percent).

When asked what they would do with the money if they won a large amount in the lottery, some U.S. adults took the practical route while others had more creative dreams. A random sampling of U.S. adults shared the following plans for if they won big lottery payout:

• Build a homeless shelter.
• Pay for medical procedures that my insurance won't cover.
• Establish a charitable foundation.
• Set up college funds for my children and grandchildren.
• Get a divorce.
• Get rid of my student debt.
• Find a job that I really want to do, rather than work at a place I can't stand just earn a paycheck.
• Endow a scholarship at my college.
• Buy my parents a home closer to me so I can take care of them.
• Donate 10 percent to my church.
• Makeover my home and hire a maid.
• Get prescriptions that I can't currently afford.
• Hire a hairdresser and masseuse daily and have a chauffeur.
• Take my family to Disney World.
• Open an orphanage.
• Buy a Steinway D Concert Grand piano.
• Pursue my dream job of teaching.
• Purchase a large RV and travel the country visiting family and friends, and camping and hiking with my spouse.
• Start my own business.
• Work for free for a non-profit.

Source: Coupon Cabin

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New Research Unveils Impact of Breakfast in the Classroom

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Most parents know that breakfast is important for their children, yet a significant number of children still aren't getting the breakfast they need each day and teachers are seeing the effects in the classroom.

In fact, new research reveals that more than three quarters (77%) of teachers have given food to a student they thought was hungry. This startling number reinforces that even though parents may think their kids are fine when they leave the house without eating, the effects of skipping breakfast kick-in an hour into the school day - leading teachers to take measures to cope.

Canada's Breakfast Report, a study of Canadian moms and teachers, shows big discrepancies between what parents think and say about breakfast and what teachers are seeing at school. Only 7% of moms claim that, they have let their children go to school at least once a week without eating breakfast. Conversely, teachers believe that number is actually four times higher (29%) based on the behavior of kids in the classroom. Critically, more than half of teachers (56%) believe poor grades can be related to children not eating the breakfast they should each day.

Though parents are struggling to overcome some barriers, experts say it's crucial that they make it a priority to get their children back to the breakfast table.

"Spending the time as a family to eat breakfast is like putting money in people's physical, mental and emotional banks," says developmental psychologist Dr. Tony Volk. "Not eating breakfast goes beyond the food itself - it can impact a child's ability to concentrate which affects their grades, behavior and ability to socialize."

The good news is that when children come to school after eating a balanced breakfast, teachers see encouraging results:

• 82% of teachers agree that breakfast improves a student's capacity to learn;
• 62% see an ability to retain learning;
• 69% say it improves a student's ability or willingness to interact with other students.

The report also shows that two-thirds (66%) of moms agree that ideas for making breakfast more fun could help their family eat breakfast more frequently. Moms cited a number of ways that breakfast could be more fun including; changing up routines, listening to music and trying new and fun foods.

Source: Nutella

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Protect a Home from Severe Weather with a Metal Roof

September 21, 2012 2:34 am

Hailstorms, hurricanes, heavy snow and wildfires can all cause extensive damage to a home. The roof takes the brunt of extreme weather, protecting everything and everyone from the elements. Choosing the right roofing product can mean the difference between a minor repair or a major problem. In the U.S., approximately 10 percent of homeowners now choose a metal roof when remodeling.

Metal roofing systems are designed to stand up to extreme weather conditions. In extreme cases, such as high wind conditions common in a wildfire, burning pine needles and debris can easily ignite a traditional asphalt roof. A metal roof may be the best protection one could get.

For homes in hurricane-prone areas, metal roofing's durability is a key factor to consider when re-roofing. Many metal roofing systems have a 120-mph wind rating and uplift resistance that exceeds new building code requirements. Metal roofing materials interlock, forming a protective barrier that other roofing materials do not provide. The interlocking system makes the roof stronger and more resistant to high winds.

In addition, naturally durable metal roofs are highly resistant to hail damage. Hail will not penetrate a metal roof. Metal roofing products have the highest impact resistance and hail rating granted by Underwriters' Laboratory (UL). Most metal roofing products earn a UL2218 Class 4 rating, meaning that a sample of the product did not crack when it hit twice in the same spot by a 2-inch steel ball, which would translate into a huge hailstorm.

If you are looking to buy a new roof for your home, you should at least consider the investment value in a metal roof. In fact, 61% of consumers who choose a metal roof cite durability as the top reason for their choice.

For more information, visit

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Is it Time to Buy a New Mattress? If So, What Kind Should You Buy?

September 20, 2012 2:32 am

Most mattresses should last up to 10 years. But it is time to buy a new one if: you wake up tired and achy, your mattress looks saggy or lumpy, or you find yourself sleeping better in hotels than in your own bed at home.

If any of these profiles fit, and you decide to buy a new mattress, what kind should you buy? That is a matter of comfort and personal choice.

Basically, there are four types to choose from:

Innerspring – Usually sold with a box spring, these conventional mattresses come with varying coil counts. Prices vary widely, as they are sold under various brands and store labels, but any number of coils over 390 in a queen size should be all you need.
Memory foam – Led primarily by Tempur-Pedic, these mattresses are a matter of opinion. Some testers call them ‘supportive and cushiony’ while others found they caused pressure, ‘like sleeping on hard or wet sand.’
Sleep number beds – led by Select Comfort, these mattresses are air-filled and allow you to set a different firmness for each half of the bed. Some testers said they would not buy the traditional model, but found the more expensive pillow-top model plush and comfortable.
Duxiana – Most testers found these more expensive mattresses, made with the springs in layers, quite comfortable. But many felt they are not worth the price.

What is important is that you try before you buy. They recommend spending at least 15 minutes in different sleep positions on each mattress you try out in the store.

Remember that price isn’t everything, and that firmness is a matter of personal choice.
When choosing a mattress, make sure you look for:

A sale or bargain on the mattress you like. It could save you up to 50%.
A comfort guarantee – Some retailers will give you several weeks–or even months–to return or exchange a mattress you don’t like.

And don't count on warranties. Typically good for 10 years, they cover defects in materials and workmanship, but they do not cover comfort.

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Ladder Dos and Don'ts for Fall Maintenance

September 20, 2012 2:32 am

With homeowners clambering up ladders to paint, clean gutters and perform other fall chores, the autumn months can be an especially dangerous time

Ladders play a big role in thousands of accidents around the home. A Consumer Reports analysis of data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission found more than 160 deaths and 170,000 injuries related to ladders in 2007, the latest year for which full data is available. And over the past five years, more than 500,000 ladders have been recalled "due to fall hazards."

The following dos and don’ts will help keep you safe while you are performing chores that involve the use of a ladder this season.

Inspection and maintenance
-Keep ladders clean and dry. Wipe the ladder off after each use to prevent deterioration.
Wear and tear can cause a ladder to fail. Check all types—aluminum, fiberglass and wood—for cracks, dents and missing components.
-Tighten reinforcing rods beneath steps and hinges, and check the lanyard on an extension ladder for deterioration.

Getting ready
-Set up your ladder on a firm, level surface. Use leg-levelers if necessary. Never stack objects, such as lumber or stones, beneath a ladder leg to level it.
-Lean a straight or extension ladder against a wall or other even, fixed object—never against a narrow tree or surface that cannot support both of the side rails.
-Set up an extension ladder with the base 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder reaches up- that's 3 feet at the base for a 12-foot ladder, or roughly a 75-degree angle.
-Use your stepladder only in the open, A-shaped position, never when folded. Make sure the spreaders are fully open and locked.
-Be sure that your extension ladder extends 3 feet beyond the roofline or work surface.
-When raising any extension ladder, be mindful of overhead power lines and other hazards.
-Before climbing, inspect the area where you'll be working for insect and bird nests. Check the area from below with a pair of binoculars.

Ups and downs
-Use the right ladder for the job. Always select a height that doesn't require you to reach up or out in a way that destabilizes the ladder; keep your belt buckle centered between the rails. Don't use a stepladder to get to the roof.
-When doing electrical work or working near an electrical power line, use only a wooden or fiberglass ladder. And remember that any ladder can conduct electricity when it's wet.
-Don't allow anybody else on the ladder with you.
-Climb and descend slowly, facing the ladder and holding the side rails with both hands (keep tools in a tool belt).
-Keep both feet on the ladder and center your weight between the rails at all times.
-Don't try to move the ladder when you're standing on it or try to "walk" it into a new position.
-Don't step above the labeled maximum height. Beyond that point, the odds of an accident increase significantly.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Moving Day Tips: How to Safely Transport Your Vehicle

September 20, 2012 2:32 am

For many families, a car is the second largest investment they have ever made. Getting that investment safely to a new home is an important component of a smooth move.

What are your options for transporting your vehicle?
A vehicle can be moved with your household goods or with a separate auto transport company. To ship your car most efficiently and cost-effectively, it’s important to know about the different shipping techniques, such as open and closed trailers. The model of the car, as well as the intended destination, will help determine the type of trailer you will need.

What is an open trailer?
An open trailer is the more popular and frequently used trailer. It carries anywhere from 10-12 vehicles at a time.
Advantage: Open trailers are less expensive than closed trailers. The cost is determined by the weight of the vehicle.
Disadvantage: Open trailers are subject to the elements (i.e. rain, snow, wind, dirt and dust).

What is a closed trailer?
A closed trailer is a vehicle that has a covered freight area. It is commonly used for shipping expensive or classic cars that need to be protected. If you wish to protect your car from wind-blown sand and heat, this is your best option.
Advantage: The car is well-protected from the elements of nature.
Disadvantage: Closed trailers cost more. Remember, the cost is determined by the weight of the vehicle.

Is my car insured? The company that transports your vehicle(s) should provide adequate insurance to protect against driver negligence. Ask for a copy of the “Certificate of Insurance” and familiarize yourself with the types of coverage provided. Consult with your current auto insurance agent to determine whether you need supplemental coverage.

Turning your vehicle over to the carrier.
Prior to handing over your car to a driver or transport company, be sure you receive an “Original Inspection Report.” This report provides: pick-up and delivery information, current mileage, and most importantly, shows the condition of your car at time of pick-up (pre-existing scratches and dents, cracked glass/mirrors, general paint condition, etc.).

Accepting your vehicle for delivery.
At the time of delivery, inspect your vehicle thoroughly and compare the condition and mileage against the “Original Inspection Report.” Many transport companies also provide a copy of this report at time of delivery. If there are discrepancies, note them as exceptions and be sure the driver signs it. Never accept your vehicle at night if you cannot verify the report condition and without being signed by the driver.

What’s in your trunk?
As of 1990, the Department of Transportation ruled that you may not load any items in a vehicle other than clothing. Auto transporters are not licensed to carry household goods or personal items. Damage to your vehicle due to household goods shifting or breaking is not covered by insurance.


Published with permission from RISMedia.

Hard vs. Soft Water - What Do They Really Mean?

September 19, 2012 2:30 am

In a nutshell, hard water, which to one extent or another is most of the water that flows through our neighborhood pipes, is water that contains an appreciative amount of dissolved minerals. Soft water is treated water in which the only ion is sodium.

As rainwater falls, it is naturally soft. But as it makes its way through the ground and into our waterways, it picks up minerals like chalk and lime and a lot of calcium and magnesium.

Hard water is to blame for dingy looking clothes, dishes with spots and residue, and bathtubs with lots of film and soap scum. Because soap is less effective in hard water, it takes more soap and more shampoo to achieve acceptable results, and even appliances will work harder and use more energy in the process.

Most consumers prefer using soft water because chores can be performed more efficiently. Lather is rich and bubbly even when using a minimal amount of soap or shampoo. Glasses will sparkle, hair will look healthier, and the shower curtain will be scum-free.

Soft water users will also save money. In addition to saving on detergents and soaps, appliances have to work less hard, prolonging their productive lives, and energy bills are noticeably lower in households with soft water systems.

There is a downside to soft water in that it is not as healthy to drink. In the softening process, as minerals are removed, sodium content increases. Soft water not only tastes salty, but research shows the risk of cardiovascular disease is lowest where water has the most mineral content.

But the conundrum may be easily solved. Consumers may enjoy all the benefits of softened water while safeguarding their health by bringing bottled water into the home for drinking purposes – or by installing a reverse osmosis system, which may be installed under the kitchen sink for less than $500.

If you are on a municipal water system, the water supplier can tell you the hardness level of the water they deliver. If you have a private water supply, you can have the water tested for hardness. They can also help you evaluate the significance of the test results, so that you can make an informed decision about how – and where – to opt for softened water.

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Consumers Defer Back to School Shopping in Favor of Purchases for the Home

September 19, 2012 2:30 am

While U.S. consumers shopped this July and August, they were not buying clothes and notebooks for their children but rather items for the home. According to findings from IBM, the biggest retail gains this back to school shopping season came from home goods purchases which increased 30 percent in July and more than 25 percent in August over their respective months in 2012.

While experts speculate that consumers were holding off on back to school purchases to eye the choices of their peers, social networks appeared to drive purchases with social sales increasing 69.7 percent. The social influence was especially apparent when it came to apparel, where shoppers referred to online stores through social networks generated a 2.2 percent of all sales in August, an increase of more than 113 percent over 2011.

Mobile commerce also continued to grow with sales increasing 15.7 percent in July and 15.4 percent in August. For home goods mobile sales reached a high of 20.1 percent.

"Back-to-school season is proving to be a trigger event that spans across categories beyond just notebooks and backpacks. Retailers that are cashing in are those who understand how this trigger drives sales for home furnishings, as well as for apparel, and can target their inventory levels and promotions accordingly," said Jill Puleri, Global Retail Leader, IBM. "This year's winners were the companies that successfully connected consumers with the right products, at the right price, and through the right medium–whether in a store, a mobile device or through popular social media channels."

The following back to school trends that were found are:

• July and August Online Sales: Overall sales for July increased more than 11 percent over July 2011 while August slowed with sales up 3.9 percent compared to last year.
• Social commerce: In July, shopper referrals to retailer sites from social networks generated 1.6 percent of all sales, an increase of 25.1 percent over last year. This trend continued in August reaching 1.8 percent, an increase of 69.7 percent over the previous year.
• Mobile commerce: Mobile commerce remains strong with sales from mobile devices reaching 15.7 percent in July and 15.4 percent over the month of August.

For more information:

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Scientists Conclude High Fructose Corn Syrup Should Not be Blamed for Obesity

September 19, 2012 2:30 am

A new article published in International Journal of Obesity found there is no evidence to suggest the current obesity epidemic in the United States can be specifically blamed on consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The commentary concludes that after an extensive review of all available HFCS research, there is overwhelming evidence showing HFCS is nutritionally equivalent to sugar. This opinion is in-line with the American Medical Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, both of which concluded that HFCS is not a unique cause of obesity.

The authors state that while there has been a large amount of debate in the media about the impact of HFCS on obesity levels, the fact is "Sucrose (sugar) and HFCS are very similar in composition....and are absorbed identically in the human GI tract."

"The public discussion about HFCS will likely continue to rage on and more studies will be conducted," said James M. Rippe, M.D., Founder and Director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute, and Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida, one of the article's authors. "However, at this point there is simply no evidence to suggest that the use of HFCS alone is directly responsible for increased obesity rates or other health concerns."

The article goes on to discuss a number of research trials that have been conducted on the issue of HFCS and obesity, and concludes that at this time the evidence shows no short-term health differences between the use of HFCS or sugar could be detected in humans. Weight gain, glucose levels, insulin and appetite were not adversely affected by the use of HFCS over sugar.

To read the article in full, visit:

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