8 Ways to Beat the Heat During the Summer Without Air Conditioning

The summer is meant for carefree days, kicking back and relaxing, and just enjoying the simpler things in life. There’s just one problem: the heat. Blistering temperatures are hard on our physical and mental health and can leave you feeling tired, worn out, and just plain crabby. Sure, air conditioning is a guaranteed way to cool down, but constantly running your AC can make utility bills skyrocket; plus, it can be damaging to the environment. And, what if you don’t have an air conditioner? Fortunately, you don’t have to let scorching hot weather get you down. Here’s a look at eight simple ways that you can beat the heat and stay cool all summer long without relying on an AC. 

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1. Kick it Poolside.

Hitting the pool is probably the easiest way to stay cool. If you’re lucky enough to have one, maximize the time you spend splashing around. If you don’t have a pool, hit up friends or family members who do to see if they’d be willing to share their watering hole. You could also look into public pools in your area, or see about getting a membership to a private club that offers a pool as an amenity. If none of these options will work for you, invest in a small pool. There are dozens of inflatable options available that come in a variety of shapes and sizes; some that are similar to traditional above ground pools. However, you don’t need to get a big inflatable pool to keep cool; lounging in a small kiddie pool would do the trick, too. 

2. Use the Power of Fans.

While they may not have the same cooling power as an air conditioner, fans can certainly help to keep things cool when the mercury starts to rise; especially if they’re strategically placed. For instance, putting box fans in open windows so that they’re facing out rather than in. The blades will draw out the heat and humidity and the temperature inside a lot more comfortable. If you have ceiling fans, change the direction so that the blades run counter-clockwise on a high setting for optimal cooling results.

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3. Drink Plenty of H2O.

It’s no secret that staying properly hydrated is vital to your health all year long, but it’s even more important when the temperatures start to rise. As you sweat, your body loses vital fluids, so replacing them is imperative, otherwise you could end up dehydrated, an extremely hazardous health complication that, in severe situations, could warrant hospitalization. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to stick to the 8 by 8 rule of hydration: drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. To up the cooling factor, make sure it’s icy cold.

4. Keep the Oven Use to a Minimum.

Instead the oven, use other methods to cook. Even when used on the lowest setting, an oven can significantly increase indoor temps. Summer is the perfect time for cookouts, so plan on having lots of barbecues. There are so many things that you can cook on a grill besides the standard burgers and hot dogs. Veggies and fruits, fish, hobo foil packets (a collection of meats, veggies, cheeses, sauces – anything you can think of – wrapped up in tin foil and cooked over an open flame). You can even purchase a grill with a side burner to whip up sautéed foods and boil pots of water for pastas or corn-on-the-cob.

5. Eat Chilled Foods.

Nix the hot cooking all together and opt for a menu of chilled foods instead. There are a variety of chilled salads you can make, include an assortment of pasta salads, fruit salads, bean salads, and of course, tossed salads. Chilled soups are perfect for hot summer days; the classic gazpacho is a great choice, but you can also make chilled soups that feature corn, cucumber, or even pureed peaches.  These chilled meals are easy to make, filling, and refreshing.

6. Keep Cool While You’re Sleeping.

There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep in oppressive heat and humidity, and when you finally do fall asleep, waking up in a puddle of sweat. To ensure a comfortable sleep environment, try to sleep on top of a damp sheet or with a damp cloth around the back of your neck. If you’re using the sheet method, simply soak a sheet with cold water, wring it out, and place it on your bed (make sure to put a mattress protector on first). Use the same strategy for a cloth, but place it around your neck before you turn in for the night. To maximize the cooling powers, point a fan on high speed directly at your bed.

7. Take Advantage of Your Cooling Points.

When the temperatures start to rise, use your body’s cooling points and take advantage of them. Locations include around the back of your neck, your wrists, in the crook of your elbow, behind your knees, and your forehead. Use manufactured ice packs or make your own by filling baggies with ice cubes and apply them to these cooling points. Alternatively, you could freeze washcloths and place them on these spots. You’ll notice an instant difference in your comfort level when you use this strategy.

8. Seek Out Shade.

The last – and probably the easiest and most affordable ways to beat the heat is by simply seeking out shade. Temperatures are substantially cooler in the shade than they are in the direct sunlight. When you’re outside, stay in the shade as often as possible. Seek a shady spot underneath a tree, set up a large umbrella, or if you’re moving about in bright and sunny locations, use a hand-held umbrella to cast shade over yourself while you’re walking. Just by staying in the shade, you’ll be a lot more comfortable than you would be in the direct sunlight.

 

Summing It Up

Who says air conditioning is the only way you can stay cool? When the temperatures heat up, the above-mentioned strategies can do a fantastic job of keeping you comfortable. Use a combinations of these tips and you’ll stay cool all summer long. 

8 Tips for Setting Up a TV/Home Entertainment Center

You’ve just brand new TV with incredible graphics and an image quality that makes it look as if what you’re seeing on the screen is real life. It has an awesome sound system, too. But when you get it home, it seems a bit lackluster compared to the experience it delivered at the store. While the graphics and sound quality are still just as good, the TV seems to get lost in your living room, family room, media room, or wherever you plan on using it. 

Fortunately, with a few simple tips, you can turn your TV into a home entertainment center that will pack a powerful punch and really blow you away. Here’s a look at eight ways that you can create a killer home entertainment setup that will be sure to impress. 

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1. Choose Comfy Seats.

Today’s modern movie theaters are equipped with super comfy seats. They’re plush, they lounge, and they have built-in cup holders; just to name a few features. To recreate that theater experience, you’ll definitely want to bring comfortable seating into your TV or home entertainment room. If you have the space, oversized individual recliners would be a great choice. If you’re short on space, an oversized couch with built-in recliners would be a great choice. There is no right or wrong seating; comfort is the key, so choose anything that you’ll feel comfortable in. 

2. Find the Perfect Location.

Engineers and designers have put a lot of effort into figuring out the perfect viewing distance for watching the most technologically advanced TVs, and it involves some pretty simple mathematics. Measures the screen diagonally and multiple that measurement by 1.5 to 2.5. The product of the two numbers is the distance that you should place couches, recliners, chairs, or other optimal seating choices to create the perfect viewing area. Watching the TV from this distance will allow you to get the maximum experience.

3. Make Way for a Subwoofer.

You know when you’re at the movies and you can literally feel the sound rumbling through you? That effect is due to a subwoofer, so if you want to create a real theater-like experience in your home, you should definitely consider adding one of these bad boys, as it’s specifically designed to generate only bass. It’s important to note, however, that you should clear space for this speaker, as it’s going to create some vibrations. Instead of placing it in a cabinet, where it will create an unnerving rattle instead a pleasing rumble, plan to put it on the floor. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that there is enough room around the subwoofer so that it doesn’t rattle anything else. That means not placing it directly up against a wall or near furnishings. To get maximum enjoyment out of this feature, it should really stand alone.

4. Add Dedicated Speakers.

While most of the TVs that are manufactured today put out pretty decent sound, if you really want to create that theater experience, adding dedicated speakers is an absolute must. If the room has a lot of square footage, you can use multiple speakers; however, if it’s on the small size, opt for a sound bar instead, as it features several smaller speakers into one low-profile horizontal setup. Some of them are so low-profile that they can fit right underneath the TV screen. By adding dedicated speakers to your new TV, you’ll really be able to create that cinematic experience that you’re longing for.

5. Use Shelves to Store Speakers.

A key feature of a top-quality home theater is a killer audio setup, and that means separating the audio; in other words, arranging the speakers so that it sounds like the speech, music, sound effects, and other audio elements are coming from different locations; footsteps sound like they’re coming from behind you, rumbling thunder seems to be coming from in front of you, etc. While you could create this effect with a set of large speakers positioned on the floor, for even better results, use several smaller speakers placed strategically throughout the room; one on a shelf on the right side of the room, one on the left side of the room, one in the back of the room and one in the front.

6. Take Control of Ambient Lighting.

Just like any other room in your home, lighting is an important element in media/entertainment room. Thoughtfully place lighting fixtures so that they aren’t glaring off of the TV screen. If light from the windows shines into the room and onto the TV, install room-darkening curtains that will block out the light. The goal here is to prevent reflections and shadows on the screen.

7. Take Control of the Ambient Noise, Too.

In addition to the ambient lighting, you’ll also want to control the ambient noise in the room. The reason? Just like light casting shadows and reflections on the screen can mar your viewing experience, so can obtrusive sounds. With that said, soundproofing the room as much as possible is highly recommended. If the room has a door, make sure that it’s solid, not hollow. Sounds travel through hollow doors, and those sounds can be really distracting. Add some soundproofing elements to the wall, too; soundproof tiles are the easiest option, as they are easy to install and fairly inexpensive. If noises travel through the windows, cover them with soundproofing curtains; specialized window treatments that are much thicker than standard treatments and can effectively block out a large degree of unwanted noise.

8. Add the Finishing Touches.

To finish things off and bring that theater experience to life, you’ll want to add in some finishing touches with decorative accents. While you can certainly decorate the room any way you see fit, some great ideas include displaying frames replicas of posters from your favorite flicks, clapboards, an old-fashioned (and functioning) popcorn maker, and other similar elements that call to mind the cinema.

 

Final Thoughts

With proper planning and a few key elements, you can create an awesome setup that will be sure to keep you, your family, and your friends entertained for hours on end.

8 Enjoyable Outdoor Activities to Start Enjoying Right Now

Nowadays, everyone seems to live a super hectic lifestyle. Between work, personal relationships, raising a family, taking care of a house; it just seems like there is always something to do. When you do have time to unwind, you probably do what most people do; turn on the TV and start flipping through the channels, grab your phone and start scrolling through your newsfeed, or flip on a video game and get lost in a fantasy world.

While technology does have its benefits, frequent use has been found to be detrimental for people of all ages. For children, it can impede their mental development and for adults and children alike, it can impede socialization and lead to depression and anxiety. 

There’s a much healthier way to enjoy your free time and get some much-needed relaxation. How? – By heading outdoors! Being immersed in Mother Nature offers so many benefits; you get to absorb vitamin D, breathe in fresh air, get some exercise, and just unplug from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. Spending more time outside can improve your physique, can help you get more restful sleep, and just make you feel happier and more balanced. 

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Looking for some fun activities to do outside? Here are eight enjoyable activities that you should definitely try.

1. Give Geocaching a Whirl.

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt that people from around the globe participate in. It’s fun, exciting, and a great way to get in some time outside. You just need a handheld GPS device (such as your smartphone) and some coordinates to a location where treasures are hidden; there are dozens of sites where you can find coordinates, such as www.geocaching.com. Using your GPS, you’ll search for a collection of treasures tucked away in some type of container, and when you find it, you get to take one and you’ll leave behind a small token of your own for the next treasure hunter to find. Just make sure that you leave the geocache the way you found it and don’t disturb the surrounding area; the goal is to leave the setting exactly like you found it. 

2. Go on a Hike.

Find a trail or make your own and go on a hike. It doesn’t have to be challenging; as long as it involves walking through nature. Prepare ahead of time by wearing comfortable shoes and clothing that’s appropriate for the weather, and take along water so you can stay hydrated and a healthy snack, too. Whether it’s through the woods, along a mountain trial, or on the beach, be sure to take in the beauty that surrounds you so you can gain a real appreciation of Mother Nature and all of her splendor.

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3. Canoe, Kayak, or Paddleboard.

There’s something so peaceful and relaxing about water; especially when you’re paddling along at your own pace. Head to a lake, a slow-flowing river, or another calm body of water and hop on board a canoe, a kayak, or a paddleboard. If you’re feeling more daring, you could also give more active waterways a go, such as a sound or a bay. These water-based activities are a great way to get in some exercise, soak up the sun, and just unplug from your regular routine. If you’re new to the experience, you might want to consider going along with a guide, who will be able to teach you the ropes and give you some pointers so that you can feel comfortable doing these outdoor activities on your own.

4. Go for a Dip.

Floating along the water is a super fun way to enjoy being outdoors, and so is actually being immersed in the water. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area that’s near a natural body of water – the ocean, a bay, a lake, a river, or a sound, for example – take advantage by diving in. If you don’t live near a natural water source, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy swimming; have a pool installed in your backyard (if you can), purchase an inflatable pool, or join an outdoor community or private swimming pool. Whether you’re doing laps or just splashing around, going for a dip is an excellent way to get outdoors and have some fun.

5. Make a Fun Outdoor Game.

Head out in your yard or any other open area and play some outdoor games. Recruit your family or some pals for a game of Frisbee, catch, tennis, or flag football. You could even get creative and makeup your own outdoor game, as long as it’s fun and gets you active.

6. Go for a Bike Ride.

Remember how much you loved riding your bike when you were a kid? The sense of freedom and the adventures that you’d go on? Well, it’s just as fun as an adult! Grab a bike, strap on a helmet, and ride around! You can ride around your neighborhood, head through town, or even pack up your bike and head to another location, such as a trail, and see what nature has to offer. Before you go, make sure your tired are properly inflated, the chain is oiled up, and that the seat is set to an appropriate height. You’ll want to bring along some water, too, so you can stay hydrated.

7. Fly a Kite.

Purchase a kite or if you’re feeling creative, try your hand at making your own. When the wind is just right, head outside and let it take flight. You’ll marvel at the colors and the tail as it soars above you; you’ll also get in a good cardiovascular workout as you run to get your kite to take off.

8. Do Some Gardening.

Gardening is a fun and fruitful activity. If it’s a flower garden, you’ll enjoy the fruit of your labors as you appreciate the beauty of the blooms, and if it’s a fruit or veggie garden, you’ll get to harvest your crops and enjoy the satisfaction of eating delicious and nutritious food that you’ve sown yourself.

Final Thoughts

There’s no better way to kick back, relax, and get some much-needed downtime than by heading out into the great outdoors. Give any – or all – of these activities a try and you’ll have a newfound appreciation of nature. 

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Neat and Tidy

Keeping a clean house is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it make you feel better about your surroundings, but it also creates a healthier living environment, reduces stress levels, and can even save you time (no more scrambling to find that paperwork, your keys, that missing shoe… you get the idea). 

Despite all the benefits of a clean house – and despite your desire to do so – keeping your home neat and tidy might seem like an insurmountable task, especially if you have children or you just lead a busy lifestyle. At the end of a long, hard day, you’re just too exhausted to straighten up and keeping putting off the cleaning until finally, the clutter has piled up so high that you don’t even know where to begin. 

Cleaning your house doesn’t have to be a big, complex ordeal that requires a full day – or even a weekend – to get done. By making some adjustments and adding a few new habits to your routine, you’ll be able to keep your house neat, tidy, and in order.

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1. Put Things Away Immediately After Use.

As the saying goes, “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Don’t let things pile up until later, because when later finally does arrive, that pile is going to be massive and you won’t know how to approach it. Instead, get in the habit of putting things away immediately after you use them. For example, when you pull out a blanket to cover up while watching TV on a chilly night, fold it and put it away right after you’ve finished using it. When you come in the house, instead of haphazardly kicking off your shoes, put them where they belong (in a closet, a shoe organizer, a bin, or wherever it is that you might keep them), and rather than leaving dishes in the sink, wash them as soon as you’re done eating or drinking. This change of habit is super easy to incorporate into your everyday routine, and it will make a huge difference in the overall cleanliness of your home. 

2. Focus on One Room at a Time.

Ever notice how overwhelming any project seems when you stand back and look at the big picture? There’s too much to process and you don’t know where to begin, which can end up making you feel like a chicken without a head as you scramble about trying to juggle various aspects of the task at the same time. That’s certainly the case when it comes to cleaning. If you think about your entire house at one time, keeping things clean will end up being pretty hard. Instead of running around in circles, focus on one room at a time. Choose a starting point: the bathroom, for example, and focus only on cleaning that space until it’s completely cleaned. Then move onto the next room. Use the same method for your entire house until every room is clean and you’ll have a much easier time keeping things tidy.

3. Clean as you go.

Cleaning as you go is a surefire way to keep your home in order; plus, it will help to keep surfaces more sanitary. When you’re cooking, for example, wipe down the countertops after every slice, dice, and pour, and clean each dish after your finished using it. In the bathroom, wipe down the countertops as soon as you’re finished brushing your teeth, doing your hair, shaving, or applying your makeup. Sweep, mop, or wipe up any spills on the floors as soon as they happen. When you’re deciding what to wear for the day, put away any garments or accessories that you’ve decided not to wear right away. 

4. Sort Through and Put Away Mail.

Piles of mail on countertops, tables, desks, or any other surface can make things look super untidy and unkempt. While it might be easier to just toss that pile of envelopes, magazines, circulars, and anything else that comes in the mail to the side, avoid the temptation. Adopt the habit of sorting through your mail as soon as you pick it up. Put any important items – bills and documents – in a dedicated location, and then divide up the rest of the mail: create a pile of things that you’ll use, such as magazines or coupon booklets, and a pile of things that can be recycled; junk mail, for example. Make sure to put those items that you’re going to keep in a space where they belong and either shred or put the things you’re going to toss into a recycling bin. 

5. Put Down Doormats.

Every time someone steps foot into your house, dirt and debris from their shoes gets dragged across your floors. To minimize the amount of dirt and keep your floors looking tidy, put down doormats at the exterior and interior of each door that leads into your home. You, your family, and any guests will be able to wipe off their feet before they entire. 

6. Enact a “No Shoe” Policy.

In addition to doormats, enact a “no shoe” policy. As soon as anyone enters your home, make sure they take off their shoes and leave them in a designated location; a basket or bin next to the door, for example. While doormats will certainly reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into your house, completely removing shoes will keep your floors in even better condition. 

7. Make the Beds Daily.

Making your bed is the best way to start the day. This habit will keep bedrooms a lot neater looking, not to mention, pulling down the blankets, slipping into straightened and tucked in sheets, and lying your head on a puffed pillow will get you started on the right foot for a restful night of sleep. 

Final Thoughts

By adapting these seven simple steps into  your routine, you’ll find that keeping your house neat and clean will be a whole lot easier, and your life will be a lot less stressful. Plus, you’ll feel prouder of your home.

6 Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy

Like most people, you probably live a pretty hectic lifestyle. Your schedule is constantly full and you’re bouncing from place to place. Trying to juggle it all can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and super stressed. These feelings can lead to sleep problems, tension headaches, mood swings, and even depression. A jam-packed schedule can also make it really difficult to stay in shape. As you run from activity to activity, instead of nutritious home-cooked meals, you find yourself at the drive-thru or grabbing a quick to-go meal more often than you’d like. And at the end of the day, you’re so exhausted that you barely have the energy to keep your eyes open, let alone workout. 

When health and fitness take a back-burner, those unpleasant feelings (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.) can be further compounded. There’s a good chance that your waistline will start to grow, and even worse, you could start developing other health problems, such as high cholesterol, gastrointestinal issues (ulcer, anyone?), and cardiovascular issues. 

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So, what’s the solution to keep all of these issues at bay? Make fitness and health a top priority. If you’re thinking that your schedule is too busy to make being active and eating right possible, think again! Here are six simple tips that you can use to prioritize your health and improve your overall physical and mental well-being. 

1. Take the Stairs.

Instead of taking the elevator to your office, apartment, or a higher level floor in any other building, take the stairs instead. Climbing and descending stairs is actually a great way to get in some cardio, but believe it or not, it may actually be faster than taking the elevator too. Why? – Because instead of standing around and waiting for the elevator to arrive, you’ll already be on your way to your destination; add to that the fact that you won’t have to make multiple stops before you reach your floor and you’ll be sure to get to where you’re going a lot faster. 

2. Do a Cleanse.

Once in a while, do a cleanse. It’s a great way to expel the toxins that have built up inside your body. You don’t have to commit to an intense cleanse, such as one that only allows you to drink certain types of juices over a week or two; instead, opt for an easier way to expel those toxins. For example, take a few days off from eating red meat, drink a cup of chamomile tea before bed (it will help to break down the last meal you ate and soothe you to sleep), add some spices to your food (cumin, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric, for instance), and add some more cacao to your diet (at least 80% dark chocolate). These simple chances will help to rid your body of toxic buildup, which will improve your health substantially and make you feel a lot better, too.

3. Don’t Take the Closest Parking Spot.

It’s kind of an instinct to want to take the closest parking spot; in fact, a lot of people circle around parking lots waiting until a spot close to the main entrance of the store, apartment complex, office space, etc. opens up. Not only are you wasting time (which is a really valuable commodity), but you’re also doing a disservice to your health. Instead, park far away from the entrance to whatever building it is that you’re going to. First, you’ll have a much easier time finding a spot; second, you’ll save time (you’ll probably get to where you’re going before that close parking spot even opens up), and third, you’ll get in some exercise as you walk from your car to the entrance and back again. Don’t let inclement weather deter you from taking a far parking spot; keep an umbrella stashed in your car so you can take cover – and get exercise – when it’s raining. 

4. Meal Prep.

When you’re constantly on the go, preparing a home cooked meal is the last thing you feel like doing, so instead, you find yourself waiting on line at the drive thru or heating up a calorie- and fat-laden manufactured, pre-packaged meal. Sure, every once in a while, it’s OK, but when it becomes a regular habit, it becomes problematic. To ensure that you have access to wholesome, delicious, and nutritious food, take the time to meal prep. It might sound hard to do (your schedule is super busy, after all,) but really, it isn’t. Plan out a menu in advance (you can find great ideas that are already laid out for you and all you need to do is print them out), purchase the ingredients, and set aside some time over the weekend – or whenever you have some downtime – to prepare your meals for the week ahead of time. Portion out the meals into labeled containers, tuck them into the fridge or freezer, and voila! – you have healthy meals to go! Just pull out a container, pack it for lunch or heat it up for dinner. 

5. Snack Wisely.

Grabbing a bag of potato chips, cookies, or some other type of unhealthy snack selection is really tempting when between meal hunger pangs set in, but avoid the temptation. Instead, opt for healthier snacks; raw veggies and hummus, pretzels, nuts, raisins, trail mix, fresh fruit; there are so many different types of wholesome snacks to choose from. Not only are these snack foods better for you, but they’re also packed with essential vitamins and nutrients and are much lower in fat and calories. 

6. Get a Good Night Sleep.

Lastly, you’ll want to make every effort to get a good night of sleep. Sleep is imperative for your overall health and well-being, but unfortunately, like so many, you may not be getting enough sleep, and whatever you are getting may not be restorative. Set a timer to remind yourself when it’s time to start turning in (about 8 hours before you need to wake up), turn off the electronics, keep your bedroom cool, and keep the lighting low. You can diffuse a calming essential oil, such as lavender, in your bedroom, too.

Summing It Up

With these six simple tips, you’ll find yourself on a much better path to a healthier, fitter, and happier lifestyle.

7 Must-Have Items to Make Home Repairs Easier

Home repairs can be difficult to make, but with the right tools, everyone can put down the phone and not have to call repairman. These seven tools will be able to cover most home repairs, including items such as the Spectro Seal UV light glue pen, duct tape and hand tools.

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1. Duct Tape

Duct tape is a versatile tool every person should have in their home. You can do everything with duct tape, from patching holes to fixing leaks, holding pipes together, patching a hose, and removing lint (and that’s just the start).

Homeowners can also use duct tape to:

  • Fix holes in window or door screens
  • Hold shoes together
  • Patch broken glass
  • Stop furniture from scratching the floor

WD-40 is also a good buy at this time because it is a must-have lubricant. Spray noisy door hinges or spray it on a stuck bolt to try and loosen it for removal.

2. Spectro Seal

The Spectro Seal UV glue pen is a two-in-one device that allows homeowners to have a handy light available to find cracks and also acts as a glue gun.

Glue is very versatile and can help fix cracks in drawers or mend other items like furniture or baseboards.

A strong adhesive, there are hundreds of Spectro Seal reviews that show this glue is as strong as dental glue. It’s great to also use other forms of glue around the home, including wood glue and crazy glue.

Strong adhesives can help fix numerous items in the home. A split cabinet drawer, for example, can be mended with an ample amount of glue and pressure.

3. Manual Screwdrivers

Manual tools always have a place in a home. Screwdrivers are definitely something to have around the house because they can be used for:

  • Furniture
  • Doors
  • Door hardware
  • Cabinet handles
  • Drawers
  • Fan blades
  • Heating vents, and so much more. 

There will be a need for all screwdriver types, including flathead, Phillip’s Head, short and long screwdrivers and tiny screwdrivers. When in doubt, a multitool will be equally as valuable, allowing for tools that are versatile and may have interchangeable heads that can be used for other fasteners.

Purchase a few different sizes of each screwdriver type.

4. Utility Knife

The utility knife is often underrated and is left off of must-have lists. But this is one item every toolbox needs because the need for a knife will always arise. Precision cuts and scoring are best suited for the utility knife.

When performing work around a home, there are many times when a utility knife can make the process easier. A few of the many times a utility knife is needed includes:

  • Cutting drywall
  • Roof shingle trimming
  • Fiberglass insulation cutting
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Remove nails
  • Cut through sheeting
  • Remove grout
  • Remove dried caulk
  • Cut up carpeting

One or two utility knives is all that a person needs to have. A few blade replacements should also be available to ensure a sharp blade is available for every cutting need. It’s important to take severe safety precautions to reduce the risk of getting cut.

5. Pliers and Wrenches

Pliers and wrenches are often sold in pairs, and they’re one of the manual tools people may need on occasion when major home repairs are needed. A small crack in a pipe may be fixed with Spectro Seal, but there are times when small repairs are not possible.

In plumbing, for example, there may be times when a leak is too large to patch.

A drainpipe underneath the sink is a prime example. The pipe can be removed and replaced using the right wrenches. Wrenches are best suited for tightening loose nuts and fasteners, although a plier can be used.

Pliers are better used when trying to shape an item, such as bending metal or folding it over.

It’s important to have the right size available for the job, too. There are three main types of pliers that should be part of every toolbox:

  • Slip joint plier
  • Locking plier
  • Tongue-and-groove

Additional pliers do exist and should be acquired over the years to build up a toolbox with the appropriate tools for every job.

6. Nail Gun

A nail gun is a purchase a lot of homeowners mull over because it’s expensive. But there are a lot of uses for a nail gun. There are nail guns for:

  • Framing
  • Flooring
  • Siding
  • Roofing
  • Finishing,
  • More

It’s impractical to purchase all these different nail guns. The goal is to have two of the more versatile nail guns. Framing and brad nailers are usually good options because they offer the utmost in versatility.

It’s possible to perform a lot of tasks with a nail gun:

  • Trim
  • Baseboard
  • Decking

When the need arises to use nails, a nail gun will reduce the manual labor required with a hammer. Nail guns reduce the need for a hammer and require much less force. Simply place the head of the nail gun on the surface, pull the trigger and fasten.

7. Vise Grips

Vise grips are a type of plier, and one that is so useful that it requires its own section. The vise grip can be used to remove nuts and bolts, but they’re better suited to be used for difficult moments where other tools fail.

For example, it may be wise to use vise grips in times of difficulty:

  • Broken screws
  • Frozen nut
  • Stripped screws
  • Clamp items together

When items need to be fastened into place, it wouldn’t make sense to use Spectro Seal or other strong adhesives because they only provide a temporary hold. Vise grips can be used to clamp small items in place.

Since these pliers can lock into position, they’re far more useful than other plier types.

Home repairs can be costly, and while the initial investment in tools may seem high, making repairs without needing to call in a professional can lead to much greater savings over the long-term.

It’s also nice to have tools that can be used for everything from mechanical work on an auto to fixing a pipe underneath the sink.

8 Tips for Sanitizing Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, but it’s also one of the dirtiest places in your home. Bacteria and germs from food and family activity can put your and your family’s health at risk. To yourself cool and stop sweating this summer, try the Blaux Portable AC: https://www.jotform.com/LegitReviews/blaux-portable-ac-review. Here are eight tips for cleaning and sanitizing your home’s kitchen.

1. Don’t Forget to Disinfect the Sink

Did you know that your kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest places in your house? Think about it – you wash raw meats, produce and dirty dishes in your sink on a regular basis. 

It’s easy to assume that your sink is clean because you’re constantly spraying it down with water, but unless you’re disinfecting the sink, it’s a breeding ground for germs.

In fact, there can be up to 500,000 bacteria (per square inch) swimming in your kitchen sink drain alone. 

Sanitizing your sink once or twice a week can help keep these germs at bay. 

  • Stop up your sink and fill it to the top with hot water. 
  • Put on a pair of rubber cleaning gloves.
  • Add 1 tbsp. of bleach for each gallon of water your sink holds.
  • Swish the bleach/water solution around, and allow it to sit for five minutes.
  • With your gloves on, remove the stopper from the sink and allow the solution to run down the drain. This will kill the germs in your drain, too.
  • Allow the sink to air dry.

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2. Clean Cutting Boards That Touch Raw Meat Immediately

When you’re preparing food, it’s easy to just toss your cutting board into the sink and wash it later. But allowing the cutting board to sit there, unwashed, gives bacteria a chance to grow and spread. If it’s sitting in the sink, germs can make their way into your sink, too.

To prevent this from happening, clean your cutting boards immediately after use, especially if you’re working with raw meat. 

Cleaning your cutting boards right away will help kill germs before they have a chance to spread. 

  • Wash with hot soapy water, and then follow up by sanitizing with a diluted bleach mixture (1 tbsp. of bleach per 1 gallon of water), OR
  • Wash in the dishwasher on the hottest setting.

Keep in mind that improper cleaning of cutting boards can cause cross-contamination between surfaces and foods. For best practices, have a designated cutting board for raw meats and a separate one for vegetables and other foods. 

Plastic cutting boards are often the better choice for meats because they can be washed in the dishwasher and can withstand bleach sanitizing solutions.

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3. Use a Diluted Bleach Solution to Disinfect Countertops

Countertops also harbor germs and bacteria from leftover bits of food and family activity in the kitchen. Wiping down your countertops with warm soapy water daily is a good start, but disinfecting once or twice a week will help kill more germs.

Spray your counters with a diluted bleach solution (1 tbsp. of bleach per 1 gallon of water). Allow the solution to sit and air dry. This will kill most household germs.

Just make sure that it’s suitable to use a bleach solution on your countertops.

4. Sterilize Your Sponge

If sinks are the #1 source of germs in a kitchen, then sponges come in a close second. Each time you wipe down your counters, dishes or other surfaces with a sponge, it picks up dirt, debris and germs. If you don’t properly sterilize your sponge, you’re transferring bacteria to every surface you touch with that sponge.

Here’s the good news: sterilizing sponges is quick and easy. All you need is a microwave. One study found that microwaving a sponge for two minutes at full power killed more than 99% of germs and bacteria.

Here’s how to sterilize regular cellulose kitchen sponges: 

  • Wet the sponge thoroughly. Never place a dry sponge in the microwave because it can catch fire. Always run your sponge under water before placing it in the microwave.
  • Do not microwave any sponges that contain metal or steel material.
  • Microwave for just two minutes.
  • Allow the sponge to cool before removing it. It will be very hot at first, so give it some time to cool down before touching it.

It’s best to microwave your sponge every other day to keep bacteria from growing.

5. Use Disposable Gloves to Clean and Prepare Food

Disposable gloves are an effective, inexpensive tool that can help protect you from germs. Make sure that you use latex-free gloves.

Gloves are great for:

  • Handling raw meat, seafood and poultry
  • Handling raw eggs
  • Handling spicy peppers 
  • Protecting your hands when doing the dishes and taking out the trash

6. Clean Spills Promptly

Spills happen. Whether it’s on the countertop, floor, microwave or inside the fridge, it’s important to clean them up quickly. 

Use a clean paper towel and warm soapy water to quickly wipe up spills before bacteria has a chance to grow. 

7. Wash Your Hands Before and After Sanitizing

Your hands can also spread germs and bacteria in your kitchen. That’s why it’s important to wash your hands before and after sanitizing. 

Use warm soapy water and wash for at least 20 seconds each time. Dry your hands thoroughly with a fresh paper towel and dispose of the paper towel right away.

8. Use Disinfecting Wipes

If you don’t have any bleach on hand or prefer not to have any in your home, you can use disinfecting wipes instead. 

Wipes are great for cleaning countertops and other surfaces quickly and easily. Just pull out a wipe, clean whatever surface you want, and toss the cloth in the trash.

Disinfecting wipes are great for cleaning dirty areas of your home that are often overlooked, like:

  • Faucet handles
  • Tables
  • Cabinets
  • Doorknobs
  • Stoves
  • Refrigerator door handles
  • Sinks
  • Exterior appliances
  • Countertops  

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to put off sanitizing your kitchen, especially when it already looks perfectly clean. But taking the time out to disinfect this important area of your home will help keep your family safe and healthy while preventing the spread of germs.

7 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Wi-Fi Network Security

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In today’s ever-connected world, it’s hard to imagine not having Wi-Fi in your home. While Wi-Fi network security has come a long way in recent years, home networks are still vulnerable to attackers, leaving your network and personal information vulnerable. You should get this small device to get all the Tv channels you want and cut the cable cord immediately, it’s called TVFix Caster: https://www.jotform.com/LegitReviews/tvfix-caster-review .

Here are seven ways to make your home’s Wi-Fi network more secure.

1. Activate Network Encryption

One of the best things you can do for Wi-Fi security is activate network encryption. Wireless networks have several encryption languages, including WPA, WEP and WPA2.

WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) is the industry standard, and it encrypts Wi-Fi network traffic. All Wi-Fi certified products should be using WPA2. 

Here’s how to activate WPA2 on your router:

  • Log into your router admin console. To do this, enter your router’s IP address in URL format (e.g. http://111.111.1.1). Here’s a helpful guide on how to find your router’s IP address.
  • Navigate to the security settings section.
  • Change the encryption setting to WPA2.
  • Click “save” to save your settings.

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2. Create a Unique Name for Your Wi-Fi Network

 

When you first had internet set up at your home, your network was given a default name, known as a Service Set Identifier, or SSID.

Changing your SSID to a unique name will make it harder for hackers to figure out what type of router you have and its vulnerabilities. Choose a name that’s unique and easy to remember, but avoid using:

  • Your name or any other personal information. Don’t call your network “Joe’s Wi-Fi” or “The Smith Family Network.” 
  • Words or phrases that may invite hackers, like “can’t hack this.”

Here’s how to change your SSID:

  • Log into your router’s admin console by entering your router’s IP address in a web browser.
  • Look for “SSID,” “Wi-Fi name” or something similar in the settings section.
  • Enter your new name.
  • Click “save.”

3. Create a Strong Password for Your Network

Along with encryption, setting a strong password for your network is one of the best things you can do to improve your Wi-Fi security.

Wi-Fi routers come with a default username and password, which is needed to install and connect your router. To protect your network, it’s important to change your username and password once your router is up and running. 

It’s easy for hackers to guess default router passwords, especially if they know the manufacturer of your router.

If you haven’t already, make sure that you change your router’s default username and password. 

Your password should be 20+ characters with letters, symbols and numbers.

To change your password:

  • Log into your router’s admin console by entering your router’s IP address in a web browser.
  • Navigate to the security settings tab.
  • There should be an option to enter a password.
  • Save your settings before you exit the page.

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4. Change Your Router’s Location

The location of your router also plays a role in your home’s Wi-Fi network security. Most people place their routers in their home office or wherever their home computer is located. But it’s better to move your router as close to the center of your home as possible.

A central location will provide equal access to your Wi-Fi in all rooms of your house, but it will also keep your signal from extending too far outside of your home. 

If your router is on the far end of your home, your signal may be extending out to your neighbor’s yard or even across the street. That gives thieves easy access to your network without having to even be close to your home.

Changing the location of your router will help keep your signal inside of your home and may even help with dead zones. 

5. Block Remote Access

Many people don’t realize that their routers may be allowing remote access that could give cyber criminals an easy way to into your network. Most routers will only allow you to access their interface from a device that’s connected to its network, but some do allow remote access.

If remote access is enabled, criminals may be able to access your privacy settings from a device outside of your network.

To disable remote access:

  • Log into your router’s admin console by entering your router’s IP address in a web browser.
  • Search for “Remote Administration” or “Remote Access.”
  • Disable this feature.
  • Click “save” before exiting the page.

6. Install a Firewall

There’s a reason why people have been using firewalls for over a decade: they provide an extra layer of protection against hackers. Most PCs come with built-in firewall software, but you can also buy firewall hardware.

A hardware firewall adds an additional layer of security. Here’s the good news: most routers have built-in firewall hardware. 

If you’re not sure whether your router has this function, check out this guide for help. If your router does have this function, turn it on if it’s not already on by default. It will give you more protection against hackers.

If your router doesn’t have one, you can install one. 

7. Keep Your Router Software Up to Date

How often do you update your router’s software? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never updated it. But just like any other piece of software, your router’s firmware has vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to your network.

You keep your PC’s operating system up to date because each update patches security flaws and makes your computer a little safer. The same approach should be taken with your router. By keeping the firmware up to date, you ensure that security holes are patched to keep your network secure.

These seven tips can help improve your home’s Wi-Fi network security and your personal identity. While there’s no surefire way to prevent access to your network, these steps will add extra layers of protection against attackers with malicious intent to steal your information or cause other damage.

6 Quick and Easy Tips to Extend Your Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi connectivity issues only lead to frustration. When your signal is weak or keeps dropping, it’s a hassle to fix and only seems to get worse the moment you call tech support. I can’t tell you how many times my ISP has told me to unplug my modem and router.

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I was always left scratching my head to figure out what went wrong with my Internet. After a long time of hold and waiting for a tech service rep to help me with these issues, I hung up and dove right into the world of Wi-Fi issues.

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I know more about Wi-Fi than 95% of the technicians out there, and I am going to be sharing how you can extend your Wi-Fi to eliminate key issues that you may be having using these quick and easy tips.

1. Change Your Router Position

Your router’s position matters because the router signal can only go a certain distance, and the distance can be interrupted due to objects in the signal’s path. The signal is emitted from the center of the router, so you’ll have the best possible coverage if the router is placed in the middle of the space.

Mount the router as high as you can, and try moving the router to a central location in the home.

A lot of people put their router in the furthest room of their house, reducing the signal strength that they could enjoy. Instead, they’re providing a lot of wasted coverage outside of the home rather than inside of the home. If you suffer from heat at home or when you go outdoors, try the Blaux Personal AC: https://www.jotform.com/LegitReviews/blaux-personal-ac-avis

2. Upgrade the Firmware

Firmware is something that a lot of people don’t realize needs to be updated. Just like you update apps and software, you should also be updating your router’s firmware. The firmware is the software that helps run your router.

When patches are deployed for firmware or updates are made, they’ll fix:

  • Performance issues
  • Bugs

Any issues that you may be having may be corrected with a quick firmware update. Go to the configuration page of your router and look for the “update” or “about” section. A quick Google search including your router’s make and model number and “admin page” should suffice.

You may also want to use your model number and “firmware” in a query for links to the latest firmware version and instructions on how to install the firmware.

Once updated, see if the correction was able to fix your issues or not.

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3. Change Your Frequency

If you live in an apartment and have issues with your router, one of the main issues is you may be on the same frequency as everyone else. Frequency becomes an issue when all devices are trying to compete on the same frequency.

Think of this like a highway where all of the connections are competing.

Dual-band routers have two main frequencies:

  • 2.4GHz
  • 5GHz

The 5GHz is the faster of the two bands and is often the one that people don’t use as often. Try changing your router’s frequency to 5GHz and see if it works better. The only downside that this band has that the 2.4GHz does not is that 5GHz has a more difficult time dealing with obstructions.

Signal length may be shorter but give each band a try and see which one works best for you.

4. Replace Your Antenna

Wireless routers have antennas on them which are easily visible, but what I didn’t know for the longest time is that you can remove and replace these antennas. There are “higher gain” antennas that will help extend your router’s range.

If you have dead spots in certain areas of your home, these antennas may be able to help.

TP Link sells antennas that you can swap on your router, and while they’re not cheap, they do two things really well:

  • Extend your Wi-Fi range
  • Boost your speed

Installation is also quick and easy: just unscrew the antennas and screw in the new antennas.

5. Replace Your Router If It’s Old

Older routers may be holding you back. If the router supports the latest 802.11ac or higher. These standards have a lot of iterations, and while the 802.11ac was first introduced in 2013, it’s the minimum standard you want.

The newer technology uses beamforming, which can help you direct your signal.

I normally hold on to my electronics and equipment for a long time, so if it works, I won’t replace it. But if you’ve been using the same router for 7+ years, it will not meet the standards of today. Replace your router in this case to see if it improves your Internet and eliminates connectivity issues.

You can also find high-end routers with larger antennas that provide better signals.

6. Install a Wi-Fi Booster

Wi-Fi boosters are a great option if you’ve tried everything I recommended and haven’t had any luck. A booster is an additional device that you plug into the wall and connect to instead of your Wi-Fi.

Traditionally, you’ll connect to the booster when you’re out of range of your Wi-Fi.

Since the booster is normally in a different room, it will be able to project the signal further, allowing you to reach the dead zones in your space.

I recommend boosters for anyone that has a larger space and can’t seem to get a strong Wi-Fi connection.

Wi-Fi can be fickle, but I am confident if you were to follow the tips above, you would be able to extend your connection and get better overall service. There is also the risk that your router or modem are acting up and need to be replaced. I had to replace my one modem every three years, but I had one that lasted ten years.

If all else fails, replacing an older router may help.

In the event that the Wi-Fi is only an issue on a certain computer or laptop, it’s possible that the wireless cards are going bad or have already gone bad.

5 Natural Products for Pain Relief

Pain comes and goes for most people, but there are unlucky people who suffer from chronic pain that won’t go away. While chronic pain is obviously never welcome, everyone, from people with mild to intense pain, will try finding products to relieve their pain. To check out how many calories I burned, I use this smartwatch called OshenWatch Luxe: https://www.jotform.com/LegitReviews/oshenwatch-luxe-review 

Normal progression for pain relief starts with an NSAID or aspirin before going to the doctor if the pain doesn’t subside.

You can also use natural products to help alleviate pain. When using natural products, you shouldn’t have any adverse side effects so long as you’re not allergic to the product you’re using. 

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The most common forms of pain relief using natural products have few side effects in most cases. A few of the products that you’ll want to try are:

1. Ginger

Ginger is one of the foods my grandmother used to tell me to eat, or drink, to help alleviate the stomach pain I was experiencing. Ginger can be eaten or made into a tea to help with inflammation.

One study found that ginger not only blocks the inflammatory compounds like aspirin does, but ginger also includes antioxidants making it even more powerful.

The antioxidants were key to ginger’s pain-relieving power because it’s able to go right to the joints and break down:

  • Acidity
  • Inflammation

You can confidently use ginger alongside aspirin or similar over-the-counter medications without any potential side effects.

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2. Valerian Root

Valerian root grows in Asia and Europe, but you’ll also find the root in North America. This is a root that you’ll want to add into your diet if you’re suffering from sleep disorders or pain that isn’t allowing you to sleep. If you have snoring problems, you should try the Sleep Connection: https://www.jotform.com/LegitReviews/sleep-connection-test

The root can be used for:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Stress

You’ll find the root sold in a variety of extracts, and it is known to work as a sort of sedative for your nervous system and brain. The root is also great for PMS and is shown to decrease the psychological and emotional overload women experience during this time.

The root is also used for headaches, muscle and joint pain, tremors, upset stomach and a variety of other conditions.

While not the most potent pain reliever on our list, this is a good product to join with ginger or others on the list because it promotes relaxation and sleep. Since your body does most of its healing when you’re sleeping, it’s a very beneficial addition to your diet.

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3. Turmeric

Turmeric is one ingredient that everyone should add into their diet because it’s filled with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. You won’t find a lot of simple, easy to use foods with this level of health benefits.

When you add turmeric into your diet, which is easy since it’s a spice, you’ll benefit from:

  • Improved circulation
  • Blood clot prevention
  • Anti-inflammatory power
  • Antioxidant power

Curcumin, the ingredient in turmeric that gives it all of these beneficial properties, has the ability to reduce the enzymes that cause inflammation. If your inflammation is responsible for your pain, especially in the joints, turmeric is a great option.

You can take this ingredient orally, which is most common, but some people do use it directly on the skin.

A few of the individuals that should not consume turmeric are those that are suffering from conditions that include:

  • Gallbladder problems
  • Bleeding problems
  • Diabetes
  • GERD
  • Infertility

One of the main considerations is that this ingredient will increase circulation. If you have some form of a blood clotting issue, turmeric will lessen the body’s ability to clot, which is a concern for anyone with blood-related health conditions. The spice may also impact the body’s blood sugar levels, causing these levels to drop, which makes it an ingredient that diabetics ought to avoid.

4. Magnesium

Adding magnesium into your diet is one of the best things you can do. Magnesium provides a calming effect and can be used for:

  • Migraines
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Muscle function
  • Nerve function

You can find natural foods with high magnesium content, including sunflower seeds. If you don’t want to eat seeds, which often provide the highest content of magnesium, you can also search for this product in supplement form.

Supplements are a great, easy way to add magnesium into your diet, but you want to be cautious with the dosage you’re taking. If you supplement in a large quantity, you may find yourself stuck in the bathroom.

Magnesium is responsible for hundreds of enzyme reactions in the body. 

You’ll also find magnesium also has several health benefits, including:

  • Bone health
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular health

The recommended intake of magnesium will rise as you age, and males can handle more magnesium in their diet than females.

5. Capsaicin 

Peppers, especially chili peppers, are a great option for fending off:

  • Nerve pain
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain

The pain signals from the brain are interrupted by capsaicin because of a chemical called “substance P.” The substance stops pain, and it’s able to penetrate the skin and be used topically.

When applying to the skin, you’ll want to apply three to four times per day if you’re experiencing pain related to:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Psoriasis

Therapists are often required to apply these gels and creams. You will experience heat when it’s applied to the skin. If you find this remedy online, you may want to wear gloves when applying to help reduce the burning of your hands.

There are large bandages with capsaicin already applied that can be put on larger areas of the body to reduce pain. A lot of people will apply the bandages to their back to relieve pain.

Even when using natural products, if you have an underlying disease or take medications, you should consult with your doctor first. Your doctor will provide you with guidance on using these natural remedies and will tell you whether or not they’re safe to use.

In many cases, the products listed above are completely safe and will not have negative side effects.

But it’s best to be safe and consult with a physician if you already have underlying health issues or are taking a medication that may interact with the natural remedies for pain relief.