hiring a painting contractor…
making sense of the process

Paint contractor

Painting, it’s an easy DIY, so why bother to hire a contractor for the job? You may lack the time, or be working with a hard-to-paint space with high ceilings and lots of architectural details. Maybe you’ve got an old place where there may be lead paint to deal with. Or maybe you’re not the DIY type. There are plenty of reasons to call in the pros. No matter what your reasons, it’s important to get apples-to-apples estimates from multiple contractors, and that’s not always easy to do. When you’re talking to the pros, check them out first, then have a checklist for the things you want to see on the estimate.

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urban composting…
yes, it’s possible!


You live in the city, or you’re in a suburban townhome with a postage-stamp yard. Or, maybe you’re an apartment dweller. Either way, you think you can’t compost without a big yard space. Start talking compost and we all conjure up images of rural yards with big bins, but lots of space isn’t necessary. You can compost with just a small balcony or tiny yard. If even that isn’t an option, there are a variety of indoor-composters available, or you could consider vermiposting (yes, worms). All you really need for composting is a container; there are a variety of commercially available and compact composters, but a sturdy trash can will do. Continue reading

serene sleep, part 2…
inviting the zzzz’s

Bedroom oasis

Ah, the bedroom, it’s the sanctuary of our home. Last week, we tackled the bed and general furniture arrangement to help create a soothing space for serene sleep. Once your space says “take it easy” there are a few steps you can take to enhance the soothing atmosphere for some serious zen-inspired zzz’s.

  • Make your bedroom a place of beauty. You’ve arranged the furniture, you’ve made the bed, and selected a color palette that pleases you. Make sure to incorporate a few items that you find beautiful. Whether it’s simple floral arrangement, a favorite photo, or a collection of antique candlesticks, make sure your personal space feeds your soul.
  • Turn off and unplug. Ideally, your bedroom should be a tech-free zone. Charge your phone elsewhere, skip the TV if you can (and if you can’t, limit your viewing while in bed). Consider a brief pre-bed meditation to be present in the here and the now, leaving the office and everything else outside of your bedroom.
  • Keep it simple,  keep it clean and keep it neat. A messy space tends to create stress. Make your bed, it’s an instant mood booster. Keep bedroom clutter to a minimum and come up with storage solutions for life’s little messes like laundry and day-to-day necessities.
  • Nix the noise. Do you need absolute silence? Or do you rest at ease to the sound of crashing waves? Determine what works for you and make it happen. Take steps to reduce ambient noise in your home, and invest in earplugs or a white noise machine.
  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. Invest in quality, organic cotton sheets, opt for a non-toxic mattress, find an organic pillow that you love. Your bed should be a place you want to be, and where you are at your most comfortable.
  • Open the windows, even if it’s the dead of winter. Get some fresh air in your room on a daily basis. Nature is like a magic tonic that makes the cares of the world recede.
  • Keep a carafe of water to stay hydrated and install dimmers on your bedside lights. Make sure your lighting is pleasant and task oriented. There is no need to light up the whole room for a little reading in your favorite chair. And when it comes to lights out, go as dark as you can. Consider black-out shades if possible.
  • Turn down the thermostat. Lowering the temperature just before bed signals your body that it’s time for sleep. In a cool, dark room, your body clock will respond by seeking rest.
  • Schedule downtime to decompress and unwind. We are creatures of habit and we like rituals. Create a bedtime routine that helps signal your brain and body that it’s time to stop. That could be a meditation, a bath, a soothing candle or anything that relaxes you. Set a technology curfew before bed to give your body time off.
  • Create a space for reflection. Write in a journal as a way to rid your mind of the cares of the day. Focus on the positive and create a hopeful sense for the future.
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go for a walk…
it’s not just for pets


Walking, it’s healthy, easy exercise and a great habit to get into, not just for the health benefits. It’s also a great way to get around, if you live close enough to resources like grocery stores, doctor’s offices and  the like. If your New Year’s resolutions included getting fit, or driving less, walking should be high on your list of things to do. So how do you incorporate your feet in your day-to-day moves? Continue reading

decorating with flowers…
thinking outside the big arrangements

Flower arrangement

Nothing brightens a room like a few colorful blooms. Whether on a flowering plant, or gathered in a vase of cut blossoms, flowers are a sure-fire trick to making a room look more finished. Though it’s still some time till spring, early blooms will start appearing in some local markets in February. What better away to bring a fresh spring air to your home?

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