Although the summer is definitely my favorite season of the year, there are some downsides to this sweltering season. While the warm weather, long nights and carefree vibe make everything feel a little easier, utility costs seem to rise with the heat. With cost-savings in mind there are several ways to turn this weakness into a benefit. Perhaps the easiest way of all is air-drying your freshly-washed laundry.
While the hot weather forces you to turn on the AC and is an energy-suck, it also is a great substitute for machine-drying clothes! In many locations, the summertime means no fear of rain or precipitation, and you can leave those clothes out to dry for hours without worry. Read more
I consider myself to be a pretty avid basketball fan, particularly college basketball. So I am not sure what my excuse was last year when I was woefully underprepared for the year’s biggest basketball tournament, the NCCA Final Four. It all started when I basically ignored the regular season and had no idea which teams were looking strong heading into the tournament – my bracket ended up being a total mess. To make matters worse, I had no idea what weekend the first round of the tournament was, so my media stand was a mess and terribly inadequate for the task at hand. I did not have time to upgrade my stand in time for the big game, so we were left watching the game on a fold out table! Read more
About a year ago my wife and I decided to adopt a dog since we had become settled in our new apartment and figured it would add some companionship and a give us reason to get out and hike every weekend. There was only one small issue, which is that we have had a cat for about four years and she is certainly the “queen of her domain”. We were a little apprehensive bringing the dog home for a “foster” night to test the waters, but it turned out to be a great fit and the two animals have become fast friends.
Unfortunately we ran into another little problem with the relationship our dog has with the cat – (brace yourself because it is gross) – she loves to raid the cat’s litter box. Read more
If you are like me, every day has to begin with a piping hot cup of coffee. Without that hot libation, my day simply is shot – and on a few occasions I have had to go without. Blurry-eyed and in a daze, I set about my daily tasks as if I was moving in slow motion. My wife and I prefer to brew our coffee using the French Press method because it is quick and (in my humble opinion) yields an exponentially tastier cup of coffee. Read more
This season was the year I finally convinced my wife to give watching football for fun a try, and slowly but surely she has come around to enjoying it. It doesn’t hurt that every Sunday when we do watch the games we make an event out of it and fire up the crockpot to make our favorite game-day delights.
With the regular season long-gone (and with that my favorite team long-eliminated from the post-season) and the playoffs in full swing, it is time to think about the big event that is coming up – the Super Bowl! This year’s NFL championship game will be played on February 3rd, so there is still time to get your game-day menu all set.
As I mentioned above, our go-to for snack-making during the game is our handy-dandy crock pot. Read more
So another New Year has come and gone and yet again you are grasping for a good resolution. But maybe you are like my wife and your problem is not sticking with your resolution, it is finding an issue that you can work at all year. My wife does not smoke nor does she drink all that much, she spends tons of time with her family and she works out just about the appropriate amount. That covers some of the big ones – quit smoking, lose weight, cut down on drinking, spend more time with the family.
This year we wanted to do a joint resolution and do something that we had never done before. Read more
Everyone knows the typical New Year’s resolutions – stop smoking, eat healthier, be kinder to your family, lose those nagging 15 pounds – and year after year these are consistently the most broken resolutions as well. For those that decide this is the year they finally get healthy, one trip to the local gym will have you realizing that you are far from alone in resolving to fight the flab. Last year after the New Year, my gym was so packed full of people the wait to use a cardio machine was 20 minutes! This can be an added discouragement to actually getting active. Luckily there is an easy solution for this issue and the approaching holiday season is the perfect time to give or receive some home gym equipment!
For those that are just getting started in building a home-gym, a simple flat bench is the perfect first-step. Even though it may appear to be overly-simplistic a flat bench is the initial building block. This bench is perfect for presses, “box” jumps, sit-ups, angled push-ups and more! Read more
As every year comes and goes, and with it another holiday season, I feel more and more like I should be the ones giving my grandparents presents instead of them to me. Every winter as a child we would come home to a huge postage package full of presents from Grandma and Grandpa. But now as a college-graduate with a real-life job and more cash to spend on family during the holiday season, I get a sense that it is my turn to be the giver. Read more
I like to think of myself as someone who places great value in respecting and preserving the health of our planet – therefore I take pride in making an effort to try to be as “green” as possible. Oftentimes this requires me to think “outside the box” to find ways to cut down on my energy usage and waste around the house. Read more
In the less-than-hospitable weather conditions of the winter and fall, I find myself spending a great deal more time indoors than during the rest of the year. This indoor living can be quite claustrophobic, especially because my home can get really cluttered with everyone stuck inside.
One place I find gets particularly cluttered this time of the year is my entry hallway. Everyone passes through this area multiple times each day, and it seems as if they leave something in the wrong place every time they go through. Between all of us, by the end of the day the entry is a stressful mess. And of course guess who gets to put everything back in order? This guy (you can’t see me but I am pointing at myself with my thumb). Read more
My wife and I recently found ourselves in a situation in which we needed to purchase a steam cleaner for our home. It was a purchase made out of necessity but after we used the steam cleaner a couple of times, we realized just how useful a tool this little portable machine could really be.
One of the biggest reasons my wife and I fell in love with using the steam cleaner was that it used no harsh chemicals that end up staining your clothes or making you feel light-headed and nauseous after a few hours of cleaning. Another huge plus is that your hands do not get really dried out like they do when you use bleach or other chemicals. The ability to just clean with just the pressure and heat of H2O without worrying about our dog coming through later and ingesting the harmful agents is quite liberating! Read more
Despite being a huge football fan for my entire life, I somehow managed to never attend a professional football game. This year, the Carolina Panthers who happen to be my favorite team in the National Football League, are set to have an away game in nearby San Diego, CA to take on the San Diego Chargers. It is a pretty rare occurrence that my favorite team plays on the West coast, as they are based in Charlotte, NC and mostly play teams on the East coast. I knew I had to take advantage of this rare opportunity and make the trip down to San Diego.
One activity I have really been looking forward to, is finally having the opportunity to do some tailgating at a real NFL stadium. I have done a little lightweight tailgating at college football games, but never anything of this magnitude. Read more
As I mentioned before in my previous post, this year the arduous task of hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of my family has fallen to me and my wife. As I was writing about the best way to store and preserve all of that leftover turkey and stuffing, I recalled another hurdle that I cleared the first time I hosted Thanksgiving:
“How am I going to fit all of those family members into my dining room?” Read more
As you may or may not know, one of the most popular formats for recorded music is once again the vinyl record. Though every time a new format made its debut as the “next big thing” – whether it was the cassette tape, compact disc, 8-track, or MP3- and the vinyl album would be written off as a thing of the past, they have actually held on quite well. In fact, many record labels that specialize in pressing vinyl records have bucked most music industry trends and actually seen increased sales and profits.
I will readily admit that I am certainly helping to contribute to these profits as I have been collecting vinyl records for the last 10 years or so. Read more
When my wife and I moved to Southern California, we decided we would do everything we could to ensure we lived in a neighborhood where it was easy and convenient to do most errands and chores on foot. We had previously lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a couple of years while she finished graduate school, and as the city is famously known, is “America’s Walking City”. We actually lived completely carless for the time we lived out there, which most definitely had its inconveniences, but overall it was a very rewarding experience. Read more
One of the holidays I enjoy most of all is Thanksgiving. Getting together with family, some of whom I have not seen in months or a year, and enjoying a home-cooked meal brings a bit of brightness to the dull, seemingly-weatherless late November days. Read more
One of my favorite leisure-time activities is maintaining my garden and landscaping the spacious yard that surrounds the house. Unfortunately, winter-time in my region is not just hibernation time for bears – my yard tools and gardening supplies too have an extended stay in the shed awaiting them from October to March.
While I have the good fortune of owning a home on a large piece of land, my property only has one shed to store all my tools. Our home does not include a garage; it only has a carport that is built into the house, storing extra tools there was not an option because they would be too exposed to the elements. Read more
For many people, the decision to hit the open road for a long road trip during the fall season can be a double-edged sword. As I mentioned before in my last post, there is typically less construction during the fall and the weather tends to be more bearable (as in the weather is not too hot – I’ll get into the reverse of this later on). On the other hand, there are quite a few drawbacks to traveling during the fall and winter months. Some of these include the likelihood of inclemently-cold weather and devastatingly brutal pre-holiday traffic in October and November – not to mention the typical issues you deal with on a road trip during any time of the year. For me, the best way to stay cool, calm and collected during a long road trip in the autumn season is to prepare ahead of time. I ensure all of the organizers and travel comfort items I need are packed away, a key to successful travel. Read more
One of the most well-known and oft-recited laws in the world of fashion is, “Never wear white after Labor Day”. Of course, this strict rule of thumb begs the question: Where does one keep all of those white garments during the fall and the winter?
While some fashionistas are blessed with walk-in closets that provide ample amounts of space to store your off-season outfits, the vast majority of us have to make do with what we have and find a way to squeeze those out-of-season duds into what available space we have left. Read more
As we approach the crisp, fresh days of fall and escape the sweltering sweatbox that is summertime, I know that I suddenly find myself looking to capitalize on my personal favorite season.
There are many ways to enjoy the fall – from apple-picking to cheering on my favorite college football team. There is something about the freshness in the air that makes fall the number one season for me. Read more