Enhance your yard lighting to LED the smart way

One of the last dumb things in your smart home may be your outdoor lighting. If you need a smart outdoor lighting system for your outdoors, you could cobble together a myriad of smart home lighting products from various manufacturers or use products from one brand, such as the Philips Hue outdoor line. But I suggest a different route: Upgrade the bulbs in your current exterior fixtures to LED and use an outdoor plug adapter to make your garden lights part of your home control technology. You won’t get all the fancy tricks possible, but if you can live without nightclub color scenes or speakers built into lights, you’ll enjoy the results of my cheap and straightforward upgrade.

Bulb type

The first thing to determine is what kind of LED bulbs will fit the sockets in your appliances. Get rid of your current bulbs and inspect the base: It will most likely be a bayonet, bipin or wedge.
Bipin bulbs are especially popular and come in a wide variety of sizes that look almost identical. The key differentiator is the spacing between the pins. A G4 bipin has 4mm spacing, a G5.3 has 5.3mm spacing, and so on.

Bulb brightness

We’re all used to showing bulb brightness by wattage, but that’s simply a misnomer baked in tradition. Wattage tells you how much energy a bulb uses, not how much light it puts out, though the two are at least directionally related.
As you pull each incandescent bulb from your garden lights, try to read the wattage rating printed on it. Then shop for LED bulbs whose wattage is guaranteed as equivalent. For example, you may find that a 1.5-watt LED bulb promises to replace an 11-watt incandescent bulb while delivering as much or more light, so much greater is LED’s efficiency.


Making gift wrap environmentally friendly

Some consumers are dropping wrapping altogether. In a survey revealed last month, half of U.S. participants said they will give holiday presents without wrapping this season to avoid using paper, according to Accenture, a consulting firm. Nearly two-thirds stated they would gladly receive gifts without gift wrapping.

Below are some wrapping and recycling ideas:

Choose recyclable gift wrap: Papers that include foil, plastic coating, cellophane and glitter are not recyclable, according to the American Forest and Paper Association. The association says a basic rule of thumb is to crumble up the paper; if it stays in a tight ball, it’s paper-based and can be recycled. Kula, Hawaii-based Wrappily uses old printing presses to print styles on recyclable newsprint. A three-sheet set of their paper is $10. Hallmark sells a set of four rolls — 35.2 feet in total — for $14.99. Paper Source says its stone paper can be recycled; it costs $9.95 for a 10-foot roll.

Wrap with fabric: An ancient craft in Japan is gaining converts elsewhere. Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade retail chain, sells gift wrap made from saris that are recycled by artisans in Bangladesh. The company says sales have been growing steadily since the wraps were introduced in 2013; so far this year, sales are up 20 percent over 2018. The 26-square-inch wrap sells for $12.99.

Recycle it all: New Jersey-based recycling company TerraCycle guarantees to recycle every thing — including ribbons, bows, tissue paper and wrapping paper with glitter — in its Gift Zero Waste Box. The company sends customers an empty box with a paid return label; once it’s full of gift wrap, customers send it back. TerraCycle says it has processes for even hard-to-recycle products like ribbon, which it uses for insulation or melts into plastic pellets. A medium box is the most popular size for family gatherings; it costs $147.


Just what is the best fence material to endure the heat?

Is Your Fence Under the Weather?
If you’re like other property owners, you likely take your fence for granted. That is, until you notice a section or two buckling, warping, or leaning to one side. Those are all symptoms of a wood fence dealing with the brutal effects of a hot climate.

You love the sunlight because you can get away back to the cool conditioned air of your home or office. A fence isn’t so lucky. Hot temperatures can have a serious negative impact on a fence.

For illustration, a fence exposed to the elements can suffer all of the above but also may deteriorate quickly. Wood fences are especially vulnerable to heat because they expand.

It isn’t just wood fencing that bear the burden of the sun and heat. Any fence made of a non-weatherproof material can suffer when left unprotected and under the weather.

Requirements for a Weatherproof Fence
If you’re setting up a fence inside a hot, sunny climate and anticipate it to thrive, look for these three factors when shopping for fence material:

  • Heat-Resistant
  • Doesn’t Expand
  • Water-Resistant

You don’t need a fence that gets so hot you or your kids can’t touch it without getting burned. Also, look for a material that doesn’t take in water when it rains. Eventually, you don’t want a made of a material that expands when it gets hot.

As you’ll see later in this post, wood may not really be the ideal option for a fence because it doesn’t pass any of these three tests.

Your Fence and the Heat of the Sun
A fence constructed from a product like wood that expands in hot temperatures, may wear out faster and suffer damage. Heat can also cause warping, which may divide the boards from the fasteners.

We currently know how much you enjoy basking in the sunlight a beautiful summertime day. Your fence, and yet, can degrade or lose its color when exposed towards ultraviolet (UV) rays.

When buying for a new fence, appearance for materials made to withstand the heat of the sun. A popular fence material for warm environments is vinyl. Stick with us and we’ll talk about why.


Guidelines for comparing lenders and loan estimates

Strategies to get a lower rate
Getting a low refinance rate is both an art and a science.

Specific strategies work, and some don’t. Every single situation is different, and the stakes are high.

Certainly, rates are hovering near 3-year lows, but that does not mean lenders will just give you their best possible deal and call it a day.

In some cases, you have to poke and device for your best rate.

So, how do you do that?

Together with the right knowledge, you can address your lender with confidence, knowing how to contrast one offer with another, and even use one offer against the other.

Ready to get the best mortgage refinance rates? Here’s how.
Make sure your credit and financial obligation are in check
To have the best rate from any lender, you should have a good credit score and a low debt-to-income ratio. In 2018, financing scores and DTIs were the two main reasons why lenders denied refinance applications.

Loan providers offer the best rates to consumers who have a track record of paying their bills on time and managing their debt.

So, you’ll need to make sure your financial house is in order by checking your credit report’s accuracy and calculating your DTI before you start shopping for the lowest refinance rates.

Keep in mind that a less than ideal credit score or excellent DTI doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from a mortgage refinance — but it means you won’t be able to get the best rates and maximize your savings.
Contrast multiple loan quotes
You can get as many mortgage refinance quotes as you need. But regrettably, many borrowers only get one quote or apply with one lender.

By asking for a quote from just one lender, you could be making thousands — if not tens of thousands of dollars — in savings behind.

Fortunately, the web makes it easy towards obtain quotes from several lenders.

But here’s the kicker: you can’t simply get multiple quotes. You must show the quotes to the other lenders.

Possibilities are that high quotes will come down. Loan companies will lower their rate and/or fees to keep your business. Smart shoppers come out on top when they use several quotes to their benefit.


Avoid unneeded travel if conditions are too bad.

Buckle up, and make sure child restraints are secured tight. It is suggested to use bulky clothes and blankets on top of the child restraint harness, not beneath, to ensure harness restraints fit properly.

Travel at safe speeds according to road conditions, and provide for plenty of travel time.

Increase safe stopping length between vehicles.

Hire a charter bus for group travel.

Use extra precautions when driving around snowplows by maintaining at least five car-lengths behind plows.

If skidding, remain calm, simplicity foot off the gas, and change the steering machine in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go.

If automobile has an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply a steady company pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump ABS brakes.

Clear snowfall and frost from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.

Headlights should be turned on once it is snowing or sleeting.

Do not use cruise control on snow/icy/wet roads. Circumstances can change over every hill and around every curve. Be very aware of bridge decks and overpasses.

Equip vehicles with a scraper/brush, small spade, jumper cables, tow chain, and a bag of sand or cat litter for tire traction. Blanket(s), heavy boots, warm clothing and flashlights are also important, as are storing high-energy foods such as chocolate or energy bars.

Be sure cell phones are charged for long trips, and inform family of destination plans and schedule.

If stranded, stay in the vehicle.

Moms and dads of teen drivers should make sure new motorists experience snow and ice driving in a safe environment, such as an empty parking lot.


5 Tricks For How To Effectively Co-Parent With A Toxic Ex

1. Allow what you cannot change and control what you can
When dealing with child custody issues you will never be able to change your co-parent. No matter how much they need to change (in your opinion), that work belongs to your ex.

What you are able to and must control are your own life and responses.

If you are co-parenting with a complicated ex, you know your buttons are likely to get pushed. You will require a steady temperament and resolved composure in order to maintain your commitment to great parenting.

2. Acknowledge the dynamic and how it plays out
How does the conversation with your ex go from zero to 90 in the course of a breath? Are there identifiable patterns to your communication? Do you have fears that get triggered? Are those fears based on reality and logic?

What can you do to disrupt an unhealthy dynamic and steer it in a direction that empowers and protects you?

Remember, the children and your integrity and sanity are non-negotiables. And the only person you can control is yourself.

3. Set new boundaries
Once more, this is really about you and how you are going to engage (or not) with your ex.

Don’t allow yourself to be baited. Take defensiveness and emotional reactions off the table. Set time parameters for communication, and stand by them.

Reduce the means of communication. For example, you don’t text them but only use e-mail and a parenting portal. (Talking Parents is a free option for both avoiding disputes and documenting communication between co-parents.)

You may also want to consider blocking your ex from your social media.

It will be up to you to stand by your boundaries when your ex challenges your resolve.

4. Don’t respond immediately
So much of co-parenting with a difficult ex is about not engaging. Of course, you will have to engage on behalf of your children. But you do have the power and right to choose when and how you engage.

If your ex says or writes something that causes an immediate dump of adrenaline into your system, take a breath and step back. Do your “reacting” in your own mind or when you’re venting with a friend. Do your “responding” once you are calm.

And sleep on your response. Choose a doable ‘delay time’ for responding to anything other than emergencies. You’re not on-call for your ex.

5. Don’t respond to everything
Merely because your co-parent pushes your buttons in order to bait you into engaging doesn’t mean you have to engage.

Stay focused on what co-parenting is about: parenting. It’s not about hashing out your unfinished marital discord or diminishing one another.

React to communication about the children. Let the rest go or add it to a happy hour vent session with a trusted friend.


Four Predictions About The Self-Storage Industry

Tech startups that aim to interrupt existing industries must know defining industry trends and understand where the industry is moving. For my company, that industry is self storage, composed of small facility operators as well as a handful of large players that take over the market.

Despite being a established industry, self storage is experiencing innovations and growth that continue to make it a worthwhile investment and an interesting area to do business.

As the creator of a peer-to-peer storage marketplace in the U.S., here are my 4 forecasts about the trajectory of the self storage space industry in the coming years.

1. While demand continues to increase, it will be outpaced in the short phase by new give you.

Ever-increasing demand growth is a fact of the self storage space industry. Up until now, supply has kept up with interest, with over 90% occupancy rates being typical since 2015, according to the 2019 Self Storage Almanac from Mini Storage Messenger.

As for instance baby boomers get started on to downsize, the need for storage units is expected to increase. Additionally, while some believe millennials will use storage less than previous generations, data from Marcus & Millichap’s “2018 U.S. Self Storage Investment Forecast” suggests they will continue the demand trend as they still, although slightly later in life, are forming families and accumulating material possessions.

In order to match this growing demand, real estate investment trusts (REITs) have poured an enormous amount of capital into constructing hundreds of thousands of new square footage. In 2011, only $241 million was spent on mini-storage facility construction. That number has increased every year, and in 2018, nearly $5 billion was spent on new facilities, per U.S. Census Bureau data on private construction spending.

Nonetheless, industry analysts fear that this glut concerning new storage facilities will demand in the short term, causing a decline in the decade-long high returns enjoyed by some of the largest players in the industry, including Public Storage and Extra Space Storage. Enhanced supply may result in lower unit leasing prices as storage operators compete to fill their units.

2. While this increased supply may temporarily halt rental price increases, many cities around the nation will continue moving to restrict or slow new self storage construction.

Placing a cap on supply growth while demand continues to increase will significantly increase rental prices in the medium to long term.

In New York, for example, the city recently signed a zoning freeze into law. Now, it takes two years just to get the special permission to build. The decision cited a lack of space, displacement of businesses that produce high-quality jobs and a negative impact on the aesthetics of the city for the enactment of the law. In addition, storage facilities may not provide the same amount of sales tax and other revenue as alternative commercial or industrial construction.

New York enrolls with other major cities, including San Francisco, Miami and Charleston, that have similar restrictions, with others likely to follow. I’ve also learned that several smaller cities intend to cap storage facility construction. While storage operators are attempting to adapt by building more attractive facilities with smaller footprints, the burden of paying for these improvements will still fall on storage unit tenants.


Finding pet care while you travel this particular season

Pets are an integral part of our everyday lives! They need special care, obedience training, and attention because they thrive and respond differently than humans. Every pet owner loves their dogs. And yet, there might come a time when you might have to leave them temporarily because you need to take a trip or have to address an emergency at work or family. The obvious thing to think about is how to carry them with you. The pet hotels are different than regular hotels who today function under a no-pets policy.
Also, it is integral to know that pet travel might cost you a couple of extra dollars. Hence, leaving them at a safe spot might be the best alternate. It may possibly become challenging to depend on a friend or neighbor as they might have other tasks to attend. Plus, not everyone is an expert at pet care. Right here you can opt-in for a dog boarding service close to your locality. Today, you can browse online for service providers that specialize in boarding for dogs and choose accordingly.
You can opt-in for two choices
The kennels
Will your pet dog need expert hands? If yes, then you can depend on the dog boarding kennels. Several pet owners have realized the facilities that dog boarding kennels offer for the pets. Hence, even before you visit the closest kennel, as around. Your friends or vet might have a couple of suggestions for you. This is always better to get in touch with more than a person service provider to choose a kennel service. The service providers operate in the way to reach the kennels secure and safe. Your pet will feel at home with the dog boarding services.
The in-home dog boarding
This is essential to know that a pet dog might feel anxious staying in a small and enclosed area. Hence, crate-free dog boarding is the ideal choice for such pet owners. Here the working staffs usually have a pet-friendly mindset and take good worry of the anxious and restless dogs.


Practical and Pretty Backyard Fence Ideas

A fence is a practical way to protect your garden landscaping from creatures and set it apart from the rest of your backyard. However garden fences can also pretty up your flower bed or vegetable garden. Get encouraged by these garden fence suggestions, which incorporate eye-catching materials and even enchanting gates that will warmly welcome visitors to your plot of land.

Modern Black Fence

The black fence adds a touch of contemporary flair to an generally classic vegetable garden on a Florida horse farm. Plus, the fence as well as added chicken wire holds out the farm’s many, numerous animals—95 and counting!

Classic White Archway

A mix of vibrant annuals and perennials add jumps of color to this antique white picket fence, complete with a lovely white archway that directs guests to the front door.

A Backyard and Fence in One

We believe this is a brilliant idea, particularly if you’re short on space: Make your fence a part of your garden utilizing a shelf and a lineup of little and tall container plants.
You can keep your fencing totally conventional by using old-school wooden rails, a look that offers withstood the test of time. This kitchen garden at a New York retreat spotlights raised beds bordered with Belgian neighborhood stone, pairing nicely with the tried-and-true fence.
This thriving garden belonging to painter Donna Krakovitz is overflowing with organic vegetables, poplars, herbs, and heirloom varieties—all contained within a simple yet sturdy wooden fence that’s sure to stand up to the elements.


Five design trends superstars love that interior designers hate

Celebrity home decoration has long interested people, with shows like “MTV Cribs” and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” captivating audiences for years.

Indeed, part of the appeal of celebrity-focused reality shows such as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is seeing what a star’s home is like on a day-to-day basis.

For example, fans were delighted when they got to see exactly what Kim Kardashian West’s home looks like in a video for Vogue’s “73 Questions” series.

Despite their popularity, interior designers don’t always love the way celebrities decorate their homes.

Some a-listers focus on creating a space that appears cool rather than one that feels comfy in designers’ opinions.

For illustration, Kardashian West’s self-described “minimal monastery” home, which is both minimalist and monochromatic, wouldn’t be every designer’s cup of tea.

Homochromatic color schemes are common among celebrities, but this can make a space feel less homey.
white room
Monochromatic designs can make a space look bland. Tom Merton/Getty Images
“The smartest way to make a room feel homey is to add layering, texture, handmade pieces, and warm woods,” said Kathy Anderson, owner and founder of the luxury interior design firm, Anderson Design Studio.

“Pattern mixing and maximalism is taking the place of minimalism,” Anderson told Insider.
colorful bedroom
Maximalism is replacing minimalism in the design sphere. KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images
Instead of the cool, sleek look of moderate design, experts are now tilting toward the colorful and plentiful.

“It’s timeless to use books and collected items that are meaningful to the client to accessorize and bring a sense of personality to the home,” Anderson added.