Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

bentley teaAs we end another week, we’ve got much to look forward to this weekend! Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year, and Sunday is the biggest football game of the season. Plus, the month of love is upon us, and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Today we’ve highlighted items relating to each of these fun and festive occasions.

Bentley’s 120-Count Tea Collection Tins

In addition to the red envelope tradition for the Chinese New Year, small gifts of food or sweets are traditionally given to celebrate the coming of a New Year. Join in the festivities with your own fun and festive gift. We like these tea collection tins with six different flavors for the tea lover. You can always pair this tea collection with a nice porcelain tea set for one!

ticket mementoTicket Memento Storage Boxes

Are you a sucker for mementos and memories? Or just saying goodbye to another seasons of great games and good times? Whether you save every little movie ticket, or only the important things like tickets to The Great Wall of China, this ticket memento storage box is a great way to keep those tickets in one place, and display them in your home. They’re only as good as the memory they created, so choose wisely.

Love Letters Wall Art

Just in time for delivery by Valentine’s Day, these framed love letters wall art pieces are the perfect way to personalize a great piece of art. Get names and dates added to this personalized wall art for a nice touch to your Valentine’s Day gift. This is the perfect supplement to a gift this year.

colts cup and coaster16-Piece NFL Party Drink Sets

With the biggest sports event right around the corner, we couldn’t end this list without a little something for the NFL fans out there. If you’re having a party for the big game, you’re probably stocking up on snacks, plates, and cups for the long afternoon ahead. When it comes to fun drinkware, we’ve got you covered. Check out these great NFL party drink sets and find your favorite team! The 8 glasses come with a matching coaster for each! (Not all teams are available.)

3 Ways to Ensure Your Water is Safe

tap-waterDrinking tap water is much better for your budget than investing in bottled water, but it is imperative to be aware of the fact that you could be exposing yourself and your family to lead or any other harmful elements. With these tips you will be able to feel secure about your water for you and your family.

What Causes Lead in Water?
In most cases, tap water does not contain lead until after it leaves a treatment plant and become exposed to your household plumbing. In older houses, plumbing can contain corroded materials such as lead pipes, brass faucets or copper pipes, thereby, passing lead to you and your family.
The only way to know for certain if there is lead in your water is to have it tested, but you can also take preventative steps even if you have not been through the testing process.

Below are three tips for staying safe:

1. Replace rusted or corroded plumbing
This tip is more costly but it will definitely ensure your family is not consuming lead. This option is most appropriate for individuals seeking to completely upgrade their plumbing system.

2. Flushing your taps
In fact, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, flushing your taps by letting them run for at least 60 seconds is a good way to remove any lead that could be present in your pipes. However, if you have a lead service line, it is necessary to let your taps run for at least three to four minutes to be on the safe side.

3. Heat water later
Additionally, anyone who knows that they have a lead issue should never use hot water for drinking and cooking because this will dissolve the lead more quickly. It is especially imperative to steer clear of hot water that is contaminated with lead when you are making baby formula. Instead, you should heat up water after getting it from the cold faucet.

How Can I Get My Water Tested?

In most areas, your county health department will help you with the process of getting your water tested. You also have the option of utilizing a state certified laboratory, but this is likely to be more expensive. Additionally, you can obtain an inexpensive lead home test kit, and this is often the preferred method of people on a budget.

For example, if your New York landlord is aware that there is lead in the building’s water, they need to correct this issue by replacing the pipes. Failure to do this can easily lead to a lawsuit and perhaps the hiring of an injury lawyer in NY, especially if someone becomes ill as a result. Hopefully, this type of scenario is far and in between.

We are encouraged to drink ample amounts of water as a way to stay healthy and vibrant. However, this becomes a problem when our water is not a well of health. In the end, regardless of the steps you take to ensure the integrity of your water, safety is the main objective and the above mentioned tips can help to accomplish this goal.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and blogger. As the wife of a environmental safety professional, she has acquired significant knowledge regarding lead toxicity over the last decade. During her research of an injury lawyer in NY and other resources, she was able to see just how much of an impact this type of injury can have on individuals, especially children.

Image Credit: shine.yahoo.com

Organizing for the New Year: 10 Ways to Get Organized Now

It’s the end of January, and the perfect time to check in with those New Year’s Resolutions. Have you been keeping up? If not, here are 10 ways to get organized now for a better 2014.

1) Make Lists

Sometimes the biggest problem is that we don’t actually know what we need to do or how much time we have to do it. We wander through the grocery store, darting up and down aisles, looking for forgotten items. We start steam cleaning the carpets and then realize we forgot to dust, or that our kids’ friends are coming over. All of these absent-minded situations could be avoided with the use of lists.

2) Dispose Ruthlessly

Less is more. And if you want an organized home, less stuff equals more organization. If you’re not using it, you probably don’t need it. Sure, there are the situations when you spend $200 on a drill that you use once every other year, and that’s fine, but make sure you have a storage spot for those kinds of items. There’s no reason for a drill you use once in a blue moon to hog valuable real estate in the house. If it’s a useless kitchen accessory, just taking up space, get rid of it! Gift it, donate it, or pack it up.

3) Give Everything a Place

Which leads us to the next tip: give everything a home. No matter what it is, it needs a place to live. If that’s a water bottle or thermos you take to work everyday, your house slippers, or even your kids’ lunchboxes, create a space for these items and make sure they are placed there every day!

4) Go Paperless 

You should be paperless in every single way possible. Maybe you need to have a paper notepad or planner, but you shouldn’t be receiving bank and credit card statements in the mail, and you should opt out of weekly circulars and junk mail.

5) Stop Buying Stuff

Do you need a garlic press, zester, hand grater, box grater, and a food processor? Minimize the items you actually need, and hang on to those with multiple purposes. We would never tell you to get rid of those gray boots that go with everything in your closet! Just think twice before you buy the patent leather ones that only match one pair of pants.

6) Make Your Bed

Remember that thing about giving everything a place? Your duvet/bed comforter has a home, and it’s your bed. But if you leave it crumbled up at the foot of the bed, your room will automatically look messy and disorganized, because it is. The bed is a good place to do tasks like folding laundry, but when it is unmade, the actual task of folding laundry becomes more daunting. In fact, you’re much more likely to lose a stray sock if you’re trying to fold laundry on an unmade bed. Just make your bed, at least a little.

7) Create a Filing System 

There are some things you can’t go completely paperless with, like some coupons, receipts, and statements from ancient student loan companies who can’t get with the program. This is why you need a filing system. Make it accessible but tucked out of sight. If you have a secretary desk, this is a great place to organize these items.

8) Clean Out Your Food Storage 

This means fridge, freezer, pantry, cabinets; clean them out completely! You might not be able to do it all at one time, but if you’re heading out of town for a few days, think of this as a great time to really empty out the contents of your fridge, check expiration dates, and give it a good cleaning. The freezer is sometimes a place where frozen fruits go to die. Avoid this by keeping it clean, free of ice build up, and ready for use and food storage at all times.

9) Cook in Bulk 

A good way to free up time and energy for other pursuits is to spend less time in the kitchen; however, that can be difficult if your other resolution was to eat more healthy homemade meals. Solution? Cook in bulk and utilize your freezer for soups, lasagna, chili, muffins, and other easily frozen items. Keep a list on the fridge of items in the freezer and the dates they were put there. Now your kids can easily feed themselves a healthy homemade frozen meal!

10) Use an App or Planner

Whether you’re in love with apps like Evernote and Flow, or you prefer using a standard planner that fits in your purse or briefcase, it’s important to have a way to keep tasks, thoughts, and ideas organized, instead of letting them run rampant around your brain while you’re busy working on something else. Be sure you have a plan that keeps everything organized in one place!

4 Tips For a Successful Fun at Work Day

Many people dream about coming into a work environment filled with activities, team work and most of all fun. You can stop dreaming because January 28th is Fun at Work Day! It’s a great chance to take a break from the usual routine and have a blast–but how do you have fun at work? We’ve got four tips to make Fun at Work Day legendary in your office.

1. Games

Fun at Work Day is all about the fun so play a few games to lighten the mood. There are numerous games you can play at the office. Here are a few for inspiration.

Paperclip Trail

This game can be a timed event between competitors. Each competitor has a stack of paperclips to choose from. When the game starts the goal is to connect as many paperclips as possible to make the longest trail. At the end, the trail will be measured and the longest paperclip trail is declared the winner.

Bobble Head Challenge

Bobble-head-challengeThis activity is known to make those playing and watching laugh. Have participants line up in preparation for the game. Each participant receives a headband and a pedometer. After they have their headbands on, attach the pedometer to the front of the headband and set each pedometer to zero. For one minute the participants will bobble their own heads in order to make the pedometer count. The person with the highest number on their pedometer wins the challenge.

 

 

2. Casual to Themed

When participating in fun games no one wants to be dressed in their business gear.  A causal jeans day would be a crowd pleaser. If you want to inspire even more fun, make a theme day out of it. Choose a fun theme such as Hawaiian Day, Funky Hair Day or even a Superhero Day to create a fun atmosphere.

3. Desk Duty

It may be difficult for some people to get away for a physical activity. Puzzles such as Sudoku or trivia questions are a great option to those who can’t get away. You can choose a pop culture or even create your own puzzles for an extra challenge.

4. Food Day
Cute-Cucumbers
Another way to make it a fun and relaxing day for everyone is to have an option for pot luck or to order in for lunch. Fun days are also busy days because everyone needs to balance work with fun. An option to have a lunch set up can take the stress away at lunch time and make the day more enjoyable.

 

 

Fun at work is just one of the unique holidays you can celebrate. It’s important to take a step back and reduce stress at work and this is the perfect excuse. With these four tips you and your co- workers will be having a blast in no time!

Do you have some tips to have fun at work? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.

 Image Credit: youtube.com

 

Valentine’s Day: Are You Ready?

i love you moreWe’re less than a month away from the most romantic holiday of the year, so here’s the question: are you ready? If you really want to make your significant other happy, it’s a good idea to show a little forethought for this day, which is why we’ve compiled a short checklist to help you along. With 3 weeks to go, these are the things you should be taking care of right now

Gift

Some say the gift is the most important part, while others think it’s just an added bonus if you get it right. Either way, there’s no point in dropping a few hundred dollars if the recipient isn’t going to like or use your gift. Make sure you’re paying attention to something they might want. It’s early enough that she probably won’t get suspicious if you snoop through her clothes or check ring sizes around now, so find out what you need to know as stealthily as you can.

 

Dinner and Reservations

Whether you’re planning to hit the hottest restaurant in town, or you’d like to prepare a nice dinner for two at home, special meals take some sort of preparation. Now is the time to call potential restaurants and find out what kind of menu they’ll have for Valentine’s Day, and see if they have slots available for the time you’d like to eat. If you’re thinking of planning a nice meal in, you should start looking up recipes, or checking local delivery menus. If you’re cooking at home, think about testing out the recipe around now to see how hard or easy it really is, and to make sure you have all the kitchen accessories you need to create the meal.

Transportation

Transportation is often overlooked, but is an essential part of creating a successful evening. Are you thinking about wine pairings at the restaurant, or grabbing a cocktail before dinner at home? Will you have far to travel or should you plan to walk? But if you want to walk, will that change your outfit or your wife’s high heels? Make sure you have a back up plan in the form of a designated driver or a cab driver on call. It’s always better to be prepared, than to find yourself a few martinis deep without a cab on the way.

Babysitter

Finally, if you’ve got kids, now is the time to book your babysitter! Whether you’re asking your younger brother to sleep over with the kids, or you need to hire another sitter for the night, it’s important to lock that in before it gets close to the big day! When it comes to major holidays like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, babysitters are harder to get than reservations at the most popular restaurant in town! Be willing to pay a little extra than usual if necessary, and make sure you’ve got a confirmed sitter for the night before finalizing your plans.

Items We Adore: LTD Product Picks for the Week

seasonal towel setsHappy Friday everyone! Today’s LTD Commodities picks for the week highlight your last-chance Christmas and holiday items. January is coming to a close, which means you better stock up on your favorite holiday gifts and décor accessories before they’re gone! Check out these fun and useful holiday items at LTD.

Seasonal Kitchen Towel Sets

Many of us have several different towel sets for different times of year, but this set of seasonal kitchen towels streamlines your organization. One set includes three cutesy towels from the designated season. Choose winter, spring, summer, or fall, or get the whole bunch! They’re a great way to change up your seasonal décor without searching through dozens of boxes in the garage.

Gift Wrap/Ornament Storage Organizer

Without fail, every Christmas comes with box after box of decorations and wrapping paper, and somehow, at the end of every season, the boxes just don’t want to close. Which is why we love this storage organizer, perfect for gift wrap, ribbons, and ornaments. Use it to organize those odds and ends that don’t have a home, while you’re waiting until you have to scrounge up another empty box. This holiday organizer is perfect for under-the-bed storage or small vertical spaces.

Record a Story Books

Twas the Night Before Christmas is an all-time holiday classic, but this clever record-a-story book takes it to another level. These books record and play back your voice, so you can “read” to your little one, even if you’re not there. This is a great gift if you’re a faraway grandparent or relative, or if you’re a parent who works late nights, is in the military, or travels a lot for work.

Christmas Memories Book Boxes

So we understand if you don’t want to save every single Christmas card you receive, but there are some you just can’t bear throwing away: the family picture of your niece/nephew/grandchild’s first Christmas, or the last card sent by an older relative. For these occasions, we recommend the Christmas Memories Book Boxes. These decorative “books” are hollow on the inside with magnetic closures on the cover, creating a perfect place to store memories. The fun part is putting them out every year and getting the chance to go through some of your favorite memories from holidays past.

Get Your Home Game Day Ready With LTD

NFL camping chairsIt’s finally here! The big game is right around the corner, and after an exciting Sunday, we now know the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will battle it out on February 2nd for the Championship title. Are you prepared for the biggest football game of the year? Check out how to prepare your home for the big day.

Seating

When you’ve got fifteen people coming over to watch the big game, it’s important to make sure there’s enough room for everyone! Pull out all of your extra seats and fold up chairs and see how they’ll fit in your living room area. Now is the time to buy a few extra folding chairs to accommodate more guests. Plenty of people will be standing and cheering, but there’s always a moment during halftime or long commercials when we could use a break.

NFL Décor

This is an essential part of any NFL party! Choose a team and get your house decked out in those colors. Or, if you’re a little more impartial, you can create a “house divided” with separate sides for people supporting opposing teams. It’s a fun way to create a little added competition to the big game.

Meal Planning

Everyone likes heavy, greasy, high-caloric appetizers to pair with beer when watching football, but not every appetizer has to be a grease bomb! Check out great cookbooks and online sources to add a little variety to your meal planning instead of just ordering buckets of wings and buying a dozen bags of chips. Try making fruit kebobs out of toothpicks, or serving southwestern style salad with beans, corn, and chopped arugula. Instead of French onion dip with potato chips, serve fresh homemade hummus and carrots or baked pita bread.

Cooking & Serving

Last but not least, are you prepared to make 100 appetizers and serve them fresh from the oven? Make sure you have enough baking sheets and casserole pans to ensure you have the ability to serve those 20 people. Football is not a short game, and with a good 5 hours of game time, halftime, and commercials, you will have hungry guests. Stock up on serving bowls and platters, and make some dishes ahead, like chili or deviled eggs, so you aren’t spending the entire day in the kitchen. Make sure you’ve got enough glasses and cups, and buy paper plates to reduce dirty dishes!

Does Your New Home Have Hard Water? 4 Tell-Tale Signs and Solutions

Water is essential to our health and survival, but you shouldn’t have to compromise taste and your plumbing system for quality drinking water. Millions of homes receive what’s known as “hard water” around the US that can damage pipes, leave lime scale buildup, and ruin the taste of drinking water. But how do you know if you have hard water, and what can you do to prevent it? Here are four tips and tricks for reversing hard water damage and providing your house with fresh and potable water.

Lime scale or Corrosion in Bathroom

Hardwater-bathroom

Image Credit: www.flickr.com

If your shower head has gunk buildup like in the one seen above, or if you start to see a thin layer of white lime scale forming on the walls and door of your shower, then you’re most likely the recipient of hard water. These formations appear when droplets of hard water evaporate from your surfaces and leave behind calcium and magnesium deposits (the naturally-occuring minerals that make water “hard”). Remedying these problems are simple—make a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar, then wipe down the problem areas. It also helps to fill an empty spray bottle so you can apply the solution to large sections of your bathroom, if the problem is widespread. Repeat as necessary.

 

Clogged or Damaged Pipes

Hardwater-pipes

Image Credit: www.flickr.com

Like in your shower or on your water faucets, hard water can leave buildups of dissolved minerals on the inside of your pipes, as well. These deposits grow and reduce the efficiency of your plumbing and heating systems over time. This will manifest itself as weaker streams of water exiting your shower head and faucets.

In extreme cases, the lime scale buildup can clog your plumbing entirely. The combination of pressure and corrosion will cause damage to your pipes, including holes and fractures from all the mineral deposits. You could go with a temporary solution such as over-the-counter chemical products designed to clear out pipes, but that doesn’t necessarily prevent future problems. Rather, whole house filters offer convenient solutions that permanently remove harmful minerals from your water for every room of your home.

Excessively Dry Hair and Skin

Hardwater-dry

Image Credit: www.flickr.com

Fill up a bottle with tap water, add some dish soap and shake vigorously. If you have a difficult time making suds appear, you most likely have hard water. One of the most frequent complaints associated with hard water is the damaging effect it has on hair and skin. Because materials in hard water make it more difficult for suds to appear and do their jobs, soaps and personal care products used in the bathroom will not work as efficiently, making it harder for the products to moisturize your hair.

Plus, the minerals in hard water will naturally leach moisture from your hair and skin. Until you install a whole house filter, your next best option is use a chelating shampoo that contains the ingredient EDTA. You could also try making your own vinegar-based shampoo and conditioner that will work to break up the mineral deposits in your hair and skin, much like the method used to treat lime scale in bathrooms.

Strange and Unusual Water Taste

Hardwater-taste

Image Credit: www.flickr.com

The presence of various minerals and compounds in hard water can have a noticeable effect on the way it tastes. For example, high levels of chlorides in water (usually put in place to keep it potable) can leave it with a salty taste. Hydrogen sulfide in water can lend a bit of a rotten egg odor, sulfuric taste, and actually accelerate pipe corrosion.
Sodium is also a frequent culprit behind salty water taste, and can lead to blood pressure and hypertension problems if you drink too much over a long period of time. Due to their molecular composition, some of these materials in hard water can’t be removed by boiling water. Again, this is where whole house filters come in handy.

Whether hard water is detrimental to your overall health is debatable, but there’s no doubt that it can lead to excessive household damage and unpleasant taste. Look into whole house filters for eradicating pesky contaminants from your entire home.

5 Ways to Stick To An Exercise Plan

take early class gym bagWe’re starting in on the third week of the year, so how’s your exercise routine going? Did you take a CrossFit challenge or a make a Daily Yoga resolution? Did you stock up on essential workout gear, but only feel guilty when you look at it? This is about the time of the month when most people begin to falter in their resolutions, especially those surrounding workouts. The weather is still pretty chilly, especially if you’re up early before work, and the sun is still setting too early for an early evening run in the sun. We understand how challenging it can be to stick to your exercise resolutions, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways you can actually stick to your workout plan this year.

1) Start Walking More

Guess what, it’s not that hard to walk more! And yes, walking is exercise, just ask Subway’s Jared Fogle or the Iowa man who lost weight by walking 45 minutes a day, despite eating only McDonald’s. A balance between food and exercise is the best way to stay healthy, and adding in additional walking is a great part of a healthy lifestyle. Head over to Google Maps or Map My Run and see which of your local haunts are only a mile or two away. You should also do things like challenge yourself to park in the back of the parking lot, and always take the stairs. Those extra steps will really add up.

2) Change Your Commute

This extra walking leads to the next exercise plan – the commute! Are you able to take public transportation or a bicycle to work? Public transportation is good because it forces you to walk or bike more, rather than just sitting in your car for 15 minutes every morning. Even better is a bicycle commute. Try to incorporate a bike ride to work once a week, possibly even with a friend who lives nearby. Eventually you will look forward to that bike ride, especially when you miss all the rush hour traffic! Grab yourself a stylish but comfortable workout bag and plan to change and shower at the office that day.

3) Take Classes (With a Friend)

We all make it through about 2 weeks at the gym before we’re tired and bored, but with a social reason to go to the gym, it’s a lot easier to keep it up. Find a kickboxing, barre, or yoga class that fits into your schedule. Get to know your teacher, and she’ll begin to expect you in the class on a regular basis. Then, when you’re starting to feel too lazy to attend, enlist a friend to join you. You’ll be a lot more interested in a 7am spin class when you’ve got a friend relying on you to show up.

4) Join or Create a Challenge

So maybe you and a friend decided to sign up for workout classes, but as it turns out, neither of you is the most reliable workout partner. Instead of accepting missed workouts, make it into a challenge. Bet on who can make it to the most workouts each month or year, or season. Challenge your workout buddy to make each class a little more interesting with harder gears, higher leg lifts, and heavier weights. It’s fun to label it as a “30-Day Workout Challenge,” or to bet on who can ride the furthest distance over the course of 30 days in spin class. Simply put something like the next cocktail party, happy hour, concert, or mani-pedi on the line. Whoever loses pays! A little extra motivation is good for everyone.

5) Make a Plan You’re Forced to Stick To

This means sign up to run a half marathon, join a kickball league, or sign up to walk a 5k with your mom. Signing up for something, especially if you join a team or sign up with a partner, is one of the easiest ways to stick to an exercise plan! Running your first half marathon? Follow a detailed training plan for beginners. Walking a 5K with your mom? Meet her every Saturday to walk around the park together. Joining a coed league in your area? Have a friend, roommate, or spouse join with you and you’ll get a workout and a social night out of the house. Every time you want to stay home, remember the $150 fee you paid, and the people you’re letting down.