Pinteresting Picks for March

Slowly but surely, we’re easing our way into spring. According to our Pinterest followers, some home maintenance is underway and a little summer planning is starting flower in our minds. Here are our Pinteresting picks for March.Lodge-log-shelves

Why put up a regular shelf when you can put up a log shelf? Give your home a cabin feel without ever leaving the city with the?Lodge Log Shelves. The realistic look of chopped wood that adds a touch of nature to any home. They’re sturdy enough to hold books or any of your rustic treasures.turtle-stepping-stones

Keeping critters in your garden can help keep your plants safe.?These adorable Mosaic Stepping Stones come as a family of turtles or a family of frogs. Each piece is set with glass mosaic chips that reflect the sunlight for an eye-catching effect. While they’re lovely to look at they also give walkers a place to put their feet so they won’t damage your flowers.Easy-change-artwork-frames

Granny and gramps will be so excited to have a special frame to show off work from their little artists. It’s easy to change the art and there’s a built-in mat to keep to work straight. The wooden frame is inscribed with sentiments and has enough space for about 42 pieces behind the display.floating-water-bar
Floating the water never tasted so good. This Floating Water Bar lets you bring the party in the pool — it even comes with floating chairs so it’s like being in a bar only better! It’s perfect for lounging on a sunny afternoon or it can be a great addition to your next party.

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

We can’t help but think about planning our gardens and getting outside now that it’s finally spring. And the weather we want was exactly what was on our minds while flipping through the catalog pointing out our top product picks for the week:


Bronze-finished Solar-Lighted Birdbath has a classic style that adds a graceful accent to your landscaping. The bowl is shaped like a lily pad, and a leafy branch rises from the center to provide birds with a place to perch. A songbird statue completes the birdbath. At night, a solar-powered LED light illuminates the base. Additional reflectors multiply and enhance the light. The light automatically turns on at dusk.


Lodge Log Shelves have the realistic look of chopped wood that adds a touch of nature to your home. Buy one or several to store or display books, collectibles, framed photos and more.


Set of 2 Insulated Wine Tumblers features double-walled construction to keep your drink cool longer. It also keeps the glass from sweating in your hand or on a table. These unique glasses have wine-glass shapes built into the interior. They have lids that slide open and closed with a push. The lids prevent spills and keep insects and dirt out of your beverage.


Create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility with this Set of 3 Harmony Bells. Each iron bell is fitted with a wooden clapper to produce a soothing sound. The rustic brass finish shimmers like burnished gold in the sun. Perfect as a garden ornament hanging from a hook near your door or a tree branch anywhere in your yard! Comes on a thick rope hanger.


Folding Deck Table sets up in seconds and folds down flat when not in use. This attractive wood table comes with metal clamps and brackets that easily secure it to a porch or deck railing. Great for outdoor entertaining, the folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space.

Folding Deck Table sets up in seconds and folds down flat when not in use. This attractive wood table comes with metal clamps and brackets that easily secure it to a porch or deck railing. Great for outdoor entertaining, the folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space.

Tips for Shopping for a Hot Water Heater

Hot-water-heaterHot water heaters don’t last forever, but they do last a long time; over the lifetime of a water heater technology changes. So what are the options now? Here are some tips for shopping for a hot water heater.


Easy and Quick vs The Best Longer Term Decision

If you are considering the purchase of a new water heater, odds are there has been a problem with your old one.

With that thought in mind, let’s be upfront. It will be cheaper and easier to replace your water heater with a similar model to what you previously had. At least for today. The reasons are easy to understand. You currently have the wiring, ventilation and plumbing in place to just change it out. Find a similarly sized water heater and you can replace it relatively cheaply and quickly. But is it your best long term move?

Probably not.

Your Options

You can choose a traditional storage tank gas water heater that heats water pretty quickly, but it may not be energy efficient. It also will not likely last as long as a solar water heater. If you currently have a gas water, it is easy to replace, but wouldn’t you rather improve than just replace?

A traditional storage tank electric heater takes longer to heat water, and other than better insulation these days, they are pretty much the same technology that has been used for years.

That leads us to tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters were touted as being a way in which users could save energy. The think was they would only use the energy absolutely needed to heat the water they needed right now. The problem is, it takes more energy overall to keep heating the same amount of water as your traditional tank heaters. If you are going tankless throughout your whole house, it will not only be energy inefficient, but if you have a large family it may have trouble keeping up.

In moderate climates, a heat-pump water heater could be a viable option. A heat pump water heater uses the heat in the air to directly heat your water. It does this rather than converting it into heat through a heating element. These types of water heaters are expensive to buy and install, but can significantly save you long term on your water heating costs.

Solar-water-heaterWhen it comes to solar powered water heaters, other than an initially higher cost of purchase and installation, there are few downsides. You will, after all, be using the free energy of the sun to heat your water, which can account for upwards of 15% of your total energy bill. When it comes to solar water heater systems, you have several choices. Your decision may be based on usage and where you live. The U.S. Department of Energy has an easy to read and understand explanation and graphics that detail your choices.

You should take into consideration that many custom built homes today employ the use of solar water heating systems. That is a pretty valuable indicator of the trends that lie ahead.

Ken Uhrich likes energy efficient houses. In fact he lives in one. You can contact him at the Custom Home Group website

Administrative Professionals’ Day Gift Ideas


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Start planning now — Administrative Professionals Day is less than a month away! It?s the day we say thank you for all the hard work and support from our Administrative Professionals with Unique Gift Ideas. Here are a few ideas to show your appreciation.


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The Gift of Relaxation

Show some consideration with homemade bath fizzies.? They?re easy to make, but your administrative professional will be grateful that you put so much thought into a feel-good gift.

What you need:

  • 2 tsp unsweetened powdered lemonade
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 box baking soda
  • Food coloring
  • 4 tsp baby oil

What you do:

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine the baby oil with 4-6 drops of food coloring in a separate bowl. Slowly add the oil to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well-combined. Form balls about 1? in diameter or press portions into a baking mold to make fun shapes.? Let stand on wax or parchment paper for at least one day. Throw those in a bathtub of water and you?ll have an effervescent evening.

Quilted-on-the-go-pursesGift of Go

For the administrative professional 249 Streaming dead hard drive recovery with a Public Policy Impact . who doesn?t stop even off the clock, the Quilted On-the-Go Purse will keep her out and about when the work day is over. It?s a fashion accessory that?s fully functional with multiple interior pockets and a zipper to close it up. The adjustable strap is long enough for cross-body wear so she can wear it with confidence on the bus, train or car.

Gift of Guard

For the reader, you may not know what your administrative professional wants to read, but you know how to protect what it?s being casino online read it on. You can?t go wrong with a monogram case for an electronic reader. On the outside, you can choose a letter for the monogram and on the inside, there?s a notepad with a slot to hold a pen. It all stays secure with a magnetic closure to keep it safe in a purse, backpack or briefcase.


Gift of FlavorHomemade-Vanilla

If your administrative professional bakes, a really nice gift is homemade vanilla extract. The only real work involved is figuring out what type of vanilla bean to use and letting it sit ? but to a baker, having homemade vanilla is something special.

What you need:

  • 5- 7 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup vodka, rum or brandy
  • Cute 10oz gift bottle.

What you do:

With a knife, split the vanilla beans in half.

Slip the beans into the bottle and pour the alcohol over the beans. Close the bottle.?Let it steep for 8 weeks and shake it once in a while.?Add a gift tag that says, ?Do Not Open Until ?? and write in the date.?Homemade vanilla extract is adorable and useful ? and it?s better than store-bought vanilla extract.

Glass-watering-stakesGift of Green

?For the indoor gardener, you may not know what?s being planted, but you can help with the watering with glass watering stakes.? Fill these clever glass figurines with water, place them in the planter and the water drips evenly into the soil for maintenance-free gardening.? It adds beauty and removes hassle.

Do It Yourself Kitchens: How to Install Your Own Granite Countertop


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Granite countertops are a luxurious and functional addition to any kitchen or bath. In the past, installing granite was a job for the pros, with custom fabrication and installation costs running to thousands of dollars. Now, however, several companies offer do?it yourself granite countertop kits that you can install yourself, achieving professional results at a fraction of the cost. This step-by-step installation guide will help you get?expert results with your granite countertops.

Measure and Order Your Countertops

Before you start, make sure your cabinets are level, and securely anchored to the floor and walls. If your walls aren’t square, you’ll need to make allowances in your measurements. Use craft paper to make an exact template of your countertops, including lines for the sink and any other custom cutouts you need. Be sure to include a one to one and a half-inch overhang for the edges facing the cabinets. Select your granite color, and place your order based on your template.

Prepare Your Cabinets for the Granite

You’ll need to install a ? inch sheet of plywood on your cabinet tops to support the weight of the granite. Cut the plywood so that it lies even with the edge of the cabinet face; you do not want any overhang. Make sure wood is square and level. Screw the plywood in place using pilot holes?to prevent cracking the wood.

Working with the Granite Slabs

Find a safe place to store the granite slabs upright while you work, and find a partner to help?granite is very heavy and breakable. Carefully set the granite in place to make sure the pieces fit properly. Trace the sink hole and any other custom cuts onto the plywood sub-counter. Remove the granite, and use a drill to create a pilot hole in the marked sink cutout. Using a jigsaw, cut out from the pilot hole to create a hole for the sink. Drop in and install the sink.

Replace the Granite and Prepare to Glue

Place the granite slabs on the counter, and press any seams tightly together. Fine-tune the leveling, since all the seams must be absolutely level before gluing. Use 1-1/2 inch screws beneath the plywood to make minute adjustments to the height of the granite, and measure continuously until the seams are smooth and level.

Glue the Granite in Place

Have your helpers lift the granite up, and apply silicone around the edges of the plywood using one-inch dollops every six to 12 inches around the perimeter. Lay a bead of caulk around the outer edge of the sink, and another bead on top of the sink to seal the granite side. Lower the granite slabs into place and make sure they are level and the seams are tightly matched.

Glue the Seams

Tape around either side of the seams with blue painter’s tape. Choose at least three colors to match the granite, and mix a little of each into separate dollops of resin. Mix with a putty knife, continually checking the resin color against the granite. When you have three satisfactory shades, add hardener to a mixture of three percent hardener and 97 percent resin. Using your putty knife, work quickly to dab and smooth the resin into the seams; you will only have about five minutes before the resin starts to harden. Start with the medium-hued shade, and then add dabs of the lighter color, using the darkest color last until you have a natural-looking match.

Finishing Touches

Immediately remove the tape so it doesn’t dry into the resin. After about an hour, smooth out the seams using a seam stone. Rub the stone in small circles using firm, steady pressure until the seams are sleek and smooth. Wipe the countertops down with warm soapy water to remove any grit. Protect your investment with a stone care system like Rock Doctor.

Use only granite-friendly cleaning products, and don’t expose your countertops to extreme temperatures. Granite countertops are a beautiful, durable way to update your home.

4 Tips for Home Organization


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 Some of us just get organizing. It’s easy. For the rest of us, there is just no hope. You have great intentions and then all of a sudden you ask yourself–how did it get this bad? Don’t worry, we understand. We’ve got 4 tips for home organization to help you with all your spring cleaning this season.

1. Cabinets of Discord In order to clean, you must have cleaning products, but finding them in the cabinet under the sink may prove to be a challenge. Putting in an extra sliding shelf to compartmentalize an open cabinet can help keep cleaning products neat and manageable.


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2. If You Can’t Stand the Mess, Stay Out of the Kitchen Making use of the kitchen means making a mess of the kitchen. And if you?re an avid cook, the number of items you need to make that perfect meal are endless. Unfortunately, space is endless. Adding an organizer to your pots and pans cabinet will straighten out all your new gadgets. You won?t have to spend so much time looking for what you need for your next great meal — time you can spend on cooking it.

3. Book Worm’s Dilemma All of the indoor time this winter made it convenient to read more books, and more books means less space. It would be easy enough to bring in another book shelf, but it does little good if you don?t have a place for it. Consider making space for your books on that blank wall where you haven?t been able to find a picture for. A?wine box book shelf or a floating book shelf?lets you keep your books, adds decoration and gives you more surface area for any new treasures you haven?t found a place for yet.


4. Crossing the Threshold without Chaos Your entryway doesn’t have to look like a storage area. You can tastefully make use of this space with accordion coat hooks or a mounted coat rack. A two-tier table gives you a spot to put shoes and bags so you don?t track dirt into your spring-clean home. Keeping your outdoor items in their place allows for less clutter in the more comfortable rooms in your home.

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

It’s officially spring! We’re excited about our new products and though it’s not warm in every part of the country, we have warm thoughts looking at the catalog. Here are the items we adore this week.


Enjoy a break from your hectic life and relax in our Swinging Chair Hammock. Hang it from a tree or on a stand (not included). Made of cotton canvas, it’s held up by ropes on a wood frame. Features a foam-cushioned seat and back for extra comfort.


From the backyard to the beach, the Take It Anywhere Outdoor Table lets you kick back in style. Steel table keeps cocktails, sodas, snacks, BBQ servings and more nearby as you relax on a lawn chair, beach lounger or other outdoor furniture. Just stake it firmly in the ground or sand and you’re ready to enjoy your food or beverage. You can also use it as a spot for sunglasses, tanning lotion, books and more. Top handle makes it easy to transport and to pull out when you leave.


You’ll be glad you have these 12-Pc. Mini Taster Glass Server Sets when it comes time for your next party. Each set includes 6 pieces of glass serveware, 6 pieces of 18/0 stainless steel silverware and a recipe card. Bowl & Spoon Set is perfect for desserts, fruit cups, quiches and more. Recipe included for Eggplant and Garlic Baba Ghanoush. Bowls, Plate & Fork Set can be used for snacks, hors d’oeuvres and more. Recipe included for Creamy Dill Cucumber Toasties. Plates, Shot & Spoon Set and Tini & Spoon Set are both great for desserts, drinks and more.


Babble Ball Pet Toy is an interactive ball that talks or makes realistic animal sounds when your pup plays with it. Motion-activated toy is so sensitive, it can be triggered by your dog breathing on it or just by the vibration of your dog walking past it. When play is finished, it turns off automatically and waits to be touched again. Animal Babble Ball sounds include pig, cow, cat and more. Talking Babble Ball includes funny wisecracks like, “Hey, what are you doing?”,”Hot diggity dog!”, “I’m gonna get you!” and more.


Solar Animal Repeller is the humane way to stop pests from damaging your yard, garden or property. It eliminates the need for cruel traps and poisons, plus it’s easy to install. Just stake it in the ground and it charges in sunlight to activate a built-in infrared motion detector. When pests come within its 20-foot detection range, it triggers powerful, ultrasonic waves that turn animals away. It only activates when motion is detected, so it can run around the clock when charged. Stake it in your lawn, near your garbage cans or near any spot where animals cause destruction.

Signs Your Lawn is Toxic

You might not think of something as benign as your lawn in terms of being toxic or not, but the truth is that it can very well be the case. A lawn can be considered toxic for a number of reasons, but the results are always detrimental. Here are signs your lawn is toxic and what to do if it is.

bermuda grass

Sleepy Grass?One reason your lawn could be toxic is due to a type of vegetation known as sleepy grass. It?s found throughout the Midwest and in southern states like Texas and New Mexico as well as Hawaii. Sleepy grass prefers to grow in dry soil.

While it doesn?t look problematic, sleepy grass has a fungus in it which contains ergoline compounds. Lysergic acid amide is a good example of this. Scientists believe it is this fungus that causes the sedative effects in any mammals that ingest it. As the name suggests, they literally fall asleep.

Bermuda Grass?Bermuda grass is another example of a type of grass you want nowhere near your lawn, although it looks plain enough. The texture of Bermuda grass is indistinguishable from other common varieties. It has a grayish green color and a short build.

The plant isn?t actually from Bermuda. It?s an invasive species there and has caused all kinds of problems. Because it?s believed the grass traveled from Bermuda to America, it was given the name of the island.

This grass likes warmer environments, meaning it?s quite at home down south. It grows quickly and it?s extremely tough. Bermuda grass is great for sports fields because it can take damage and quickly recover. However, it?s also believed that Bermuda grass is quite toxic and, if you don?t like the way it looks, you?ll have a hard time ridding yourself of it. This is a very common type of grass in the south and Florida — a lawn care program in Pinellas County is a must! West central Florida is right off of the gulf and the weather stays warm all year yet we have plenty of rainfall which allows this plant to grow very rapidly.

Organochlorines?Unfortunately, sometimes you?re to blame for your yard being toxic. You add certain substances to your yard with the best of intentions, but these chemicals end up being the last thing they need. In the end, your yard becomes toxic.

Organochlorines are a good example. These chemicals include toxic compounds like aldrin, DDT, chloroform, tetrachloroethylene, PCBs, heptachlor and dieldrin.

These chemicals can have positive effects in terms of lawn care on a short term scale. However, over the long term, their presence can be destructive to all forms of life. If you have pets that enjoy your lawn, they?ll be especially at risk. Even you and your family can suffer the consequences of these chemicals. Your symptoms could include nausea, anemia, lung damage, convulsions, central nervous system damage, hypertension, and even cancer.

Solutions?Fortunately, there?s plenty you can do. First, learn to recognize the aforementioned toxic grass. The first step is knowing if you have it. Keep in mind, depending on how much of a lawn you have on your property, you may not notice either type as an invasive species.

So one way to deal with it is simply to dig it out and remove it altogether, replacing it with a healthier, more natural form of grass. But this invasive method is very expensive. Instead, try using an all natural product on it that can kill it off. You can also use all natural methods like mowing and irrigation to dry out the toxic grass and only the toxic grass, leaving everything else just fine.

When it comes to toxic chemicals that could be in your lawn, your one and only solution is to switch over to a non-toxic alternative. There are many ways to handle your lawn without using harmful chemicals. This includes conditioning it long before it can become an issue. Take the proper steps prior to your growing season and you?ll have a much better lawn to look forward to.

If you?re like most people, you?re probably a bit surprised by what can be lurking outside your front door. Fortunately, there?s plenty you can do to catch the problem before it becomes destructive or dangerous. Just look for the above signs and follow an organic regimen to rid yourself of the problem.

>Pete Kontakos is a certified wrestling coach and has experience in the retail industry and restaurant industry as a General and District manager.

7 Foods You Thought Were Bad for You But Aren’t

Eating healthy can be a challenge. If it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it might take a long time to prepare. However, there are some foods that just look too good to be true. But, in all reality are good for you. Here is a list of 7 foods that are actually good for you.

GuacamoleGuacamole The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado which is full of fat but it’s good fat that not only doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it can also help lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin E. In addition to avocados, guacamole also contains onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tomatoes are widely considered a super-food; they contain lycopene, vitamins A, C and E. Mix it all together and you have a cancer-fighting, heart-disease-battling dip.

Sweet Potato Fries Sweet potatoes are associated with carbohydrates which can scare away any dieter, but those orange tubers are packed with nutrients and they don’t contain nearly as much starch as rice or corn. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A (and Beta-carotene). Beta-carotene protects the body’s immune system and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. While adding fat through deep-frying isn’t ideal, in moderation the benefits outweigh the consequences. However, baked sweet potato fries are just as tasty as the fried ones.

Blueberry-SmoothieYogurt Blueberry Smoothie Smoothies get a bad rap for being high-calorie sugar shakes, but if you use yogurt instead of ice cream, they won?t be so bad. They can actually be quite good for you. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which prevents the production of cell-damaging free radicals. They’re also anti-inflammatories. Yogurt promotes intestinal health as it’s full of probiotics and the active cultures help prevent yeast infections. You can add banana for texture and potassium and orange juice as a sweetener and for some vitamin C. Just hit puree and you have a shake for cancer to contend with.

Pork Rinds Deep fried pig skin. Sounds heart-stopping- deadly, doesn’t it? Well, unlike their potato counterparts, pork rinds contain no carbohydrates. The other good news: the bad fat in the skin is rendered off in the cooking process leaving behind almost pure protein.

Peanut-Butter-CupsPeanut Butter Cups You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! Together, they taste like strength. Peanut butter is a protein rich food that helps build and repair muscle. It also has cholesterol-lowering, healthy fats and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants. Wrapped in dark chocolate, this may be the perfect food. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function and reduce the risk for stroke. A peanut butter cup made with the right ingredients does a body good.

Coffee Coffee doesn’t just wake you up in the morning, it can give your brain a boost. It actually stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as improve your memory and cognitive function. But a cup of Joe can give your whole body a kick start as well. The long term benefits may include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer?s and Parkinson?s disease.

Fried Food Fried food not only tastes good, but it?s good for you, too. Sort of. It depends on what is being fried. Something like battered and fried broccoli isn’t so bad despite that it’s cloaked in fat. But foods that contain carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins like A and K need fat it helps the body absorbs the nutrients. What makes the frying bad is the type of fat. It’s better to stick to oils like canola and safflower that are made up of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. The bad fats like butter and shortening (trans fats) should be avoided. They increase cholesterol significantly.

Ideas to Make Your Garden Shed Unique

It?s time to think about spring home improvement projects to beautify your home for summer.


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If you?re thinking about adding to your garden or improving it, a great way to dress up or create new focal points by adding a garden shed. Other than the small structure holding all your gardening tools, it can become a showpiece. It doesn?t take much time or money to create anything from a cute dollhouse or an eye-catching central point.?

By the addition of windows, window flower boxes and shrubbery, a garden shed can begin to look more elaborate. Go rustic by planting a climbing vine to cover part of your shed; it?ll add some country charm. To give your shed more class, use tastefully colored paints to create a very enchanting cottage.


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If you don?t want to put too much work into a shed you already have, a splash of paint can dress it up. With an earthy red and blue or green highlighted trim and casino online a greenish yellow door, you can make it energetic or toned down. A new coat of paint can always create a new look without breaking the bank.? If you are the artistic type, start with a beige building and paint on vines or floral decorations. But if you don?t have the knack for free-hand painting, you can always use stencils and get the same result.

Adding a lean-to with inside access for a small greenhouse will make a garden shed both elegant and functional for your delicate plants. Or, if you organize the contents of the shed, your garden shed can also double as a playhouse for your kids.


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Not only can a garden shed be a versatile and practical building but also can create an ambiance encompassing your gardens. Best of all, it does not have to cost a bundle!