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‘Safecation’ tips for a summer vacation at home

This summer will be undeniably different than previous ones, but taking that time off is as important as ever.

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Photo by @kirillz from Unsplash.com

With summer on the horizon, people have begun thinking about vacation plans. And many are trying to figure out how it’s all going to work this year, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend so much of life.

This summer will be undeniably different than previous ones, but taking that time off is as important as ever, says J. Gerald Suarez, professor of the practice in systems thinking and design at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

“COVID-19 has melted our concept of normalcy and turned our traditional vacations and leisure activities into a high-risk proposition,” says Suarez. “Seeking a ‘safecation’ begins with our desire to reinvigorate our spirit and recharge our soul, and this can happen anywhere we are.”

The emotional toll of the pandemic and the mix of powerful emotions it is triggering – such as fear, guilt, worry caused by the loss of life, financial vulnerability and job insecurity – are like a psychological Molotov cocktail, Suarez says. Add to these worries the responsibility of homeschooling their children, daily house tasks, adapting to new technologies and the demands of virtual work, and it can get to be a bit much.

All of these factors play into why taking advantage of that time off is so necessary, Suarez says. “We’ve lost our sense of stability, and the demarcations between home life and work life are blurred,” says Suarez. “We’ve been working in overdrive with no transitions and decompression time from work to our home.”

Pandemic-era vacations won’t be like the ones we are used to, Suarez says. But the reasons why vacations are important and the benefits they offer remain unchanged.

Flatten the curve, not your dreams. Indulging your fear initiates a cycle of unproductive worry. Worry exists in our imagination through images and narratives of something going wrong, says Suarez. We can channel that energy and gain a sense of control if we change the images to desired positive outcomes. Planning a vacation gives us permission to dream, and its details give us a sense of control and something to look forward to with anticipation and excitement.

Put yourself on digital quarantine. Disengage from stressful activities and place your needs at the top of your list of priorities, Suarez says. Reduce the overstimulation and bombardment of information brought to us by social media. Disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself.

View the world through the eyes of a traveler.
Recalibrate your perspective and appreciate the moment with mindfulness. Traveling forces us to see differences among things that are similar or familiar. We can accomplish the same by looking at our surroundings through the eyes of a traveler, Suarez says. Changing your patterns and performing your routine in a different room in the house can help in creating a modified experience in your habitual setting. These simple tasks may stimulate and invigorate you in unexpected ways, he says.

Creating a modified vacation experience must be done with a sense of optimism, embracing the possibilities of your surroundings and most importantly trusting your resiliency to adapt and derive joy from it. Here are some first steps Suarez recommends to move in that direction:

  • Explore nature
  • Read books not related to work
  • Take on new physical fitness challenges
  • Rearrange the furniture in your house, give it a new look
  • Engage the family in fun and interactive activities

Zest Magazine accepts contributions promoting everything about living the good life (and how to make this so). C'mon, give us a yell.

Home Care

Top tips for your remodeling project

Forget moving house! More homeowners are choosing to ‘stay put’ and enhance their homes instead.

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Photo by @rarchitecture_melbourne from Unsplash.com

Forget moving house! More homeowners are choosing to ‘stay put’ and enhance their homes instead, and the team from MAD Design USA, home of heating and furniture/accessories brands EcoSmart Fire, Heatscope Heaters and BLINDE Design, say now’s the perfect time for a revamp.

US Houzz & Home’s 2022 Renovation Trends report revealed that home renovation activity and spend in the US have reached their highest rates reported since 2018 – and this year more than half of homeowners (55%) plan to renovate while nearly half (46%) plan to decorate.

“The home renovation market is being driven by rising home prices and interest rates, global political and economic uncertainty, and a tight supply of homes for sale, so more people are choosing to remodel rather than relocate,” says Stephane Thomas, Director of MAD Design USA. “Contractors are also in short supply, and supply chain delays are causing materials shortages and higher costs, leading to many homeowners choosing DIY projects to remodel or expand, or to customize their indoor and outdoor spaces and make them more functional, comfortable and enjoyable.”6 tips for a smoother DIY home renovation:

  1. Know what you want to achieve. “For example, create a multi-season outdoor oasis with  an EcoSmart Fire Pit or Fire Table, or a Heatscope electric radiant heater; or  ‘zhuzh’ up your alfresco or interior rooms with new furniture and accessories such as modular sofas, concrete coffee tables or planters,” says Stephane.
  2. Set a realistic budget for what you want to achieve. “There are ways to remodel that won’t break the bank,” Stephane remarks.
  3. Choose products that don’t require high material or labor costs (e.g., plumbing, electricity, structural work). “Our EcoSmart Flex Series of ethanol fireplace inserts require 4 fewer contractors – plus they’re free from traditional installation restrictions, enabling multiple design options,” explains Stephane.
  4. Select companies that provide expert guidance. “It’s important to work with professionals who give great advice. Our team of experts assist with product selection to material sourcing, project reviews to ideas,” Stephane says.
  5. Know what you can DIY. “Rather than making structural changes to a home, MAD Design offers simple and versatile solutions to transform a home easily and without fuss,” says Stephane.
  6. Choose 0% finance through ‘remodel now, pay later’ programs, such as Affirm or Klarna. “You can get your products quickly and start your renovations sooner,” concludes Stephane. “Sign-up is faster, easier and more transparent than credit cards.”
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Home Care

How to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen

Are you in the market for a new bamboo cheese board? If so, you’re in luck! In this post, we will show you how to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen.

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Photo by Mgg Vitchakorn from Unsplash.com

Are you in the market for a new bamboo cheese board? If so, you’re in luck! In this post, we will show you how to choose the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen. So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert when it comes to cheese boards, this blog post is for you!

Bamboo Cheese Boards’ Benefits

A bamboo cheese board is a popular choice for serving cheese and other appetizers. Bamboo cheese boards are environmentally friendly and sustainable. Bamboo is a grass that grows quickly and does not require pesticides or herbicides to thrive. Bamboo serving platters are also durable and can last for years with proper care.

Additionally, bamboo is a very lightweight material, so it’s easy to move around and doesn’t take up much space. They make a great addition to any kitchen or entertaining space.

So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, bamboo is the way to go!

Choosing Tips & Tricks

When choosing a bamboo cheese board for your kitchen, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • First, consider the size of the board. If you entertain often, you’ll want a larger board that can accommodate a variety of cheeses and other foods. But if you’re just looking for a small board for everyday use, a smaller size will suffice.

Extra Large Charcuterie Board from Royal Craft Wood. It includes 10-pieces cutlery set, 10 card holders, 3 ceramic bowls, 2 serving trays. Its dimensions are: 17.5 x 13 x 2.5 inches.

If you have a small kitchen, please, pay attention to the compact traditional Royal Craft Wood’s Bamboo Cheese Board.

  • Second, think about the shape of the board. Round boards are great for serving multiple people, while rectangular boards are better suited for slicing and serving one or two people.
  • Third, remember about special cheese knives, forks, bowls and other cutlery that will help you to deal with snacks. Some cheese platter boards are sold with everything important. Like this cute Cheese Board With Knives.
  • Lastly, consider the style of the board. If you want something that’s both functional and stylish, look for boards with interesting designs or detailing. For example: Rotating Cheese Board With Knives.

So, what’s the best bamboo cheese board for your kitchen? It really depends on your needs and preferences. If you need a little more functionality and like to entertain guests often, go for one of Royal Craft Wood’s plain boards. Thank you for reading!

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Home Care

DIY home upgrades to add style and beauty

Consider these DIY ideas to spruce up your home’s aesthetics and create a more attractive place to live.

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Photo by @spacejoy from Unsplash.com

Home upgrades are necessary for a variety of reasons, but many homeowners look to update their homes to add comfort and beauty. While a complete renovation can be appealing, it can also be costly and time consuming.

However, if you’re willing to take on some of the work yourself, there are ways to upgrade your living spaces to add style (and value) without the assistance of a contractor. Consider these DIY ideas to spruce up your home’s aesthetics and create a more attractive place to live.

Freshen Up Paint

When it comes to simple DIY projects, a new coat of paint can drastically update your spaces without making major renovations. Light colors like gray, beige or white can make smaller spaces feel more open while darker shades like navy and purple can create a dramatic look. If you don’t want (or need) to paint the entire room, adding a pop of color with an accent wall or touching up the trim are quick and easy improvements. Adding paint to a less traditional spot like the ceiling or refreshing cabinets with a new color can also help bring your spaces to life.

Install Mess-Free Stone Accents

If you’re looking to add warmth and texture, easy-to-install stone veneer can provide the look of natural stone without the expense. A mortarless option like ClipStone is designed to be installed with screws and common tools, making it easy to achieve the look of traditional masonry without the hassle and mess. Durable and low maintenance, you don’t have to worry about sealing or painting and it’s a perfect option for exterior or interior installation that can be installed in any weather conditions. Available in a variety of styles and colors, homeowners can mix and match to create a custom look. Plus, it features a built-in water management system, overlapping edges to minimize gaps, reversible outside corners and a variety of available accessories.

Upgrade Window Treatments

Windows can often be overlooked or left with the simple paper shades or aluminum blinds the builder initially installed. Consider replacing them with plantation shutters, wooden blinds or drapes that better suit the style of the room. In addition to blinds, curtains provide another opportunity to add design elements that align with your tastes. From geometric panels to sheers, the possibilities are nearly endless. Or simply match the curtain panels to the color of your walls or an accent color for a look that can match almost any style.

Update Accessories

Cabinet pulls, outlet covers, curtain rods, switch plates and doorknobs are easily ignored, but replacing them can be an inexpensive way to add small touches of elegance to your home. With a variety of designs and finishes to choose from, including bronze, brushed nickel, copper and stainless steel, updating worn pull handles and knobs can create an affordable look that appears expensive. The same is true for metal switch covers and outlet plates. While decorative curtain rods may be on the pricier side, adding a coat of paint in a metallic finish could provide a cheaper alternative.

Improve Curb Appeal

There are a multitude of inexpensive ways to give your home’s exterior a makeover. Start by pressure washing your siding and windows, which can make your house look almost as good as a fresh coat of paint for a fraction of the time and money. Remember to also clean your driveway, patio and walkways to maximize your investment. Pulling weeds, trimming trees and bushes, and patching bald spots in the yard can also go a long way as can planting greenery in front of your home and making landscaping upgrades like adding mulch beds, water features or decorative edging. Another idea: replace your front door or give it a fresh coat of paint to add a pop of color to your porch.

Find more ideas for improving your living spaces at myclipstone.com.

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