Consumer Real Estate News

    • 7 Foods You Should Never Microwave

      26 June 2019

      For most of us, warming a cup of coffee or zapping a frozen dinner in the microwave has become a way of life. But some foods can turn ugly - even deadly - when microwaved. Here’s a list of seven foods you should never cook in the microwave:

      Whole eggs - When microwaved, the radio waves enter the egg directly, causing steam to be released from the egg. An exploding egg and a messy, smelly clean-up could result. Take the time to boil the egg instead.

      Frozen fruit - The microwaving process converts some of the fruit’s healthiest properties into carcinogens that compromise the immune system. Take fruit out of the freezer and let it defrost at its own pace.

      Raw rice - Rice is meant to be boiled. It may seem an easy option to microwave it, but rice can be the hosts of certain bacteria. Cooking in boiling water destroys these bacteria, whereas microwaving may not - and this could potentially lead to food poisoning.

      A mug of water - At the very least, be careful. When you heat a mug of water in the microwave, it can superheat even without boiling. When you add a tea bag or stir the water, it boils rapidly all at once, which can cause it to spill or explode, leading to big-time burns. 

      Raw frozen meat - Everyone has occasionally realized they forgot to take meat out the freezer for dinner. But safely microwaving frozen meats is tricky. If the heat doesn't distribute evenly, which is almost always the case, you end up with hot spots and still-frozen spots, and the growth of dangerous bacteria.

      Broccoli - While most veggies can be happily cooked in the microwave, broccoli isn’t one of them. Microwaving broccoli destroys much of its nutrients. Steaming broccoli keeps the nutrients where they belong. 

      Leftover Chinese takeout - It isn’t dangerous, but reheating those delicious Chinese leftovers in the microwave invariably makes them soggy and less tasty. For best results, heat them slowly on the stove top.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Lightning Safety for the Summer Season

      26 June 2019

      With summer underway, storm season is looming. It's important to consider how severe summer weather can impact your family and home, and this includes not only wind and rain, but also lightning. Georgia Power offers the following safety tips when severe weather and lightning is in the forecast:

      - Seek shelter inside away from doors and windows.

      - Avoid electronic equipment of all types, including landline phones, as lightning can travel through electrical systems.

      - Avoid indoor water use during a thunderstorm. Lightning can travel through plumbing.

      - Never touch any downed or low hanging wires, and never pull tree limbs off power, telephone or cable lines after a storm.

      - Never go near chain link fences – downed power lines or lightning strikes may energize the entire length of the fence. 

      - Never walk into areas where crews are at work. If driving near work crews, obey road signs and proceed cautiously.

      Source: Georgia Power

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Invite the Outdoors In

      26 June 2019

      (Family Features)--Despite the comfort and convenience it affords, modern society is contributing to a vanishing relationship with the natural environment. However, there are plenty of ways to bring nature indoors to reap the benefits of an earthy connection inside your home.

      According to a survey commissioned by the Velux Group, a gap is growing between the time Americans spend outdoors and the time they'd like to spend in nature.

      In the United States, 63 percent of survey participants said they average one hour or less a week in nature, but 88 percent agreed they would like to spend more time. In addition, the majority of respondents said they believe nature, daylight and fresh air have a positive impact on stress levels, and most also agreed those factors have a positive impact on mental well-being. 

      "Exposure to nature such as trees, plants and views of open spaces has been found to improve the cognitive ability to focus and read social cues," says Arie Greenleaf, associate professor of counseling at Seattle University. "Even ADHD symptoms in children are mitigated by views of and interactions with nature in a host of different ways. Worker productivity, how people feel about the work they do and the level of engagement, improves with a view of nature."

      Despite ample research demonstrating the benefits, the study revealed a common theme, with 85 percent of participants believing they spent more time in nature as children than children do today. That's a trend that translates into adult habits, too.

      "With work and family responsibilities, we can't always fit spending time outside into our busy schedules, effectively making us the indoor generation," says Peter Foldbjerg, head of Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate for The Velux Group. "One thing we can do is improve how our homes connect to nature. From houseplants and nature-inspired art to skylights and screened porches, there are a wide variety of options for creating nature connections in the place we spend most of our time - our homes."

      Learn how to bring more nature into your home with these decorating and design ideas:

      Houseplants. Living plants not only add a touch of the outdoors, but they also help clean the air inside your home. In smaller spaces, even a few pots of herbs can add a refreshing touch of nature. If flat surfaces and floor space are at a premium, get creative with your wall space and incorporate shelving and wall-mounted planters.

      Sunshine and fresh air. Whether it's from windows or skylights, bringing natural light and fresh air inside can keep your space fresh and inviting. There are scientifically proven correlations between natural light exposure and mood, as well as your body's ability to maintain its circadian rhythm. Refreshing the air in your home can help eliminate volatile organic compounds, pet dander and microparticles from cooking and cleaning.

      If your home is lacking in natural light, a skylight may be easier to add than a window, and skylights bring in twice as much light as vertical windows; their angle allows more of the sun's rays to reach farther into the room. Some skylights also offer venting options that can contribute to cleaner air.

      Nature-inspired art. Studies have shown that simply viewing photos or paintings of nature scenes has mental and physical benefits. You can also use decorative mirrors to reflect natural light and make a space feel larger and brighter.

      Botanically inspired patterns. Look to pillows, area rugs and wallpaper to incorporate patterns inspired by flowers, foliage or landscapes outside. These decorative elements can boost your spirits and create a welcoming environment indoors by reflecting the outdoor world.

      Natural materials. Sisal rugs and baskets, wood planking and stone countertops or side tables can add texture and a touch of the natural world to your interiors. These materials let you incorporate nature into your design aesthetic with natural textures that not only look stylish but feel great, too.

      Source: Velux

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Connect with Nature at Work

      25 June 2019

      (Family Features)--If you work outside your home, at least a third of your day may have you stuck inside an office. Make your work environment more appealing with these ideas that let you embrace nature even while you're on the clock.

      Incorporate natural life with a desk plant. You may feel more refreshed by that touch of green, and it helps clean the air around you, too. 

      Find the sunlight. Today's offices actively promote free-range working, so find a sofa near a window and get your best work done there. Or spend a few hours working outside each day. If your office design is behind the times, take a daily walk outside during your lunch break.

      Surround yourself with natural materials. Transform your desk-scape with a bamboo monitor stand, stone smartphone holder or woven seagrass inbox.

      Trick the senses with natural soundscapes. Earbuds are a must in today's open-plan offices. Instead of playing music, escape with nature-inspired tunes like rain, wind in the trees or forest birds.

      Select art influenced by Mother Nature. Decorate with nature-inspired art, whether it's photos of landscapes or a sunflower print.

      Source: Velux

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Renting a Vacation Home? Bring These 5 Items

      25 June 2019

      It’s vacation time, and the whole family is looking forward to the change of scene. But lake or beach house kitchens are notoriously hit and miss when it comes to kitchen amenities. Before you set off down the road and wind up at the end of your journey with a great bottle of wine and no reasonable way to open it, check out this list of kitchen helpers you should not leave your own home without:

      Two good knives - If you’re planning to cook, you won’t want to be stuck with knives that can’t cut butter. A decent chef’s knife and paring knife won’t take up much room and will make your kitchen prep time easier.

      Corkscrew - You don’t need anything fancy, but a classic corkscrew - and maybe a sturdy can and bottle opener - will ensure you get your favorite liquid refreshment, whatever it happens to be.

      Vegetable peeler - You can use a knife to peel those ‘taters if you have to, but a peeler takes up little space and makes the chore of peeling veggies far easier and quicker.

      Coffee maker or French press - If you can’t start your day without that just-right cup of joe, don’t rely on what passes for a coffee maker in many vacation home kitchens. Take your coffee maker with you, or get an inexpensive French press, so you can savor the brew along with the view.

      Plastic bags and storage containers - If you’ve ever been stranded in a lake or beach house with no way to store your leftovers, save yourself a repeat and take some plastic gear with you. For that matter, pack sturdy paper plates and plastic cutlery and save yourself (or someone else) a lot of dishwashing time. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.