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Five Common Energy Wasting Mistakes You May Be Making

Most of us use a lot of energy around our homes every single day without even paying that much attention to it. Some things just come naturally these days and require very little thought, like switching a light on in a room, charging electronic gadgets, or switching on the TV. According to the Department of Energy, the average U.S. household spends around $2,200 per year on energy bills alone. 
But whether you’re hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, the figures on your energy bills, or both, the good news is that there are steps that you can take in order to reduce your energy usage overall. And, what’s better is that proactive energy conservation doesn’t mean sitting in the dark and giving up your laptop. There are many steps that you can take to save energy that will barely make a difference to your everyday consumption habits or experiences. But first of all, it’s important to know where all that energy is being wasted. Here are some of the biggest energy-wasting habits that people have today, and what you can do about them.
Five Energy Wasting Mistakes You May Be Making

#1. Leaving Lights On:

Leaving the lights on around the home is one of the most obvious energy-wasting habits, but the good news is that it’s also one of the most easily fixable. Simply making a habit of turning off the light whenever you leave a room or your home can help you significantly reduce your energy usage and you’ll keep your light bulbs lasting for as long as possible, too. If you think that you might forget, it may be worth investing in a smart home monitoring system that will switch the lights off automatically after the room has been empty for a while, or putting your lights on a timer that’s set to switch off at certain times, for example when you leave for work in the morning or when you’re going to bed at night.
In addition, if you’re using incandescent light bulbs, then you may also be using up more energy than you realize. Simply making the switch over to energy-saving lightbulbs can make a massive difference to the amount that you spend on energy, without compromising on the light quality in your home. Energy Star certified light bulbs use on average 25-80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 25 times as long, saving households an average of $75 each year.

#2. Skipping Maintenance:

There are many systems and appliances around your home that could be using more energy than you realize simply because they’ve not been maintained in a while. For example, a heating system that needs cleaning or needs some minor repairs done to it may still work fine but is actually using more energy than it should. Check out Semper Solaris for heating and air conditioning repair; even minor issues with your HVAC systems can drain energy from your home. Regular HVAC maintenance is also essential; get a professional from a company like Semper Solaris to look over your HVAC systems at least once per year, or as many times as the manufacturer recommends. And finally, if your home’s heating and cooling systems are getting old, they may be using a lot more energy compared to a newer model. Check out the best heating and cooling units for energy efficiency and consider upgrading to them in your home.

#3. Leaving Electronics Plugged In:

Many appliances and electronics will continue to use energy even when they are not in use if they are still plugged into the mains. While appliances such as your fridge and freezer may need to be plugged in all the time to keep the food inside fresh, there are several other electronics and items around your home that don’t need this constant source of power. For example, you may think that you have switched your TV off, but it’s actually in standby, with a small trickle of power supplied to it waiting for you to switch it back on again with the remote – without this power supply, your remote wouldn’t work. Unplugging all electronics when they are not in use can make a difference to your overall energy use, but if you don’t have the time to go around plugging and unplugging your electronics every day, it might be worth investing in a smart power strip, which will cut the supply off when the electronic is not being used.

#4. Water Waste:

There are several different ways that your household could be wasting water without even realizing it. One of the biggest culprits is running the dishwasher when it’s only half full – while you might just want to get your dirty dishes out of the way, running your dishwasher daily when it’s not completely full can add up to around $66 yearly. You can cut this cost down by only running the dishwasher when it’s completely full; if you need some clean dishes beforehand, it’s cheaper to just wash the ones that you need in the sink. And if you don’t like dishes piling up on the side, then load the dishwasher bit by bit – but don’t turn it on every time you put new dishes in unless there’s no room left for anymore.
Another way in which you could be wasting water without realizing it when showering. In fact, did you know that showering for a mere two minutes less will save a massive ten gallons of water? Everybody enjoys a long, hot shower, but doing so could be one of the main ways you’re wasting energy on hot water in your home. If you don’t want to give up your shower time, you might want to consider investing in an energy-efficient shower head that will use less water without compromising on water pressure.
Finally, washing your clothes in hot water is unnecessary and can lead to energy waste. Around 90% of the energy spent by your washing machine is spent heating water, which doesn’t really make sense as most loads will be fine washed in cool or warm water. Unless you really need to do a boil wash, such as if you’re trying to remove oil or grease, stick to low temperatures – it’s often better for your clothes and it costs much less.

#5. Getting the Thermostat Temperature Wrong:

In many households, water temperatures are set far too high and nobody even realizes. This is because the majority of water heaters are set at 140 degrees by default, and most people don’t even think about changing this. But, the Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat at 120 degrees for optimum energy efficiency, so it’s worth bringing it down a touch – and chances are you won’t even notice the difference. And for every 10 degrees you lower the thermostat, you can cut your energy bills by 3-5%.
Another mistake that you might be making when it comes to your thermostat is not programming it. Since heating and cooling consumes almost half of a home’s total energy, programming your thermostat means that you can cut down on unnecessarily heating and cooling the home when you’re not there. Or, you might want to invest in a smart home system which allows you to control the heating and cooling from your smartphone, even when you’re not at home.
Have YOU been making any of these energy-wasting mistakes?

6 Waste Contributing Items Every Household Must Get Rid Of Immediately

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6 Waste Contributing Items Every Household Must Get Rid of Immediately

My family has become increasingly aware of the amount of waste we produce. With the ever-increasing amount of plastic and other non-biodegradable trash being created, it’s important that every household do their part to try and eliminate unnecessary waste whenever possible. From reducing the amount of plastic bags we use to switching to eco-friendly cleaning solutions, there are many small but powerful ways we all can do our part to reduce waste.

It's especially important to teach kids -- future generations-- about how they can recycle, not use plastic straws, etc. I purchased the following children's book What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet, to donate to the Sandals Foundation, but it also really engaged my boys as well.

If you are committed to making a difference, here is an easy solution, take a look at this list of 6 waste contributing items that you can get rid of to help reduce your overall carbon footprint.

6 Waste Contributing Items Every Household Must Get Rid of Immediately

Avoid Plastic

Did you know plastic can take up to 1000 years to break down? There are numerous ways a family can reduce the amount of plastic they buy and ultimately ends up in landfills. This is where keeping reusable bags in your car or trunk comes in handy. If you don’t have a lot of items to carry, don’t be afraid to tell the cashier that you don’t want a bag.

Unfortunately, a lot of food items are currently wrapped in plastic. This is one of the biggest contributors to landfill waste. Some supermarkets and grocery stores now offer different items in “pour your own” systems that allow you to bring your own reusable storage containers. This is an excellent way to eliminate plastic from your daily life. I hope more stores will continue to do this.

Instead of plastic wrap or foil at home, we use reusable beeswax food wraps, Silicone Baking Mat Sheets and Pyrex glass food storage containers with lids. Both come in such cute designs too.

Energy Efficient Appliances 

This is likely the most expensive upgrade for a family, but investing in energy-efficient appliances and tech in your home will not only reduce energy waste but will also save you money in the long term. Appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and even TVs are becoming more and more energy-efficient. Check for appliances that have the best energy star ratings, or are especially good at doing more with less water. If you want to upgrade your home and add value to your property make the switch and help the environment as well.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions

Keeping your home clean is essential to maintain a healthy environment. But if you use chemical products to get rid of debris and stains, it’s time you should reconsider this practice. Chemical products may help you clean the surfaces, but they’re extremely harmful to your health. They affect the indoor air quality as well as lead to various health issues.

You should rather opt for natural cleaning solutions that are safe for the environment. It doesn’t need much effort to prepare a non-toxic cleaning solution on your own. Here are some recipes to make effective natural cleaning solutions with vinegar, lemon and other natural materials.

Reusable Bottles 

A plastic water bottle takes up to 450 years to break down, so carrying around a reusable bottle is one of the single biggest ways your family can help reduce waste. Reusable bottles come in a variety of different colors and styles, and can often help keep your drink either cool or warm. If you’re new to the “low-waste lifestyle”, religiously using a refillable bottle is one of the best places to start on your journey to greener living.

We even take empty water bottles to fill with us on flights, road trips and going to Disney World, etc.

Second-Hand Shopping 

Buying your clothes and electronics second hand is always better than buying those items brand new. You may already be practicing this if you have children and are passing down clothing to younger siblings, but try to do this for yourself as well. The fast fashion industry is one of the most destructive industries to our planet. The next time you need a new raincoat or want a new party dress, check out your local charity or thrift stores to grab a bargain and help save money and the environment.

Meal Planning

This is actually the hardest step for me, lol. Food waste is another massive problem we’re facing. There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, yet 1 in 9 people go to bed hungry every night. At the same time, 1/3 of all the food we produce goes to waste. Approx.1.3 billion tons get lost or is wasted.

Taking the time to put together a meal plan for the week can help reduce that number and keep your wallet fuller for longer. If you have leftovers, save them and pack it for you or your kids’ lunch the next day. If food is about to go, freeze it and cook it later. Try to set your household a challenge to use up everything in the fridge or freezer before buying anything new. I do this every year during hurricane season, just in case we lose power and avoid wasting all my freezer items like I did during Irma. Our food shouldn’t be ending up in the trash, and if it is, a little bit of planning and organization can solve that. Learn more ways to #StoptheWaste.

Save leftovers with the following reusable solutions:


More: Are You Using Environmentally Harmful Microbeads in Your Beauty Products?

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Back & Neck Pain Relief with CBDMEDIC

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by CBDMEDIC but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Per my Moms Guide to CBD post, you might have gathered that I am a CBD enthusiast :) You're right. I am!

CBD is a natural plant alternative to deal with stress, anxiety, and many other ailments without the unpleasant or dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical drugs or opioids. CBD has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and anticonvulsant properties that down-regulate stress signals in your body. This includes anxiety, inflammation, and of course, pain.

I've always had backaches and have been told I hold my stress in my shoulders. Typing on my computer for hours doesn't help, nor does keeping up with my active twin boys. Recently, I started using CBDMEDIC™ BACK & NECK Pain Relief Ointment, applying it on my shoulders and lower back. This ointment uses menthol and camphor in a proprietary formulation designed to provide safe, fast, and powerful relief from back, neck, and shoulder pain.

Made with natural ingredients, CBDMEDIC products are the first family of topical medications that combine highly effective analgesic properties with hemp oil and other natural emollients to provide safe, powerful, and effective pain relief.

Developed and manufactured with 15 years of pharmaceutical experience, its groundbreaking formula delivers relief for people who suffer from acute pain. The main active ingredient includes “CBD” - a THC-free cannabinoid-rich hemp extract oil from the Cannabis sativa L. plant that’s a natural alternative for pain relief.

Powerful and effective, the scent is minty strong, similar to most topical pain relievers, but it's not greasy. I also like that it's clear and spread easily.

Best of all, you do not have to go to a specialty store or dispensary for CBDMEDIC as it's available at select CVS Pharmacy locations and Online.

Besides the Back/Neck Pain Relief ointment, CBDMEDIC has the following product offerings too: Active Sport™ Pain Relief and Arthritis Pain Relief ($30.00 - $49.00).

CBDMEDIC Active Sport deep muscle rub
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Why Giving Gifts is Sometimes Important in a Relationship

There are all different ways that couples express their love for each other, and to some, spending money or giving gifts may seem like it should be a lower priority than things like communication and physical intimacy. However, there are some reasons why it can be worth thinking a little more about what gifts can mean between couples, and why it can be important to pay some attention to this aspect of married life.

Love Language 

You may have heard of the concept of 'love languages' before. If not, do read the book or take their online quiz to see what actions are important to you and your partner. The essential idea is that different people express their love in different ways. Some people are very physically affectionate, whereas others are more reserved in that respect but express their love by doing things for the people they care about. One form of love language is certainly gift-giving, and it is good to know if this is a preferred form of expression for either yourself or your partner. If you or your partner likes to show how much people mean to them with very thoughtful gifts, then it is key to recognize this. So, what may seem like a random or an unimportant gesture, or an overly lavish gift for a special occasion, it may be their way of communicating their feelings.

Physical Reminders

Another reason why gifts can be important is that some people are sentimental about items that remind them of those they love or of special moments in their lives. Your partner may enjoy having a token of some kind like an item of jewelry that they can keep with them when you can't be together. Also, receiving something they can keep forever to remind them of a special vacation or an anniversary. The value of carefully chosen items should never be underestimated.

Signs of Support

A third way gifts can have deep meaning between couples is when you buy your partner something that shows your support or encouragement for something they do or are trying to do. You may not be able to really understand or share their interest in their favorite hobby, or be able to do all that much to help them achieve goals in their career or with their fitness, for example, but by giving them things that are related to their personal things, you can show that you are behind them.

If your partner wants to get fit, buy them some beautiful Gucci sneakers from an online retailer like SSENSE to make hitting the gym more fun. If they are going for an important interview or client meeting, get them a new briefcase or a designer laptop bag to take with them and show your support. SSENSE is a luxury retailer that has all of the latest ranges by top designer brands and can be a good place to shop for high-end fashion gifts that can be great for these kinds of occasions.

Gifts between couples aren't always just about impressing your partner when you haven't been together long or simply getting something for traditional occasions like Christmas and anniversaries. Gifts can also be wonderful ways to make your feelings known, to give your partner something physical to remind them of your feelings, and even to give your moral support or show that you are behind them in everything they do!

Why Giving Gifts is Sometimes Important in a Relationship

Gift Guide Ideas for the Dapper Man 

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How to get the perfect summer tan

September is starting and still many people are about to go on holidays. Luckily, while it is soon autumn in some areas of the country, summer is still here in Florida and for many others. A trip to a country where the sun is shining can easily make the holidays better and help those who want to look fantastic with a glamorous tan. Despite wishing it, some people can’t achieve the perfect skin tone either because they get burned or the skin doesn’t help the process.

It's important to get yourself ready before going to the beach and follow these 7 steps to help you reaching the tan to make your friends jealous ;)

7 Steps to the Perfect Tan 

1. Exfoliation is the first step 

For a long-lasting deep tan, exfoliation is the first step to be followed. Exfoliating your skin will remove the dead cells which can prevent a uniform tan. A few days before you start to be exposed to the sun, start doing it so your skin gets a good clean. Exfoliating gloves, brushes, body scrubs, and non-chemical products are options to take into account. Hydrating the skin after showering is equally important.

2. You are what you eat 

The food you eat plays an important role in your tanning process. Eating certain kinds of vegetables have been proven to help your skin from the inside. Betacarotene and lycopene are components of vegetables that can increase your skin’s protection to UV rays and make your tint a bit more orange. Eat plenty of tomatoes and carrots. Preparing skin from within is mandatory.

3. Fake tan to start 

If you look like a white feather at the beach and you dislike it, there is no problem in cheating a little bit. Use tanning lotions a weak ahead of starting to be truly exposed to the sun and let it act in your skin. At least you won’t be so white for the first time you go to the beach. However, make sure you are always protected against the sun since some tan lotions don’t offer any protection as the sunscreen does. Having a good looking tan doesn’t mean being reckless about the need for sunscreen.

4. Natural oils 

Use natural oils to achieve a deeper tan while protecting your skin. The sun is the number one enemy of skin aging. Consequently, it is mandatory to protect the skin against it. The best oils to use are coconut, olive oil, hazelnut, sunflower, and sesame oil. These oils help you to get a golden glow while they stimulate the skin’s elasticity and keeps it hydrated and moisturized. The proper way to use these is to apply it on the skin at least 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun. On top of the oils, don’t forget to apply the sunscreen.

5. Expose your skin progressively 

If you first expose yourself in a reckless way, you will more likely look like a lobster than with a human being with a glamorous tan. After your skin will start to peel and the snake stage comes. Leave these animals alone and focus on achieving the tan in a progressive way. Make numerous short tanning sessions and take breaks in the shadow. Let your skin cool down for a while. By doing do, you are also reducing the damages that the sun can provoke on your skin. Drink water, eat fruits and reapply sunscreen.

6. Daily tan limit 

Your body can tan for two, a maximum of three hours a day. If you expose yourself longer than this period, lobster alert! At some point, your skin stops producing melanin and your job is done for the day. Don’t make any bets with the capacities of your skin. The human body needs daily regeneration.

7. Change position often 

For a uniform tan, there is nothing better than changing position often while sitting under the sun. The sun will reach every part of your body and you will have a consistent tan on your skin.

Follow these tips during your beach holidays and be responsible for your health while getting the tan that you will be envied for. Happy sun day! :)

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3 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Ideas You Can Use This Year

Toss this traditional Thanksgiving scene out the window

Who can resist the splendor of Thanksgiving?

It’s a magical time when we come together with family and friends (more on the latter in a second!) to commune over mountains of mouth-watering deliciousness and, well, give thanks for the year that was…

You might be thinking that sounds a little too soon. Heck, it’s still summer! Why are we already talking about Thanksgiving?! Like it or not, summer is on the way out, and the holidays are just around the corner.

And Thanksgiving, oftentimes is a stressful (if not contentious) affair among families, is best approached with kid gloves as the occasion draws near.

But… it’s easy to see the holiday objectively if we start thinking about Thanksgiving now. We can even have some fun with it, which is why I got to thinking about some creative, non-traditional ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. Keeping those thoughts to myself is no fun. So, in the Thanksgiving spirit of sharing, I offer three suggestions to you right now.

Host a Friendsgiving 

Friends are the family we choose (so says the old expression). And if you’re looking to balance out the family drama that comes with a traditional Thanksgiving, why not host a Friendsgiving first?

Friendsgiving (made famous from Seinfeld) is exactly like it sounds—a Thanksgiving-ish party with friends! It has all the food, all the drinks, all the games, all the football, and all the fun, absent Grandma asking when you’re getting married or Uncle Larry’s relentless dad jokes.

The concept of Friendsgiving is rather open-ended, which means you have a lot of flexibility in personalizing a pre-Thanksgiving celebration of friendship. Go crazy with the menu, buy the good champagne, and plan an afternoon of doing whatever you and your squad like doing most.

If you’re old enough to remember the Rachel haircut craze, then you may know the Friendsgiving concept also appears in the first Thanksgiving episode of Friends in 1994. The six friends with nowhere to go for the holiday, gathered at Monica’s apartment for a festive evening of food and drinks, famously toasting to “a crappy New Year!” Personally, TOW the Football is my favorite of their classic Turkey episodes.

And fun fact 2.0: The term “Friendsgiving” first circulated on social media in 2007. Friendsgiving is even on Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching” list for possible entry into their dictionary. Pretty cool, huh?

Ditch the Turkey and Stuffing and Go Chinese...or Italian...or Moroccan...or Vegan...or Whatever!

If you don’t eat turkey, mashed potatoes, and the rest of the traditional food crew on Thanksgiving, will Pilgrims be rolling over in their graves? 

Of course not! 

There’s no law that says your Thanksgiving menu must include the classics. Mix things up with the cuisine you’d rather be eating anyway. Or go out on a limb and use Thanksgiving as a chance to try dishes you’ve never had before. 

You can also leave the meal prep to someone else and have your ‘Giving gang convene at a favorite restaurant. Sure, some restaurants close for the holiday to give their staff time with family, as tradition dictates. But as Black Friday shopping continues to encroach on Thanksgiving day proper, an increasing number of eateries stay open. 

Whatever approach you choose to enjoy a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal will be memorable. Do you recall the turkey or amazing sides you enjoyed at Thanksgiving dinner three years ago? Probably not. 

Will you always remember the Thanksgiving you tried Mrouzia or went to that amazing sushi bar across town? Definitely. 

Why not celebrate Thanksgiving here instead of at home?

Just Plain Get Out of Dodge

I don’t mean you should pack your bags and trudge off to a relative’s house for Turkey Day. We’re talking vacation

That’s right. You have the complete freedom to plan a vacation over Thanksgiving. You always did, but perhaps the notion never crossed your mind. Thankfully, I’m here to put the travel bug in your ear.

Millions of people are traveling for Thanksgiving anyway. No one says you can’t be among the crowd. The idea isn’t so bad when you’re en route to a dream destination rather than Crazy Cousin Carl’s cramped duplex for the ninth year in a row. 

If you live in the northern states, heading south around Thanksgiving probably sounds incredible—and it could be your reality when you think outside the box.

So, any takers on Vegas?

These are just a few ways to carve a new Thanksgiving experience this year instead of carving the turkey. What will you be doing to buck tradition come November? Happy Holidays!

Three Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Ideas

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