Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Care for Your House Plants When Moving

      13 December 2018

      There are so many valuables and fragile items to carefully pack up when moving that the last thing you may be thinking about are your house plants. However, if you’d like your treasured greens to make the journey safely and thrive in your new home, it’s critical to properly prepare them for transport. Here are five steps to take from Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook:

      - First, if you’re moving far away, be sure to contact your new state’s department of agriculture, as there may be restrictions. Certain plants might be considered a threat to a particular crop; however, if your plant is strictly an indoor plant, this shouldn’t be an issue.

      - Before you pack your plant for the move, replace the old soil with new, sterile soil to ensure you’re not transporting any pests. Two to three days before leaving, give the soil a good watering so that the roots remain damp while you’re en route.

      - Protect plants from heat, cold and sunlight that is intensified through car windows by wrapping them in cones of craft paper, a technique referred to as “sleeving.” Make the width the same height as the plant and wrap it around, leaving the cone wider at the top; then tape or staple the paper sleeve together. Slip the plant with its pot from the top of the cone so all the plant leaves and stems get pushed upwards.

      - When packing plants in the car, avoid placing them in the trunk. The best place is on the floor of the back seat where there is less chance of them tipping over.

      - When you arrive at your new home, prioritize tending to your plants. Take them out of their sleeves and water them as soon as possible. Keep in mind, they’ve been through a shock and will need a few weeks to recover, so don’t worry if they lose leaves or wilt - this is a defensive reaction that should be temporary. After a few weeks, they should adapt and recover to their new home nicely.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Healthy Eating Hacks for the Holidays

      13 December 2018

      The holidays can be great fun with friends and family, but in terms of healthy eating, the season can be a real disaster.

      Natalie Menza-Crowe, RD, Director of Health and Wellness at ShopRite, shares some of her best tips for bringing an extra serving of healthy to holiday celebrations.

      Make-ahead meals can save the day when you've already booked out your oven for other main dishes such as turkey or a roast. Try a go-to idea like a cooked-grains casserole featuring rice or quinoa. Best of all, each dish can be stored in the freezer until you're ready to defrost and serve them.

      Appetizers are a great way to get the party started, but no need to stress about them while you're trying to finish all of your other dishes. You can make your favorite homemade dips a day or two in advance, and store until you need them. To make your dips extra healthy, use low-fat yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise and serve with cut-up veggies.

      Use pre-cut veggies, or chop your own, to save time. If your menu includes cooked dishes made with fresh seasonal vegetables, the smaller you chop your vegetables, the less time it will take for them to cook.

      Put your slow cooker to work. You can make all sorts of "traditional" holiday meals, such as sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or even green bean casseroles, in a slow cooker, and they'll come out delicious every time.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Give Your Eyes a Rest

      13 December 2018

      (Family Features)--Imagine how strained and tired your arms would feel if you carried around a 10-pound rock for 12 hours. That's essentially what you're doing to your eyes when you focus on digital devices all day.

      If you're experiencing headaches, eye fatigue, burning, stinging, redness, watering, blurred vision or even pain in the neck and shoulders after extended time on your devices, you may be experiencing digital eye strain.

      A 2018 study from employee benefits company Unum found that nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States spend more than 12 hours a day looking at various digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and television screens. In the same study, 34 percent of respondents said they feel they spend too much time on their devices.

      In today's always-on digital culture, it can be hard to escape the need to stay connected, but making a few slight adjustments can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

      Dr. Chris Wroten, an optometrist and partner at Bond-Wroten Eye Clinic, suggests a simple, easy-to-remember rule of thumb for relaxing your eyes.

      "Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds," he says. "This 20-20-20 rule can help relax the eyes and allow them to focus on non-digital objects in the distance."

      Other tips to reduce digital eye strain include:
      - Reduce the brightness or contrast on your screen to a comfortable level. You can find these controls in the settings of your phone or tablet and on the monitor or keyboard of your computer.
      -If your glossy screen is prone to glare, consider an anti-glare protector to reduce reflected light.
      - Try adjusting the ambient light around you. Strategically placed lamps can produce the proper lighting and result in less visual fatigue than fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
      - Maintain good posture and adjust your seating to assure you're viewing screens at the proper angles and distances. The top of your computer monitor should sit just below eye level at about an arm's length away from your face.
      - Ensure your prescription is up to date, especially if you wear corrective lenses. If it's been longer than a year since your last eye exam, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor.

      Good visual health should be a component of maintaining your overall health and well-being. While the frequency of visits to your eye doctor typically varies for individual needs, most healthy adults should receive a comprehensive eye exam every year or two, which is included in most vision insurance plans. Eye exams can detect vision problems and allow you to adjust with corrective lenses, if necessary. This visit can also allow you to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, including eye strain.

      Many employers offer vision insurance, and your human resources department can usually provide information about vision plan options. Vision insurance can be an affordable solution and offer benefits typically not included in a health insurance policy. It can cover routine eye exams, most likely offer a benefit for corrective lenses and may provide discounts for additional lens options. Some vision carriers also offer online tools or mobile apps to help you manage your benefits and find qualified, in-network eye doctors in your area.

      Source: Unum

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Tips for Staying on Track in the New Year

      12 December 2018

      (Family Features)--While many people often wish maintaining good health was as easy as following an equation, health doesn't have a start or end date. Once the allure of the new year wears off, it can be easy to let those resolutions go by the wayside.

      When you focus on making small, positive changes, you can move your health goals forward throughout the year, no matter where you are on your health journey. To help stay on track, consider these easy-to-implement ideas from registered dietitian Annessa Chumbley:

      Write it down. Using a nutrition journal and keeping a record of everything you eat and drink can help track progress and reveal small changes that need to be made. Alternatively, downloading a fitness tracking app can help keep you accountable digitally. With a variety of options available for most operating systems, there is almost certain to be one to meet your needs, whether you're looking for a companion app to track progress or something more in-depth to help guide you through workouts and meal planning.

      Start your day with protein. A high-quality protein source can set the stage for sustained energy levels throughout the day. Having an on-the-go source of protein on-hand can help ensure you're starting the day with a proper foundation for success.

      Hydrate all day. Hydration is a foundation of good health. Before bed each night, put a 16-ounce bottle of water in the bathroom then drink it first thing in the morning for a daily energy boost. For an easy and healthy way to add flavor to your water during the day, consider putting an herbal tea bag of your choice in it. For example, Chumbley recommends ginger as a digestion-helper, mint as a caffeine-free way to awaken and chamomile to calm.  

      Make healthy swaps. Looking for alternatives is an easy way to eat healthy. Consider swapping out heavier carbs for vegetables such as grilled Portobello mushrooms as pizza crust or zucchini noodles instead of pasta. Swap mayo for avocado when eating egg, chicken or tuna salad. You can also use the sweetness of ripe bananas to decrease the need for added sugar in recipes like cookies, muffins and pancakes. For an additional nutrition boost, consider adding a scoop of gluten-free protein powder like Premier Protein's line of 100 percent whey powders, which are available in chocolate or vanilla milkshake flavors and feature 30 grams of protein and 3-4 grams of sugar per scoop, plus no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

      Get moving. Commit to stepping outside and taking a daily walk. Whether it's one mile or a walk around the block, you can burn calories and receive the added benefits of mental clarity, increased energy and improved digestion.

      "Use these tips as one small thing that can make a powerful, positive impact on your day," Chumbley says. "Choose one of these and do it every day. Keep the strategy simple so you'll be more likely to stick with it. When implementing these health tips, think ‘progress’ not ‘perfection.’ If you are progressing, you are successful."

      Source: Premier Protein

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Homemade Gifts People Really Want

      12 December 2018

      Whether or not the budget is tight, few holiday gifts are more warmly received than home-crafted treasures made especially with the recipient in mind. If you take a few moments to reflect on what’s meaningful to the people you want to gift, you can be among those holiday angels whose gifts are received with delight.

      From craft magazines and home crafters, here’s a round-up of possibilities:

      For the kitchen newbie. Anyone presiding over their own kitchen for the first time will appreciate a selection of helpful tools such as a whisk, a wooden spoon, a baster, a roasting thermometer and more stuffed into a pretty oven glove and tied with a wide ribbon.

      For the crafty kid. This homemade playdough that looks great and smells better is also safe and non-toxic. Pack it in an airtight container, include a few crafty utensils, and you can keep some curious kid happy for hours. Get full instructions at

      For the serious cook. A collection of homemade gourmet salts may spur new levels of creativity. See the recipes and instructions at for lemon salt, roasted garlic salt and even shiitake mushroom salt.

      For the spa lover. Make her happy in her own bath with a jar of mint chocolate body bath. It smells as delicious as it sounds, and adding in some vitamin E will help it stay soft - and softening - for months. Find the instructions at

      For the tea or coffee lover. Line a decorative basket with a couple of pretty tea towels. Fill it with a selection of teas or coffees and some yummy cookies, crackers and cakes, and make someone a very merry camper.

      For squirmy, wet little ones. Hooded towels are a must after the bath. Making your own is much cheaper than buying them. Find instructions for a shark towel at or a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer towel at

      For pet lovers. If your loved ones have a pet, they’ll appreciate a little something for their furry friend. There’s a template you can download for a bag decoration at, then fill it with doggy or kitty treats.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.