How Air Purifiers Help You Find Relief from Fall Allergies

Fall Allergies

Anyone with allergies knows that managing the symptoms and avoiding key triggers are the most important steps to getting through the allergy season. While most people associate allergies with the spring, it’s not uncommon to experience those same symptoms during the fall. Not only are there different allergens in the air but people start spending more time inside as the temperature cools.

There are a number of different steps you can take to minimize your exposure to allergens, but an air purifier is often the key to success as you begin spending more time indoors. Let’s take a look at the most common fall allergens, and why the right air purifier can help you stay healthy.

5 Most Common Fall Allergens

To find out whether or not an air purifier will help you improve your control over managing allergy related symptoms it is important to understand what the most common fall allergens are.
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The Best Types of Drinks for Boating

Nothing beats the heat on a hot summer day like relaxing on a boat. Whether you are hanging out with friends and family, trying to catch a good tan or just taking in the breeze, everybody loves going out on a boat. For your day on the water, it’s important to stay hydrated with ice-cold beverages to quickly quench even the mightiest thirst. Read on to learn about the best drinks to ensure your boating experience is fun-filled and dehydration-free.

Water & Sports Drinks

For a quick cool-down, keep plenty of bottled water and electrolyte-replenishing sports drinks on hand. In order to avoid dehydration, it would be wise to drink an abundance of these drinks. Iced tea is another good choice, as it is both refreshing and water-based. Just be sure to stay away from drinking large quantities of high-citrus and sugary drinks, such as lemonade or soda, because they have a diuretic effect on the body. It’s important to keep you hydrated, and these sodas will do the exact opposite.

Beer & Wine

What is a day on a boat without an ice cold beer? Not only is it a tasty and refreshing beverage, beer is easy to find, easy to carry and goes down smoothly on a hot day. Compared to other alcoholic drinks, beer is also going to be your cheapest option. Cans of beer are probably going to be the easiest option, but you could always bring bottles or a mini kegerator on board.

If you love wine, however, all hope is not lost. The French even have a name for wines that are good on a hot day: vin de soif, which literally means “thirst-quenching wines.” Your best bets are light whites and pinks. If you prefer mixed drinks, easy-to-make sangria begins with a wine base combined with ginger ale or soda water, fruits and sugar. Mix up a pitcher of sangria, and serve over ice.

Blended Drinks

Blended tropical drinks, such as margaritas and blue Hawaiians, are perfect boat companions. In fact, these drinks are often referred to as “boat drinks,” from the classic song “Boat Drinks” by Jimmy Buffett. If this is the route you want to take, we would recommend mixing the drinks in pitchers in advance and store the pitchers in a portable travel cooler until you’re ready to serve.

To make sure that your drinks are always ice cold, invest in a portable ice maker. Affordable, portable ice makers come in electric, battery-operated and hand-cranked versions. With a portable ice maker, your cooler never runs out of ice and your hand is never without an ice-cold boat drink. When it comes to portable ice makers, there are plenty of brands for you to choose from, but for the best quality, we would recommend going with either Koldfront or Edgestar.

To ensure true boating nirvana, make sure to keep lots of extras of whatever you are drinking on board. As new cans or bottles are opened, replenish your cooler so you always have cold drinks available. Keep in mind, alcoholic drinks will dehydrate you, so make sure you and your guests alternate alcoholic beverages with water and other hydrating drinks. Whatever you decide to drink, just remember to be safe and drink plenty of water while you’re out on a boat.

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Summer Road Trips: Keeping Your RV Cool

Summer travel in your RV is a fun way to vacation. When taking to the road, stay cool and comfortable to ensure your overall enjoyment from start to finish. While using window air conditioners make for an efficient, quiet and cost-effective solution, there are still other things you can do to beat the heat.

From window air conditioners to tarps, here’s our favorite tricks for keeping your RV cool, giving you the relief you need on a hot summer day.

Know Where The Sun Is

Knowing exactly when the sun is at its hottest and making decisions based on these facts is your first line of defense to beat the heat. The sun rises in the east, so parking your RV to avoid the early morning light is a great way to keep you cool during breakfast. The ideal combination of avoiding direct sunlight and finding adequate shade is a great defense against heat in your RV.

Create Your Own Shade

When adequate shade is at a minimum, you can always create your own shade with a simple addition of a tarp. Available at a very cheap price, tarps can stretch between your RV and the ground to provide much needed shade. Tarps are also easy to clean and store rather easily, making them a great solution for that much-desired shade on a summer day.

Open Your Awnings

In addition to shade, be sure to open up all of your awnings when you park your RV. While the open awnings provide a bit of shade, they also give air circulation and encourage cooler air to pass through your RV. For the best cooling effects, make sure your largest awning is in the direction that avoids the sun. This will ensure that the coolest air makes it way through your RV.

Tips for Buying the Right Window AC

Window Air Conditioner

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid sunlight completely in your RV. Which is precisely why window air conditioners are one of the most effective solutions to keeping your vehicle cool. When shopping for a window AC, know the dimensions of your space to ensure you get the correct amount of cooling action. There are many brands, sizes and BTU differences in window air conditioners. The big box stores carry a wide variety and often run specials throughout the summer months. They are priced competitively so shop around to get the best deal. Aside from the price, it would be wise to consider its noise, ease of installation, weight and settings.

With summer underway, the success of your RV road trip is dependent on how you handle the boiling temperatures outside. With a little bit of research and some good features on your air conditioner, you will be ready to hit the open road in cool comfort.

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Clothing Organization Tips for Urban Living

laundryWhen space is at a premium, efficient organization is the key to an uncluttered home. One common problem area is clothing, which has a tendency to overrun a living space if it isn’t kept in check. Here are some useful tips for keeping your clothing organized in a small urban apartment.

Storage

Store out-of-season garments, hats and footwear in decorative boxes or tubs on a high closet shelf or stacked in a corner. You don’t need access to wool sweaters in July or swimsuits in February, so don’t let non-seasonal items clutter up the space you use every day. Transferring unneeded clothing into storage containers between seasons also helps you sort out the garments you no longer wear and can donate or discard.

For those items you need each and every day, tubs and baskets also help organize your daily essentials. Consider using a handy decorative basket for socks and freeing up your sock drawer for something that actually benefits from being folded neatly and stored flat. Other likely candidates for front-of-the-closet baskets include undergarments, shoes and in-season items such as swimwear in the summer or gloves and hats in the winter. Install hooks in easy to reach places to hold belts, bags and summer hats.

Organization

Of course, it’s not just the clothes taking up space. Organizing all of the equipment that comes with a wardrobe brings its own set of challenges. Choose a small ironing board rather than a full-size model. If you don’t do a lot of ironing, consider using an ironing pad instead of a board. These work on any flat, stable surface and roll up for easy storage. If you prefer to do your laundry at home rather than at a laundromat, a combo washer dryer does all the work and takes up half the space of a standard washer and dryer set. These are available in sizes ranging from compact to extra-large. Combo washer dryers offer all-in-one convenience, washing and drying your clothing in one machine.

Compact equipment, space-efficient appliances and smart storage choices help free up space in small urban homes. Make the most of the space you have by storing non-seasonal clothing items and choosing smaller appliances for regular use. When living space is at a premium, less really is more.

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How to Stay Cool in Your Home Without Central Air

hotweatherThere are a lot of reasons people don’t have central air conditioning.  It is expensive to install and even more expensive to operate during the hot summer months.  To save money and reduce energy consumption, there are a variety of simple things you can do to stay cool in your home without central air.  In most cases, it will be necessary to combine several of these strategies to get an indoor environment similar to what central air conditioning would provide.

Use Strategically Placed Window Air Conditioners

The easiest way to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing comfort is by installing a few window air conditioners in strategic locations.  The most common areas are the living room and bedrooms.  This ensures a majority of the time spent in your home will be in cooler rooms.  At the same time, you can avoid spending time and money cooling down rooms you rarely use.  Some people add a window air conditioner to nearly every room, but will only turn them on when needed.  This offers the same energy saving benefits without sacrificing comfort.

Use a Portable Air Conditioner

A similar strategy is using a portable air conditioner.  Portable air conditioners have become increasingly popular over the past 5 years.  While they have always had the ability to cool a room, the term portable wasn’t always accurate.  They were large, bulky, and difficult to navigate around corners and stairs.  Today’s portable air conditioners are much easier to move around and are even more effective at cooling down hot rooms quickly with minimal energy use.

Use Fans

If you don’t want to use any type of air conditioner or just want to have one or two window units, then it will be beneficial to place fans in the rooms without air conditioning.  Moving air is always cooler air.  Plus, you can use fans strategically to bring in additional cool air during the evenings and early morning.  Both ceiling fans and portable fans are great options.  The best part is they are extremely energy efficient.  While they may not get a room as cool as a portable air conditioner, they do provide noticeably cooling benefits.

Shut Off Hot Appliances and Electronics

A common sense step to cooling your home is reducing the amount of heat generated in your home.  It is easy to block sunlight because you can see it.  The same can’t be said for hot appliances and electronics.  Appliances and electronics generate an enormous amount of ambient heat, even when they are not being used.  Try to unplug all appliances and electronics when they are not being used.  At minimum, make sure they are all shut off during the heat of the day.

There are a variety of other ways to keep your house cool in the summer months.  Common advice includes using fluorescent bulbs, minimizing humidity, insulating the attic, and even using certain landscaping techniques.  The key is to choose a combination of strategies that will allow you to stay cool and comfortable.

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The 4 Big Benefits of Using a High Quality Dehumidifier

Edgestar DehumidifierA variety of common complaints about living areas, garages, basements, and even closets can be directly attributed to high humidity.  A dehumidifier may be the simple solution you are looking for.  Many people don’t realize humidity is their issue because the air “feels” dry.  Air with humidity levels as low as 50% or less can substantially reduce your comfort level and cause permanent damage to your home.  There are four big benefits of using a high quality dehumidifier in any enclosed spaces of all sizes.

Humid Air Causes a Proliferation of Mold Spores and Dust Mites

Mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments.  Most people associate mold with standing water or areas with that damp, musty smell.  The truth is the rate of mold growth skyrockets when the relative humidity reaches 50%.  Not only does this mean more mold but more mold spores contaminating the air you breathe.  Dust mites react to humidity in the same way mold does.

Air Quality Significantly Diminishes as Relative Humidity Rises

Humidity is nothing more than the amount of moisture in the air.  Unfortunately, moisture is the perfect container for dirt, dust, mold, spores, and other allergens.  The higher the relative humidity is, the more likely an allergic reaction will be triggered.  This is especially true for people with a very low tolerance to light-weight allergens like dander, mold, and dust.

Damp Air Destroys the Structural Integrity of Homes and Furnishings

Your home and furnishing are in a constant struggle battling against moisture.  Humid air acts a tipping point in the favor of mold, fungus, and rot.  While every home is less durable when it contains humid air over an extended period of time, wood is particularly vulnerable.  This includes flooring, cabinets, furnishing, and the wood supporting the weight of your home.

Humidity Makes Air Feel Hotter Than It Actually Is

One of the most popular reasons people add a dehumidifier to their home is comfort.  Air with a lot of moisture tends to feel much warmer than it actually is.  As a result, people force their air conditioners to work extra hard which shortens the unit’s lifespan and drive up utility bills.  A simple dehumidifier will go a long way in helping you save money and feel more comfortable.

How to Choose the Right Dehumidifier for Your Space?

There are a variety of different factors you should consider when choosing a high-quality dehumidifier.  The best place to start is the area you want to dehumidify.  The size of your dehumidifier should be based on two variables – the size (square footage) of the area in question and the average level of humidity (ranges from moderately damp to extremely wet).  It is important to remember that when comparing the “size” of a dehumidifier you aren’t actually comparing the physical size of the device.  You are comparing the amount of water it can remove per day.  This measurement is commonly stated in pints.  The more pints a dehumidifier can remove in a day, the dryer your air will be.

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Make Preparing for a 4th of July BBQ Easy By Following 6 Simple Tips

burgersonthegrillPreparing for any large gathering can be difficult, but launching a 4th of July party can seem impossible.  Fortunately, there are a variety of simple things you can do to make sure your party goes off without a hitch.  The key is staying organized and effectively communicating with everyone involved.  This is closer look at the simple things you can do to make your 4th of July BBQ unforgettable.

1. Start Planning Early

The only way to host a great 4th of July BBQ is getting started early.  You have to take care of food, decorations, activities, and more.  To effectively manage all of this you are going to need some help.  It could be a few family members or reliable friends.  The key isn’t to get a lot of people involved, but rather finding a few reliable people who are willing to carry their weight.

2. Set the Mood

It’s the 4th July, so act like it.  Take advantage of colorful invitations and decorations that reflect the spirit embodied by a truly great 4th of July BBQ.  This is the easiest way to separate your unique 4th of July BBQ from all of the other BBQ’s you will be a part of this year.

3. Know Your Guests

Depending on who is attending your 4th of July BBQ, your responsibilities and the tone of the party can vary greatly.  If you are hosting a family-oriented BBQ, then make sure you have some activities to keep the kids occupied and entertained.  If your BBQ is primarily adults, then roll out the kegerator and plan more adult-oriented activities.

4. Timing

Unless you are planning on hosting a fireworks display at the end of the BBQ, try to hold it in the afternoon.  This gives your guests enough time to relax and enjoy the party without worry about their obligations later in the evening.  Plus, it gives you time to clean up afterwards and still attend a fireworks display so that you can relax at the end of the day.

5.  A BBQ is More Than BBQ

A great 4th of July BBQ can be as much about the sides and desserts as it is about the BBQ.  Embrace traditional BBQ sides like potato salad, pasta salad, and baked beans – even if you put your own twist on them.  Since most of the food is probably going to be hot, try to include a few cold desserts to help people cool down.  Homemade ice cream is a great solution that is easy to manage.  Plus, you can make ice cream on demand, which ensures you aren’t stuck with a bunch of leftovers.

6. The BBQ Is Still a Focal Point

While the side dishes and desserts are important, it is important you don’t undervalue the BBQ.  Even if you are primarily serving traditional staples like hamburgers and hot dogs you should also include a few unique BBQ items as well.  This is an easy way to make your party more memorable.

With a few reliable friends or family members creating a memorable 4th of July BBQ is easy.  The key is to plan ahead and embrace traditional 4th of July fare while adding your own unique twist.

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Nutrition On The Go: Healthy Smoothie Recipes

fruitsmoothieTypically I begin any weight-loss program with a good amount of enthusiasm. Procrastination and a busy schedule will often win over good intentions. That is why I rely on good nutrition to make up for times I’m unable to fit in a workout.  Even then, making sure I fit enough fruits and vegetables in my diet can be a challenge.  Learning how to make healthy smoothies has made all the difference. All you need are a couple of basic smoothie recipes then you can add ingredients to boost their nutrition. Drinking a smoothie in the morning can help blood sugar, increase metabolism, and provide a balance to help manage cravings. Two of my favorite smoothies are The Basic Green Smoothie and The Basic Protein Smoothie:

The Basic Green Smoothie

Step 1:  Blend the following for about 60 seconds until smooth

  • Place 2 cups of filtered water into your blender
  • Add a dash of Stevia
  • Juice from 1/4 of lemon
  • Add 2 cups combo of Organic Spinach/Kale (or any other greens like chard, collard, and purple kale)

Step 2:  Add the following to blender and blend again

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Small organic apple
  • 1 cup organic frozen berries
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • A couple of ice-cubes

The Basic Protein Smoothie

  • 1 cup skim milk or almond milk
  • 1 serving of probiotic yogurt
  • 1 scoop organic protein powder
  • A couple of ice-cubes or frozen fruit for flavor

*Blend together until smooth.

We recommend the Dash Chef Series Premium Digital Blender.  Coupled with the ability to process fruits and veggies needed for making your perfect smoothie is the power to blend almost anything to perfection.

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Portable Air Conditioner Sale

Portable Air Conditioner Sale

The temperatures continue to rise outside, especially on the east coast this week where they’re flirting with 100 degree weather! Now 100 degrees doesn’t seem terrible to those of us living in the south (Texas had a record 100+ degree days in a row last year), but many people in the north east don’t have the luxury of central air conditioning. That’s where our portable air conditioners come in!

For a limited time, we are offering two of our best selling units at deep discounts to help fight off the heat. Use coupon code PACDEAL at checkout to save.

Koldfront AP12000S-KF Extreme Cool Portable Air Conditioner

Regular Price: $524.99
Sale Price: $379.00
You Save: $145.99

Koldfront PAC701W Slim Portable Air Conditioner

Koldfront Portable Air Conditioner

Regular Price: $374.99
Sale Price: $269.00
You Save: $105.99

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Austin Smarter Spaces Tour: 3112 Lafayette

After seeing all of the homes on the tour, I think we came to an unanimous decision that this next one was our absolute favorite. The color scheme, the decor, the landscaping, everything about this home was beautiful. As one of my coworkers put it to the homeowner, “I want to make out with your house.”

So, please enjoy our photos of 3112 Lafayette.

3112 Lafayette
4112 Lafayette

This home made us feel like we were no longer in Austin. I’m not quite sure what it was, but something about the home felt very eastern U.S. to us. We loved the gray color scheme. It was carried throughout the house and gave it a very tranquil feeling.

There were many small features of the home that we loved as well, like the bathroom tile, the doorknobs and the wall decorations. The backyard was another great part of this home. It had multiple seating areas where you could host a large group, lounge or enjoy a dinner outdoors.

You’ll also notice our mini kegerator on the kitchen counter top. Alright, enough of my yammering. Check out the pictures of this beautiful home!

 

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Austin Smarter Spaces Tour : 1715 Giles, Unit C

The first house profiled from the Smarter Spaces Tour was the home at 4813 West Park. Be sure to check out that post for more pictures and inspiration on how you can make great use of the room available in a small space.

Next up though, we have 1715 Giles, Unit C.

1715 Giles, Unit C

  

This place was actually 1 of 4 townhome units in a small development. It had a long, narrow hallway with a small half bath on the left and door to the garage on the right when you first walked in before it opened up to the living area and kitchen. The architect, who was actually using the home as an office at that time, told us they had decorated the home on a budget, but it wasn’t obvious at all. We loved the items they had chosen, especially the lighting fixtures and burlap ottoman/seat that you can see in the picture above on the right. All of the pieces felt eclectic but like they went together at the same time, not an easy task to pull off.

The ceilings are surprisingly tall for a small space and feature skylights that really open up the space up with natural light. My favorite feature of this home though was the backyard. It has a patio that faces a small creek and wooded area that is very serene and beautiful.

Both bedrooms were upstairs and each had its own bathroom, but the bedroom on the back of the house also featured a small balcony that overlooked the patio and same creek.

We were able to get a few of our products in this house to show off, including the EdgeStar stainless steel kegerator, Kamado grill and MicroFridge red mini fridge (one of my favorite products).

See more photos of the home below.

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