Consumer Real Estate News

    • How to Include More Healthy Fats in Your Diet and Cut Down on Unhealthy Fats

      13 May 2021

      A high-fat diet has been linked to a host of health problems, including high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity. Not all fats are the same. It’s important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats so you can find the right balance.

      What Are Healthy Fats?
      Unsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and contribute to healthy levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils, some nuts, seeds, fatty fish and avocados. 

      Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s help the body absorb some vitamins. They can protect mental health and memory and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. 

      What Are Unhealthy Fats?
      A diet high in unhealthy saturated fat can contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. Saturated fat is found in fatty meat, sausage and other meat products, cheese, butter, cream, sour cream and other foods. 

      Trans fats made from partially hydrogenated oil have been widely used in a variety of processed foods. They can raise levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduce levels of “good” cholesterol. 

      How to Eat Foods With the Right Fats
      When you go grocery shopping, read nutrition labels. Many common foods have high levels of unhealthy fats. Compare products from different brands to find healthy versions.

      Be careful when looking at products labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” While trans fats have been eliminated from many products, they are still used in some cases, even in foods that are labeled “zero trans fat.” Also, some foods that are relatively low in unhealthy fats are high in carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain and diabetes.

      Look for lean cuts of meat. Trim fat and remove skin before cooking meat. Instead of frying meat, use cooking methods that require little or no oil, such as baking, grilling and broiling. Cut down on the amounts of butter and oil you use when preparing food.

      Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. They can help you reduce your fat intake and provide you with valuable vitamins and minerals.

      Make Healthy Choices
      If you’re concerned about your health, speak with your doctor. Discuss your current diet and changes you should make. You shouldn’t try to completely eliminate fat from your diet since some fats provide important benefits, but you should work on creating a balance that will support your overall health. 

      Look for ways to cut back on unhealthy fats and eat more healthy ones. Try new products and experiment with new recipes.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Swimming Safety Tips for Summer

      13 May 2021

      (Family Features) Playing in or around water is one of the joys of summer, but this treasured seasonal pastime comes with some serious risks. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      As COVID-19 restrictions ease, many families will have informal gatherings and take trips to the beach, increasing the potential for children to have unsupervised access to water. Because of this, it’s important for children to take swimming lessons to learn water safety skills and create safer habits in and around water. As swimming lessons begin across the country, many are being conducted safely with COVID-19 precautions in place.

      Protect your family’s safety around water this summer with these tips from the Make a Splash Tour, presented by Phillips 66 and the USA Swimming Foundation.

      Designate a Water Watcher and Closely Monitor Children. Designate a water watcher when you are in, on or around water. Watch all children and adolescents swimming or playing in or around water, even if they know how to swim. Keeping young children or inexperienced swimmers within arm’s length at all times can help ensure you’re able to provide assistance if and when it’s needed.

      Wear a Life Jacket. Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sports, regardless of swimming ability in pool or open water situations, should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Preschool-aged children (5 years old and younger), who are not protected by touch supervision, in particular, should always wear a life jacket. Swimming aids and water toys – such as water wings, inflatable water wings and rings – are not intended to be life-saving devices.

      Learn to Swim. Research has shown formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%. Through the annual Make a Splash Tour, the USA Swimming Foundation, with the support of Phillips 66, encourages children’s swim lessons. By equipping your child with the skill of swimming, you’ll open doors to a lifetime of safety, fun, fitness and even employment opportunities.

      While lessons progressively teach a variety of swimming strokes, some of the most important things swimmers learn – even in beginner classes – are breath control and how to float. These basic skills are essential for staying above water should someone find himself or herself unable to touch or too tired to swim to safety. Children can participate in swimming lessons before they can walk, and parent-child swim lessons provide bonding opportunities along with water safety education.

      Swim in Designated Areas and Obey Posted Signs and Flags. Ropes, buoys and flags in larger bodies of water like lakes or oceans are commonly used to mark off safe swimming areas and provide visual cues about changes in depth, underwater surfaces and currents. Teach children what these signs and markers mean and that they’re in place as safety tools, not toys to play with or float on.

      Learn CPR. If the unthinkable does happen, knowing how to perform CPR allows you to take immediate action, which has been shown to significantly better the outcome for children with submersion injuries. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, you could save someone’s life. Seconds count; the quicker CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. There are many places that offer CPR training, including community organizations and nonprofit groups. Remember to keep your certification current once you have completed the initial requirements.

      Make safety a priority for your summer water fun. For more information, including swim lesson providers in your area, visit

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How Changing Wall Colors and Lighting Can Make Your Home Feel More Spacious

      13 May 2021

      Small rooms can feel cramped and uninviting. Incorporating the right paint colors and selecting appropriate light fixtures can create an optical illusion to make a tight space feel larger than it really is.

      How to Choose the Right Color for Your Walls
      Lighter colors, such as off-white and light shades of green and blue, can reflect more light than darker colors. That can help you capitalize on natural light and can make a small space seem more open. In a room that receives a large or moderate amount of natural light, painting the walls in a shade of white, light taupe, grey or pink can create an impression of space.

      A dark paint color can be overwhelming in a large room, but it may work perfectly in a tighter space. Using a darker color, such as charcoal or black, on the walls can make a small room seem cozy. If you decide to use a dark paint color, balance it out by incorporating furniture and accessories with lighter hues.

      How to Use Accent Colors to Make a Room Seem More Spacious
      You may want to paint one accent wall in a different color than the rest of the space or use a lighter color for the trim and moldings than for the walls. Painting the walls and trim the same color is another way to make a small room seem more spacious. The lack of a visual difference from one area to another will make the ceiling seem higher. Painting the doors, trim and ceiling in a single color can also unify a space and make it feel larger and more open.

      How to Choose the Right Light Fixtures
      Don’t rely on only one source of light in a small room. That can cause the room to be bright in the center and darker in other areas. Instead, use multiple light fixtures and lamps to illuminate the space. You can incorporate a combination of overhead lights, wall fixtures and lamps to brighten the area and make it seem roomier.

      If the room has a relatively high ceiling, take advantage of the vertical space by installing a light fixture that will hang down. That will draw people’s eyes upward and take their focus away from the room’s small footprint. Recessed lights, backlighting and light fixtures that draw attention to artwork and other focal points can brighten the entire space and make it feel larger and more open. 

      Consult a Design Professional
      Choosing the right paint and lighting for your home can be complicated. Many variables can come into play, including the size and layout of the space, the locations of windows, the amount of natural lighting, your personal preferences and how your family will use the room. If you need advice, get in touch with a local interior designer.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Design a Bedroom Your Toddler Will Love

      12 May 2021

      The transition from a baby to a toddler is an exciting process. The bedroom furniture, layout and design that worked when your child was younger may no longer be appropriate. Here are some tips to help you create a new bedroom for your toddler.

      Choose Furniture That’s Functional, Stylish and Safe
      A toddler needs a big-kid bed that sits at a safe height and has a comfortable mattress. You may be able to buy a bed that’s decorated with an image of a favorite character, that’s designed to resemble a car or that has some other feature that appeals to your child. You may also be able to take an ordinary toddler bed and modify it yourself. Avoid bunk beds due to the risk of falls and injuries.

      Toddlers tend to have lots of belongings, and bedrooms can get messy if there isn’t a clearly defined system to keep things organized. Use a toy box, shelves, cubbies, baskets and plastic bins to store toys, books and clothes and avoid clutter. Mark containers with pictures or colors so a child who can’t yet read will know where things belong.

      Young kids are fond of climbing. Furniture that isn’t anchored to a wall can tip over and cause serious injuries to a toddler. Make sure that all furniture is secured to prevent an accident.

      Include Personal Touches and an Area for Favorite Activities
      The new bedroom design should reflect your toddler’s unique personality. Decorate the room with artwork your child created, photos of family members and friends and a sign with your child’s name. 

      If your toddler likes to look at books, paint or dress up and put on performances, set aside a space for that activity. Select appropriate furniture and accessories that will make your toddler feel comfortable and look forward to spending time there. Make the special area a focal point in the room.

      Your toddler may be obsessed with a particular TV or movie character, animal or color right now, but that will likely change in a matter of months. Incorporate your child’s current favorite things in the new bedroom design, but don’t go overboard. That will help you avoid having to make major changes in the near future.

      Encourage Your Child to Provide Input
      Ask your toddler for help redesigning the bedroom. Inquire about preferred paint colors, furniture, curtains, artwork and other key elements. You will most likely get a wide range of responses, and many of them may be completely impractical. Focus on the ones that you can make happen. That will make your child feel excited, rather than anxious, about the changes.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Make Health a Priority When Remodeling

      12 May 2021

      (Family Features) When you tackle a remodeling project, there are many unknowns, including what types of materials you might uncover. Hazardous materials must be addressed, and possibly removed, if exposed during a remodeling project. There are also some materials that should be removed to create a healthier home environment.

      Whether materials “must be” or “should be” removed depends on several factors. It is always wise to consult with trained professionals, such as members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, when you encounter hazardous materials.

      The complete removal of all hazardous materials is the preferred approach, but budget is often a hindrance. Thoroughly exploring your options may reveal a lower level of acceptable and more affordable mitigation.

      Most common residential hazardous materials are not hazardous if they remain in a dormant or undisturbed location. Typically, they become hazardous during the demolition phase when they are ground, cut, bumped, scraped or disturbed in some way, causing the materials to become airborne and inhaled.

      Examples of common hazardous materials include:

      Lead-based paint, which can be found on anything that is painted or varnished such as windows, millwork, cabinets, siding, walls and other surfaces.

      Lead water lines, which are primarily hazardous after water sits in the lines for some time prior to consumption, although contamination still occurs during normal flow rates.

      Asbestos, which was once commonly used in a wide range of materials such as pipe or duct insulation; flooring tiles or sheet goods; ceiling tiles and plaster; wall and attic insulation; and plaster used as a binder.

      Silica, which is exceptionally dangerous during saw cutting processes where dust is created.

      Mold, which is not hazardous until the spores are disturbed, become airborne and are inhaled or ingested. Any visible or detectable mold should be removed, and the surfaces cleaned or removed. High concentrations of mold should be addressed by trained professionals, as it can be hazardous if not handled properly.

      Dust, which can be hazardous to some individuals who are sensitive or have breathing-related issues. Dust barriers and negative air enclosures can help minimize, but not eliminate, dust contamination to the rest of the home. Commercial dust “scrubber” filtering systems can significantly reduce dust contamination.

      Once the existing hazardous materials are appropriately addressed, new materials will be placed in your home to replace or enhance the project. Due to strong demand by homeowners, you’re likely to find many options for healthy products.

      For example, prefinished materials (that can be painted, stained or varnished off-site) aid in the reduction of on-site fumes and vapors.

      Other products to look for when you’re remodeling with health in mind include:

      • Low volatile organic compounds, which limit the amount of off-gassing of the materials used in the manufacturing process. Typically, these are paints, stains, varnishes, carpeting and vinyl products.
      • Renewable products, which can be replenished quickly.
      • Heat recovery ventilation systems that exchange the thermal qualities of the interior air with fresh air brought into the home.
      • Air purification systems, which may involve ozone, pleated filters, high-micron filters, electrostatic filters or UV light systems, among others.
      • Dehumidification systems designed to keep the relative humidity levels in a safe range to prevent mold growth.
      • Exhaust fans in baths, kitchens, lower levels and workshops, installed to discharge smells, smoke, fumes and humidity.
      • Radon systems designed to exhaust radon gases to the exterior.
      Find more advice to navigate a health-conscious home remodel at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.