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Posted by Joyce Torelli on 2/7/2018

Stressed out and wishing you had room in the budget for a trip to Hawaii? Take a vacation whenever you want from the comfort of your home by creating a home sanctuary. When you have a peaceful refuge just a few footsteps down the hall you can easily take 15 minutes to yourself to relax and take the edge off whenever you like.

Start by selecting your space. You can turn a spare room or unused corner of the home into your sanctuary. When choosing a place take the foot traffic and lighting of the area into consideration. For example, you may find it distracting of your new sanctuary is across from the bathroom your family uses frequently or if there is a harsh glare at sunrise or sunset.

Decide on how you’ll spend time in this area. While you may hear sanctuary and immediately assume it’s a space for meditation or prayer this can be a quiet place for you to do any activity you find soothing. This may be reading, painting, writing or even putting a puzzle together. Once you know how you would like to utilize the room you can add furniture that will easily allow you to immerse yourself in an activity. Consider soft lighting, a desk, rug,  large chair, and any tools necessary for your chosen activity. This could mean adding anything from a meditation pillow to an easel.

Handy hint: keep what you do add to the room intentional and functional. To maintain a calming environment that is easy to relax in avoid clutter from finding it’s way into this room and taking over. Add plants to bring a touch of peaceful nature to the room and purify the air. Choose soft, neutral colors to decorate with. If you are using a corner of a room for your sanctuary you can section the area off for privacy with a room divider or bookshelf.

If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated sanctuary you can easily turn any space into a peaceful area by turning on some relaxing music and lighting some candles whose smells you find soothing. If you’re open to redecorating you can take the above tips and apply them to your living room or family den. You can even get your whole family to join in by limiting tv time and scheduling a “calm hour” for everyone to take a break and just chill.

Don’t wait all year for a two-week vacation to relax. Bring the elements that soothe your soul to your everyday routine into your home whether with a hobby like building a puzzle or setting dedicated quiet time for the whole family. When you make it simple to take a timeout from the day it’s harder to put off taking the time to relax. Your health will thank you!




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Posted by Joyce Torelli on 3/30/2016

White distilled vinegar is effective for killing most mold, bacteria and germs due to it's high level of acidity. Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid that is made from the fermentation of sugars and starches. White vinegar has so many different uses in the home; it is considered the “miracle cleaner”. It is pocketbook friendly, all natural, safe for pets and nontoxic. Why would you use anything else? It is a good idea to purchase two empty spray bottles, keep one full with pure white vinegar and the other with half water and half vinegar. This just makes it easier to dispense and have on hand at all times. A person can work wonders cleaning their home naturally just armed with vinegar and water. There are so many different uses for white vinegar in your home. Here are just a few ideas. Vinegar mixed with water is an excellent cleaner for all kitchen surfaces like counter tops, refrigerators and stove tops. To shine chrome fixtures simply make a paste of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. To clean wooden cutting boards simply just wipe with vinegar. Clean refrigerator shelves with a solution of ½ white vinegar and water. Did you know that soaking fruit and vegetables in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water can remove up to 98% bacteria? Soak fruit and vegetables for at least 10 minutes then rinse to get best results. Vinegar is also useful in the laundry. To decrease lint in laundry add ½ cup straight white vinegar to rinse cycle. To make your bright’s brighter add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. If you have pets white vinegar is a good solution to have in house. If your dog has the mishap of getting sprayed by a skunk, use dilution of vinegar and water, rub dog’s fur then rinse with warm water. Repeat a couple times. To keep dogs from scratching their ears rub them with a cloth diluted with vinegar and water. Vinegar is so versatile in the home. You do not have to worry about the vinegar smell remaining after you use it because the smell dissipates after it dries. So, for people who believe in living green and healthy, white vinegar is a must have in the pantry closet.





Posted by Joyce Torelli on 1/20/2016

These days everyone is looking to go green? Knowing when, how and where to start can be the hard part. So, why not start in the kitchen? Here are some items from your kitchen that you can use on your way to a greener home. Baking Soda Baking soda can be an effective cleanser for your bathroom. Use one cup of baking soda mixed with a teaspoon of liquid soap, a bit of water, and a few drops of antibacterial essential oil (such as tea tree, eucalyptus, rosemary, or peppermint) make a great cleaner. Milk Milk can be used as an all natural stain remover. Soak the stained garment in a bowl of two parts milk and one part white vinegar. This works especially well for ink stains. Herbs Many herbs are natural cures for aliments like stress, digestion, immunity, and more. Use seeds from plants like lavender, mint, lemon balm, and thyme to make your own natural remedies. Compost Pail Make your own nutrient rich soil to grow plants in by composting. Keep an airtight container in your kitchen and use it to dispose of food scrap items such as vegetable and fruit waste, meal leftovers, coffee grounds, tea bags, stale bread, grains, and general refrigerator spoilage. Reusable Tote When you shop for all of these items make sure to use a reusable tote. You can find these for sale at grocery stores and other shopping centers. This will cut down on plastics.





Posted by Joyce Torelli on 1/13/2016

Greening up your home is not only good for the environment it is also good on your wallet. According to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. generates about 208 million tons of municipal solid waste a year, that's more than 4 pounds per person per day. Here are some minor changes you can implement at home that will add up to real benefits. Green up your appliances Replace your old refrigerator and save as much as $150 a year. Appliances are the biggest drain on a home's total energy bill. Replace appliances older than 10 years with energy-efficient models that bear the "Energy Star" logo. Energy Star-qualified appliances use 10%-50% less energy and water than standard models. Take Your Temperature Use a programmable thermostat to keep your home's temperature on a schedule. Program the thermostat in cold weather and keep it higher in warm weather. Set the timer to only change the temperature when you are home. During the colder months, each degree below 68°F saves 3%-5%. You may also want to consider replacing older furnaces. Today's furnaces are about 25% more efficient than they were in the 1980s. Use Water Wisely Save every time you flush by installing low-flow toilets. They use only 1.6 gallons per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons per flush for pre-1994 models. Save water at your faucets by installing aerators. This could cut your annual water consumption by 50%. Let there be Light Using Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) will consume 66% less energy. CFLs may cost a little more but they last 10 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb. In dollars and cents, replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with a 32-watt CFL can save $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb. Practice Plastic Placement Did you know Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags? — Plastics (grocery, trash and sandwich bags to name a few) are made from petroleum. Plastics are considered one of the main contributors to global warming. Always make sure to reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics. There are many more ways to live green. If you are looking for more ideas check out National Geographic's Green Guide. Please share your tips for saving money, energy and living green.