Month: June 2016

Sunscreen Myths


 

  • Myth: The FDA conducts tests on sunscreen products before they are sold. The sunscreen industry is very self regulated because while the FDA does require manufacturers to test products, they do not verify the testing. Even though the FDA is not heavily involved in sunscreen testing, if they suspect there is a problem they will ask for a manufacturers’ test results. Another way the FDA IS involved in the industry is that they set standards for manufacturers to meet when labeling products as “SPF” “broad spectrum” and “water resistant.” In order for a product to be label SPF, it needs to protect against only ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Products labeled broad spectrum need to shield against UVB and UVA rays.
  • Myth: Kids need different sunscreen than adults: In actuality, the FDA does not make a distinction between kids sunscreen and others. Many manufactures use the same active and inactive ingredients in both regular products and sunscreens marked for kids, sometimes even in the same concentrations. Although all sunscreen is similar, some children’s products are tear-free and sting-free and may contain only the minerals zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide rather than other chemicals such as avobenzone.
  • Myth: Use sunscreen sparingly: In order to provide adequate coverage, it takes about one ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to cover the face and body. Many sun lovers use about half as much, which means that about half the SPF is given. Be sure to really slather the lotion on to get the protection needed.
  • Myth: Spray sunscreens give superior coverage: It is difficult to tell how much sunscreen is actually being applied when using a spray which can lead to insufficient protection. Also, inhaling spray sunscreen can cause lung irritation, and if titanium dioxide is inhaled it may be a carcinogen. Flammability is also a worry; last year more than 20 spray sunscreens were recalled because of reports of people getting burned when near an open flame, such as when grilling.
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6 Awesome Summer Perennials

Pink climbing rose

With the right care, these perennials will produce beautiful blooms more than once this summer, making them excellent choices for your yard!

  • Climbing rose: These flowers usually bloom in May and then 5 weeks later. To prune these, cut the stems on an angle right above the nearest 5 leaf branch.
  • Jacob’s Ladder: Blooms in June and then 10 weeks later. Cut down the plant to just a few inches above the ground after they first bloom in order to ensure another healthy bloom 10 weeks later.
  • Columbine: These will flower in May as well as 6 weeks later. In order to prune cut the stems back to the foliage.
  • Blanket flower: These will bloom all the way from May through the Fall or until the first frost happens. Cut the stems back to the foliage to prune.
  • Peachleaf Bellflower: Bloom time is June as well as 6 weeks later. Keep up with pruning by cutting dead flowers off right away without damaging the developing buds.
  • Woodland Sage: These bloom from April through September and can be kept healthy by trimming the faded flower spikes down to the nodes (side branches). A bonus with these gorgeous flowers is they attract butterflies!
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4th Of July Celebrations in Will County

Fireworks

  • Patriotic picnic and fireworks: July 3, 2016 at dusk at Plainfield Central High School
  • Channahon 4th of July celebration: July 4th, 2016 at 9:45 pm held at Community Park 23200 W McClintock Road in Channahon
  • Naperville Ribfest Fireworks: July 4th, 2016 at 9:30 pm in Knoch Park located at 724 S West Street in Naperville
  • Lemont Park District Freedom Days Fireworks: July 3, 2016 at dusk at Centennial Park located at 16028 127th Street in Lemont
  • Lockport 4th of July fireworks: July 3, 2016 at 9:10 pm at Dellwood Park at 18th and Lawrence Avenue in Lockport
  • Bolingbrook All American Celebration: July 4th, 2016 at 9:15 pm at the Bolingbrook Golf Club located at 2001 Rodeo Drive in Bolingbrook
  • Romeoville Independence Day: July 3, 2016 at 9:15 pm at Village Park located at 900 W Romeo Road in Romeoville
  • Beecher 4th of July: July 4th, 2016 at 9:30 pm at Firemen’s Park located at 673 Penfield Street in Beecher
  • New Lenox 4th of July: July 4th, 2016 at 9:30 pm at Village Commons located at 1 Veterans Parkway in New Lenox
  • Frankfort 4th of July Celebration: July 4th, 2016 at dusk at Main Park located at 400 W Nebraska Street in Frankfort
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Summer Pruning

 

 

 

  • Although winter is the best time for pruning since the trees are dormant, a little upkeep during the summer can keep your yard in shape.
  • Make sure you are using the correct tool for the job: a hand pruner is for stems and small branches, a lopper is for thick branches and a pruning saw is for especially thick branches.
  • Wear gloves for protection and rinse off tools after trimming to prevent the spreading of disease from one tree to another.
  • Cut stray branches on trees that are done blooming to allow for increased flowering next year.
  • Trim branches back to allow trees to get sufficient light and air, but don’t trim more than 25% of a trees green leaves.
  • Trim off dead branches
  • Prune ornamental trees to help maintain their shape
  • Take off any new shoots growing out of the trunk or branches as these can drain the nutrients
  • When cutting large branches, cut a wedge under the limb about 6 inches from where the branch meets the trunk (branch collar), then from a few more inches out cut vertically from the top of the limb through the branch, then cut the stub parallel to the collar.
  • For small branches, use pruning shears to cut at a slight angle just beyond a healthy bud or leaf
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4 Things You Need Before Buying A Home


 

  1. Emergency fund: An emergency fund saved up to cover unexpected costs is very important as a homeowner. Enough cash to cover 3-6 months of living expenses is ideal. This way, if your income is interrupted for any reason or unexpected expenses arise, you have enough money to still make mortgage payments until back on your feet.
  2. Budgeting skills: If you are already able to adhere to a budget that’s great; if you have time it’s great to try living on a homeowner budget before you buy. Try setting aside mortgage funds every month and see how you do; if you can comfortably live like this, it may be a great time to buy.
  3. Steady income: When deciding how much you want to spend on a home, it’s important to factor in a steady income that will be able to cover mortgage payments and other home expenses. Go a step beyond that and think about how your financial situation would be affected by different life choices such as going back to school, starting a family, or making a career move.
  4. Good credit score: Being familiar with your credit score and credit report is important before trying to obtain a mortgage. Any incorrect information on your report should be corrected and it’s always a good idea to know what your score is. Lenders will not only use your score to determine whether or not to lend to you, but also what kind of rates you may qualify for.
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Why Your Home Might Be Causing Your Bad Mood


Girl in Bad Mood
  • No potted plants: Green leaves breathe life into your home and purify the air (indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air) and have been known to reduce stress levels. Try potting a Prayer Plant, Kalanchoe, a Ponytail Palm or a Philodendron.
  • Your only light source is on the ceiling: If you only use recessed pot lights (especially in the kitchen), you may not realize you really are living in the dark. Pot lights don’t allow the full amount of light to shine from the bulb, so vertical surfaces don’t get lit very well. Adding task lighting can help you to see what you are doing and add warmth to a space.
  • Your bedroom is centered around the TV: It may seem relaxing, but zoning out while watching TV before bed can actually prevent you from falling asleep as easily as you should be.
  • Your entryway is a dumping ground: Setting up a makeshift mudroom in the entryway may seem smart, but feng shui principles warn against a cluttered foyer.
  • Your dining room is painted a cool blue: Some blue hues can feel icy instead of inviting and they have actually been found to be an appetite suppressant. If you are looking to lose weight that might be great but it sure doesn’t create a cozy and comfortable spot for Thanksgiving!
  • Your curtains are too low: Drapes can be hung from the ceiling instead of the top of the window frame in order to create the illusion of more space while also allowing more feel good natural light in from the window.
  • All of your accessories are solid colors: When choosing various home accessories, don’t be too matchy-matchy. This can create a dull and boring look which won’t keep you energized. Instead, opt for different colors and patterns which will liven up the space.
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Getting Value From Outdoor Upgrades


When adding features to your yard, it’s important to not only install what you love, but to think about adding something that adds value as well. The Residential Landscape Architecture Trends Survey ranks outdoor features that are rising in popularity:

  • Outdoor lighting: (98.3% of architects rated this as very popular) Lighting can be a low cost upgrade as well with both solar and LED lighting available.
  • Terraces, patios, and decks: (97.7%) These features are desirable and can add value to your home because it’s like adding another room to your house.
  • Low maintenance landscaping: (95.4%) Well done landscaping can add up to 28% to the value of your home and really increases the curb appeal.
  • Fire pits and fireplaces: (95.4%) Building your own fire pit can be a low cost and easy DIY project.
  • Built-in seating: (89.6%) Adding seating to outdoor areas such as patios and decks adds functionality to the space and is almost like adding square footage.
  • Fencing: (88.5%)
  • Native plants: (84.5%)
  • Drip-water efficient irrigation: (84.5%)
  • Pergolas: (82.8%)
  • Water features: (81.6%)
These are less popular outdoor features so make sure if you install these, you are really going to love them:
  • Geo-thermal heated pools: (27.2%)
  • Outdoor cooling systems: (37.2%)
  • Movie/TV theaters: (42.3%)
  • Shower/bath: (46.8%)
  • Gazebos: (48.5%)
  • Turf lawns: (54%)
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First Time Home Buyer Guide


 

  • Determine Your Need: Make sure you are buying a home for the right reasons. Think about your future goals and family plans; do you plan on marrying and starting a family? Is your job stable or do you plan on making a big change in the near future? These are all important factors to consider when going through the process of buying a home.
  • Do The Math: Think about what kind of down payment you will be able to put down as well as closing costs including taxes and property insurance. Do your research and look into property taxes for areas that you like and shop around for home insurance rates.
  • Be Prepared: Having necessary documents ready to go will make the closing process go smoothly. In most cases, you will need a government issued ID, credit report (these can be obtained for free every year), verification form from your employer, W-2 forms, federal tax returns, and bank and asset statements.
  • Search The Inventory: A house is most likely the largest investment that you will ever make in your life so look around. Being a qualified Realtor, I am able to show you available inventory in any given area and can guide you in the process of determining what home is right for you.
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Cutting Down On Home Improvement Waste


 

  • Save materials: Although many materials from a project need to be thrown out, many others can be saved. Set apart lumber, appliances, lighting fixtures, etc that can be used again. There are many organizations that collect such items and reuse them.
  • Communicate with your contractor: Let your contractor know that you would like to recycle as many materials as possible. There are many options for wood such as reclaimed products, decks, even mulch for the landscaping. Asphalt and concrete can be reused as well.
  • Use recycled content materials: There are many options now for materials made from post consumer and recycled materials. You can find glass tiles, carpet, kitchen counters, drywall and insulation made from recycled content. These materials look great and they are also environmentally friendly.
  • Consider adaptability: Most homeowners do not have future renovations in mind when building a new home. It is  smart to build a home that is easily adaptable, either for you or for future owners. If a home is built with adaptability in mind, future renovations will be easier both financially as well as waste wise.
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Summer Activities For Kids

 

  • Bake cookies
  • Play board games
  • Do puzzles
  • Do watercolor pictures
  • Make homemade cards and send them to family members and friends
  • Camp out in the living room
  • Use tape to make hop scotch on the floor
  • Have a play date
  • Visit a children’s museum
  • Make a teepee or a fort
  • Use a playpen to make a DIY ball pit at home
  • Play balloon ping pong using paper plates glued to craft sticks
  • Read with your kids
  • Create a race track on the floor for hot wheels cars using masking tape
  • Fly kites
  • Make play dough
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Play at the park
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Go to the beach
  • Write a pen pal letter to cousins
  • Make homemade popsicles
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Visit with grandparents
  • Ride bikes
  • Go bowling
  • Pick flowers
  • Go to an aquarium
  • Build a fort
  • Have a movie marathon on a rainy day
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