Consumer Real Estate News

    • 10 Best Snacks to Boost Your Immunity

      26 February 2021

      Even without COVID-19, right now is the naturally occurring cold and flu season. While there’s a formula for staying healthy, nutritionists say these 10 snacks contain nutrients shown to help support the immune system and possibly reduce the duration or severity of flu symptoms:

      1. Raisins - Naturally sweet, raisins can satisfy a sweet tooth and provide potassium and fiber—nutrients associated with improved immune function. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon for an extra boost of antioxidants.
      2. Baked Sweet Potato - Tasty, tummy-warming and high in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants, a medium-sized baked sweet potato as an afternoon snack will keep you satisfied until dinner time for only the small price of about 100 calories.
      3. Bell Pepper With Hummus - Bell peppers provides a boost of vitamin C —and the hummus adds gut-friendly fiber to support the immune system.
      4. Fortified Cereal - It’s not just for breakfast. Whole grains fortified with zinc, iron, vitamin D and folate supply 100 percent of daily iron needs and 15 to 20 percent of daily zinc, vitamin D and folate needs.
      5. Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter - Eat the skins, which contain quercetin, a plant compound that helps reduce infection risk. Peanut butter is packed with protein, which the body uses to help fight off germs.
      6. Ginger Tea - A warming pick-me-up, tea contains polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants which may help keep your immune system strong. Grate in some ginger for anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties to help fight infections. 
      7. Sardine Toast - Sardines are rich in zinc, which boosts the production of immune cells, omega-3 fatty acids (which are associated with heart health) and vitamin D to help fight infection. Try mixing crushed sardines with a little lemon juice, olive oil and chopped onion, then spread it on toasted whole grain bread.
      8. Beef Jerky - This popular snack is very rich in zinc, which has been shown to support the immune system by fighting inflammation.
      9. OJ Smoothie - Using fortified orange juice will give your smoothie a healthy boost of vitamins C and D. 
      10. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries - Eight strawberries contain almost 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and fiber. The chocolate coating? Because chocolate is delish—and you deserve it! 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Improve Wellness With Affordable Bathroom Upgrades

      26 February 2021

      (Family Features) Wellness is at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind, including keeping germs at bay and creating surroundings that promote mental and physical health. Even small, but important, spaces like the bathroom can benefit from changes with wellness in mind. 

      A bathroom can be one of the easiest rooms in your home to give a little extra TLC toward creating a healthier lifestyle. These cost-effective measures can turn your bathroom into a more practical, functional space that promotes your well-being. 

      Switch Up Surfaces
      The countertops in your bathroom, much like the flooring, must be able to withstand a lot of water. Nonporous vanity tops, such as those made from quartz, hold up to being wet constantly and can help keep germs from breeding. In addition to being easy to clean, a solid-surface option like quartz never needs to be sealed or polished, making it an aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting option. 

      Clean Green  
      Bathrooms are often hot and steamy places, and water vapors in the air can carry potentially harmful chemicals from cleaning products. Green cleaning products are made to control the spread of bacteria and viruses using safe and effective means. Not only are they helpful in preventing asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, but they are a low-cost way to improve overall indoor air quality.  
      What you use to clean yourself is just as important. Using green or organic personal care items can help reduce toxin exposure and lessen the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

      Reduce Humidity
      All that steam can affect your health in other ways, too, since it creates a humid environment that encourages mold and mildew. A heated towel rack is an inexpensive way to add a touch of luxury to your space while generating heat that helps reduce humidity and the growth of mold and mildew, therefore benefitting indoor air quality. 

      Heated towel racks like those from Amba Products come in a variety of finishes and styles to coordinate with your decor. For modest accommodations, the Radiant Small is a space-saving choice, and freestanding models are available if wall space is at a premium. Another advantage: Since the racks dry towels, they’ll stay mildew-free longer and don’t need to be washed as often, which helps save valuable natural resources. 

      Enhance Air Quality
      Creating a green, spa-like oasis with plants can bring wellness benefits that don’t break the bank.  Indoor plants help rid the environment of pollutants, and the energy and ambiance they add may have mental health benefits, too. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue or peace lily are popular options to incorporate as natural air purifiers.  
      Explore Color

      A bathroom’s color palette can also play a role in your wellness goals. Warmer shades like red and orange enhance energy while cooler colors like green and blue can be calming. 

      Begin planning bathroom upgrades that improve your health and well-being with more tips and ideas at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top Home Decor Trends for 2021

      26 February 2021

      With most people spending more time at home than ever, it is not surprising that home design trends in 2021 will focus on comfort and functionality. From clean lines to homey touches that remind you of Grandma’s house,  some of these popular styles may surprise you.

      Grandmillenial Style 
      Inspired by the comforts of Grandma's home (cue the velvet sofa, needlepoint and floral curtains), millennials are decorating with a nostalgic sense of style. Expect to see vintage touches and old-school patterns mixed with bold, modern colors.

      Japandi Design 
      In a tumultuous year, the trend moves to a soothing neutral color palette. Enter Japandi style: a combination of Japanese design and Scandinavian minimalism that’s all about sleek lines and neutral color palettes. Check it out on Pinterest, which has seen the search for Japandi increase 100% in the past year. 

      Earth Tones 
      They’re back, replacing recent trends toward gray and bright white. Warm taupes, beiges, sands—basically any earth tone is surging in popularity, both for walls and furnishings.

      Oversized Tiles 
      Out with teeny-tiny bathroom tiles with impossible-to-clean grout lines, and in with larger scale tiles that provide less visual clutter while helping to visually expand a small space.

      Clever Room Dividers 
      Because homes are now serving multiple functions—home office, gym, schools and creative space—the need for privacy and separate zones has increased, and dividers are back. Etsy reports a 134-percent increase in searches for room dividers, while Pinterest saw the search for ‘cloffice’ ideas (as in closet converted into an office) more than double.

      Outdoor Living 
      Taken from the Danish concept of "friluftsliv," or "free air life," the age of coronavirus ushers in more options for making small outdoor gatherings comfortable. Fire pits, weatherproof upholstery, comfy patio furniture and even drink ledges for balcony railings are being sought after for backyards, patios and balconies.

      Neon Lights 
      Brighten up 2021 with fluorescent light fixtures—neon lighting is back with a modern look. Customized neon word art and neon-hued LED lights are trending. On Pinterest, searches for "neon room" and "LED light signs" have already more than tripled.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Smart Clicks: How to Shop Online Like a Pro

      25 February 2021

      (Family Features) Over the past year, online shopping has become the norm for all kinds of purchases, from groceries and household essentials to gifts and clothing.

      Shopping for clothes and other items from the comfort of your home has multiple advantages, including the convenience to shop on your own schedule and the ability to do more thorough research to get the best prices before you buy. However, if you’re not used to doing it, shopping online for items you typically purchase at brick and mortar stores can be daunting.

      To make your online shopping experiences more efficient and successful, consider these tips from Kellie Brown, fashion influencer and author of the “And I Get Dressed” blog. 

      Look Around for Good Deals
      If you have your eye on a particular item, shop around on multiple sites for it. Prices can vary from one website to another, and you could be missing out on big savings by not doing your research. When you’re comparing items, be sure to pay attention to details. Verify model or style numbers, colors and other specifics to ensure you’re comparing apples to apples. 

      Ultimately, you may find the same item with a slight difference that you’re willing to accept for a better price. Be sure you’re checking diligently so you have all the data you need to make a well-informed decision. 
      Doing research online may also help you locate discount codes that can help bring down the price if you buy from a specific online retailer.

      Know Your Measurements
      Clothing is one category that shoppers either love or hate to buy online. Brown sees one distinct advantage: skipping the fitting room.

      “Shopping for clothes online can seem daunting, but one of the biggest perks is being able to avoid the dreaded dressing room experience,” Brown said. “I hate the process of waiting in line, the overhead lighting, wonky mirrors and having to evaluate clothing in a flash.”

      Buying online lets you ditch the fitting room in favor of the comfort of your own home, where you can take time to consider your new garments in private.

      Brown cautions that the first rule of shopping for clothes online is recognizing sizing isn’t always universal. For example, a size 18 from one store may fit completely different at another store. If you know your measurements, you can compare those with the listed size chart. That way, you can select the best size for specific brands or products. 

      Use the Right Credit Card
      Joining a store’s loyalty program can be advantageous if you are a frequent shopper at a specific brand or retailer. Also, it’s important to realize not all credit cards are the same, and some offer rewards for online shopping, including cash back.

      “The most versatile option is a card that adapts with your spending, such as the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card that lets you earn 3% cash back in a category of your choice,” Brown said. “Hint: Online shopping is one of those categories. The rewards don’t expire, and if you are a Preferred Rewards member, you could boost your rewards by 25-75%, which means you could earn up to 5.25% cash back on your transactions. These rewards can be redeemed into your savings account as money for future shopping.”

      Double Check Return and Exchange Policies
      Make sure you know the return policy of the retailer you’re shopping with to ensure your return or exchange will be accepted, if necessary. Being an avid online shopper, Brown offers a few important tips for dealing with items that may need returned. 

      Many stores won’t accept open packages or clothing with tags removed, so be sure you know the guidelines before tearing into your packages when they arrive. 

      You should also check whether you can return items to a local store, if there’s one available, or if you’ll have to ship a return, and find out who is responsible for return shipping costs.

      It’s also important to be conscious of timing since most retailers have specific rules about how long you have to return an item. Some use the order date as the starting point while others use the delivery date. Especially with shipping delays that may occur, be clear on dates before you order. Many stores offer extended returns windows, but it’s still smart to know the expectations up front.

      Online shopping can save you valuable time and money, especially when you’re smart about your purchases.

      Find more information at

      Stay Safe Online
      Online shopping offers plenty of benefits but being cautious with your credit card information and banking information can help you avoid certain risks. Consider these tips from Better Money Habits, Bank of America’s free financial education platform, to help you protect your finances while shopping online. 

      Use powerful passwords: Avoid the temptation to set a password you can remember easily and instead use something a little more complex that would be hard for others to guess or hack. Use a distinct password for each online account so you don’t make multiple accounts vulnerable if your personal information does get stolen. Also change your passwords periodically for added security.

      Look for the lock: If you're shopping online, be sure the address begins with https. The “S” tells you the site is secure, and don't forget to look for the little lock icon in the browser before you enter any payment information.

      Secure your networks: Whether using your home Wi-Fi, a mobile device while on the go or a public computer, you need to take steps to secure your info. Start by password protecting your home's network. When you log in to any financial account while away from home, like at a coffee shop or restaurant, don't do so on an open network. If you're using a shared computer, be sure to clear all your personal information when you log out.

      Set up notifications: One easy way to keep an eye on your credit card information is to sign up for mobile or email alerts with your bank. This way, each time your card is used, you receive a notification. Plus, your bank may be able to notify you of any suspicious activity.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top Office Meal Prep Tips You Need

      25 February 2021

      Whether you’re heading to the office or telecommuting, social distancing regulations have ensured that lunch time isn’t the same as it used to be. Gone is the group rendezvous with coworkers at your local taco stand, and in its place is an opportunity to begin a new habit. These easy meal prep tips will get you started.

      Start With a Protein. Ensure there is enough protein in each meal to keep you satiated—after all, you won’t save time or money if you end up visiting the vending machine for snacks throughout the day. Avoid this by starting with a protein base to plan a nutrient-dense lunch. Choose an animal-based protein such as chicken or beef, or opt for a plant-based alternative like lentils or chickpeas.

      Mix and Match Your Sides. A few simple sides such as rice, steamed or sauteed greens, sweet potato or quinoa can all be mixed and matched with the protein source of your choice to create new and unique dishes. Make a couple larger batches of two or three sides to mix and match with your protein options for the week.

      Swap Out Sauces and Spices. If you force yourself to eat unseasoned rice and chicken for lunch, you’re going to be pining for those street tacos more than ever. To keep your meals interesting and appealing, swap out spices and sauces for added variety. Taco seasoning with chicken and rice proves to be an excellent base to a taco bowl, while adding pesto to that same chicken the next day can create a hearty and completely different meal using the same protein base.

      Meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Finding a happy medium simply requires getting creative with your sauces and sides to add variety while ensuring an easy week ahead. Whether you’re heading into work in-person, or you’re facing back-to-back Zoom meetings, there’s nothing better than having a delicious home-cooked meal waiting for you at lunchtime. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.