Upgrade Your Kitchen to Cook Like a Professional Chef

kitchen(StatePoint) Of course, cooking like a chef at home requires talent and practice. But there’s no doubt about it — having the right culinary tools, appliances and prep space is essential, too.

To upgrade your kitchen so that you can cook like a chef, consider the following:

Prep Like a Pro

Save time and energy and get a cleaner cut by maintaining your knives. Properly clean, dry and store knives directly after use and regularly sharpen them. Whether that’s on a magnetic strip on the wall or an in-drawer organizer, the best options will allow you to see all your knives at once so you can reach for the correct one. Precision slicing? You may also wish to invest in a mandoline.

Bake a lot? Consider ditching the measuring cups by using a digital scale instead. You’ll get faster, more accurate results. And the bonus of less to clean-up.

Cook Like a Pro

When it comes to ensuring that there are no limits to what you can do in the kitchen, it’s all about having top-notch appliances. Check out the Pro Series Collection of free-standing ranges from ILVE. Known for their handcrafted Italian appliances, the new series offers chef-quality features such as a removable griddle, high BTU brass burners and a built-in warm drawer to keep cooked food at an ideal temperature for serving. Available in a 36-inch single or unique double oven configuration as well as 40-inch and 48-inch sizes with double ovens, the electric ovens feature multi-function cooking options and included rotisserie accessory. The Pro Series is equipped with features that professional chefs dream of at a price point that the home culinarian can afford. Offered in stainless steel and matte graphite colors, you can get a professional-style cooking experience while maintaining the sleek design of your kitchen.

Move Like a Pro

Do an audit of your current cooking habits, bearing in mind the layout of your kitchen and the organization of go-to ingredients. Are you expending time and energy walking all the way around the kitchen island just to get to the fridge? Are you spending too much time poking around for a particular spice or oil? The optimal flow in your kitchen space will allow for more intuitive food preparation and help you stay light on your feet.

Want to cook like a professional? Update your kitchen accordingly. A few upgrades can help you become a better chef.

3 Unexpected Upgrades to Add Beauty and Comfort to Your Home

home updates(StatePoint) While a simple home upgrade once meant a new area rug or fresh coat of paint, these days, there are new and unexpected ways to update your space in order to add beauty and comfort to your home.

• Think Smart: New technology can add unexpected convenience and luxury to your everyday life. Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, can help make your space cozy, comfortable and secure, giving you the ability to control light bulbs, door locks, blinds, music and more with voice commands. Companion apps also allow you to control home elements through your phone from anywhere.

Particular about your shower? Create the perfect experience every day by programming temperature and water flow settings to your liking.

Enjoying family movie night and don’t want to get off the couch? With a WiFi-enabled SIMPLEconnect smart fan from Hunter Fan Company, for example, you can turn the light and breeze on and off with simple voice commands.

• Living gallery wall: Add vitality and beauty to your space with a living gallery wall, whereby plant life becomes a work of art. Known as a vertical garden, there are many ways to go about it, whether it’s affixing planters in a pattern to your wall or hanging a flat panel of succulents and moss and bordering it with a picture frame. This will create a lively visual and a healthy one at that — adding oxygen to the rooms of your home, or even nutrition, should you choose to plant herbs.

• Add a breeze: Whether you live in an old house where central air is non-existent or you just want to add some ventilation to your space with a low-key upgrade, there’s no need to call in an HVAC team. Adding a ceiling fan to the landing of your staircase, for example, can help pull and circulate cool air into the upstairs space. Or, consider transforming the traditionally neglected laundry room into a space that’s comfortable for getting chores done. The addition of a ceiling fan can create a breeze and alleviate the heat created by the dryer. Low-profile versions like the Cranbrook from Hunter Fan Company, are a good fit for the small square footage of a laundry room.

For more design or upgrade tips, follow Hunter Fan Company on instagram at @Hunterfanco or visit itsaHunter.com.

Thinking outside the box when updating your space can go a long way toward adding beauty and comfort to your home.

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PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Diana Elizabeth Blog for Hunter Fan Company

Top Tips and Decluttering Insights for Your Next Move

packing oneMoving can be emotional and the ways you manage it – including the downsizing of your possessions – may be influenced by your age, suggests a new study.

“From heirlooms to kitchen gadgets, moving is one of the few times in life when you’re forced to consider all your possessions and decide what goes and what stays,” says Pat Baehler, senior vice president, Mayflower Moving. “It can be a journey of ups and downs, from feeling brief guilt over purging gifts or older furniture, to pure joy in remembering the story behind a family heirloom and thinking of the memories you’ll soon make in your new home.”

Baby boomers (64 percent) and Generation Xers (60 percent) are more likely than millennials (53 percent) to put an heirloom in a safe place to pass along, according to the 2018 Mayflower Mover Insights Study, which explored different generations’ relationships with their belongings. However, millennials (17 percent) are more likely than Generation Xers (12 percent) and baby boomers (10 percent) to refurbish or repurpose an heirloom into something new.

The survey, conducted by Mayflower, which moves approximately 50,000 families annually, also explored how Americans feel about decluttering and purging unused items: 80 percent of survey respondents agree that clutter stresses them out, and half declutter their living space to feel more relaxed.

While such emotional stressors are often unavoidable during a move, the following tips from the experts at Mayflower can help you ease the logistical and financial burdens.

• Most people want to move on a Thursday or Friday, so if you can move earlier in the week there will likely be more availability. Likewise, it’s best to move in the early or middle part of the month, as well as to avoid summer — the busiest time for most moving companies.

• Prevent mishaps. Consider letting professionals pack breakable items.

• Help offset relocation costs by looking into programs such as CityPointe, provided by Mayflower, offering cash back on the sale and purchase price of your home.

• Of the millions of Americans that move annually, fraud occurs in as many as 3,000 cases. Don’t get scammed. Ask for a moving quote from three companies and don’t be hooked by the lowest price. If one estimate is much lower than the others, it could be a red-flag that the company isn’t legitimate. Generally, reputable moving companies will not require a deposit, so don’t pay up-front.

• Reduce energy spent packing and unpacking. While 57 percent of survey respondents say they’ll purge everything they don’t need before moving, only 44 percent have actually done this in the past. Luckily, there are both new and lucrative channels for doing so: 47 percent of Americans say they use some kind of online service, social site or app to help them declutter, 26 percent are considering selling unused items through a resale or consignment shop and 35 percent are considering selling unused items online, according to the Mayflower survey. For additional moving tips and tools, visit Mayflower.com.

Whether you’re a minimalist or a pack rat, smart strategies can mean a low-stress move.

(StatePoint Media)
PHOTO SOURCE: (c) SolisImages/stock.Adobe.com

5 Easy Ways to Update Your Home Office for Greater Productivity

c32d42d0(StatePoint) If you work from home, you likely spend a lot of time in your home office, which makes it’s design just as important as the rest of your home. If it’s not up to par, it’s time to bring new life to the space.

A few easy updates will help you feel more comfortable and inspire you towards greater productivity.

1. Let in light. Update your window treatment to maximize natural light and get more direct sunshine, and swap out drab lamps for eye-catching fixtures that offer brighter light. Make sure your office is a well-lit place where you can see what you’re doing without straining your eyes.

2. Update your tools. Having up-to-date tools makes working in your home office that much more efficient and enjoyable. Swap out older tech with newer tools offering the latest advancements, such as Casio’s HR-170RC next generation compact printing calculator. It has a host of features, including two-color printing (red/black), a tax calculation function, a clock/calendar and a power adapter.

3. Decorate. Ditch the bare walls and add an interesting focal point — whether it’s a tapestry, cool shelving or an art print that matches your interests and inspires you creatively.

4. Go green. It is said that certain plants and flowers can promote health at home. Add some plants or fresh cut flowers to your home office to reap the benefits.

5. Get organized. Flight clutter and make important items and documents easier to locate with organizational tools like filing cabinets, folders and bins. A clean and tidy work zone will help you to feel more on top of your work, and may encourage you to form other great habits.

5 Rules for a More Organized Home in the New Year

(StatePoint) After the hectic holidays, it’s no surprise that many people commit to getting better organized in the new year. eb166683

There are plenty of reasons why people obsess over organization and resolve to master it year after year. Household items become easier to find. Rooms all of a sudden seem bigger and more welcoming. Each walk past a tidy linen closet — where there was once an avalanche waiting to spill forward — comes with a small sense of accomplishment. Whether you’re after smarter storage or looking to cut clutter, successful resolutions begin with a thoughtful approach.

 

Think Small

While it’s fun to dream about a large-scale routine reset, smaller sustainable actions are key to lasting change. Take it one room or even one drawer at a time to keep momentum positive and to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Doing so also allows you to focus, leading to more creative solutions for taking advantage of under-utilized areas. For example, you may find using over-the door organizers a great way to free up space in home offices and craft rooms.

Say “No” to Clutter

Everyone has items they keep around for no real reason that aren’t particularly meaningful and don’t serve a purpose. Being able to objectively identify these items makes everything easier.

Paring down possessions doesn’t have to be painful. That cardinal shaped cookie jar that you’ve always been on the fence about? It would make an incredibly thoughtful “just because” gift for an ornithology-obsessed aunt. Often, less can literally be more: Consignment shops and eBay make it easy to turn four or five pieces of furniture you “kind of like” into one piece you absolutely love.

Store Décor Wisely

Everyone loves holiday decorating. Taking down decorations afterward… not so much. It’s difficult to preserve items in a haphazard collection of cardboard boxes, plastic bags and mismatched bins, all crammed into the corner of a garage or basement. Stepping up storage containers can make a big difference. For a wide selection of storage solutions specifically designed for holiday décor, check out Improvements, which offers everything from ornament and gift wrap organizers to wreath and garland storage bags.

Keep a Place for Everything

Nobody likes wasting time gathering or searching. Make storage more convenient and efficient by streamlining. Items frequently used together should be kept together, from coffee supplies to vehicle maintenance tools.

Make a Plan

Create a schedule so nothing is overlooked. Knowing which project is next gives you time to prepare and purchase any storage items you might need. When scheduling, designate specific rooms and spaces for certain seasons. For example, the first warm days of spring are made for cleaning out the shed or garage.

More organizational inspiration can be found by visiting improvementscatalog.com.

Successful resolutions are essentially new habits that become part of a lifestyle. Deliberately choosing to incorporate small acts of organization on a daily basis will pay off tremendously throughout the year.

 

Quick and Easy Bathroom Makeovers

Now that the winter weather has set in you are probably spending more time in your home.  Are things looking a bit dated?  Here are four quick and easy ideas from Century 21 to freshen up your bathrooms without spending much time or money.

Replace Showerheads

Still stuck with the same showerhead that was there when you moved in? Consider replacing it. It’s an easy installation that may make all the difference. Look for a showerhead with settings for water pressure and flow so that each member of your family can choose their own preferences.

Update Towel Racks

While towel racks and other hardware in your bathroom don’t exactly expire, their styles might. Browse options available across all types of racks, such as free standing, wall mounted, and over the door, to find a more current look that fits your home decor personality. Visitors may notice that new pieces give an updated look to the entire room.

Add Fresh Linens

When was the last time you bought new bathroom linens? If you’re not sure, then it’s time for new ones. Set your new, fluffy towels on display (on that stylish towel rack you just installed) for a fresher look. Make sure to invest in a couple extra for any overnight guests to use.

Frost Windows

Since bathrooms tend to be smaller, they need as much natural light as they can get. While covering up bathroom windows with curtains is essential for privacy, you’re blocking precious sunlight. Instead, try frosting your windows for maximum light while maintaining your privacy.

You might be surprised with how these quick fixes can give new life to an older looking bathroom. Get started today!

Time to Get Organized!

If you are like many people, one of your new year’s resolutions was  to get organized.  We are two weeks into 2015 so it’s time to get going.   If you don’t know where to start, Sara Adrienne Knowles , a Seattle interior designer writing for Zillow.com has some  suggestions for you.

 Learn to let things go

The first step in any organization plan is purging. This can be the hardest part, but it is also the most rewarding.

Do not keep what isn’t functional or doesn’t bring you joy. Also remember that something you let go of might bring someone else a great deal of pleasure.

If you’re not sure you can part with an item, store it in a box and see if you miss it or need it. This is a great litmus test for what’s truly necessary.

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good

Any organization effort is better than no organization effort. It’s best to approach a behemoth task like organizing your entire home in stages.

The house provides us with natural barriers. Think of each room as its own project and it will begin to feel more manageable.

And remember that it gets worse before it gets better, so don’t feel discouraged early on. Organizing is not something that happens in one day – it is a journey and a state of mind.

Think outside the box store

A trip to the Container Store can be fun, but unorthodox storage solutions make for a more interesting space.

Beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces can be highly practical and help make your home more functional. Make use of available and affordable materials when possible to stretch your home organization budget.

The three Bs: bins, buckets and baskets

Oh, and jars. (But that doesn’t start with a B.)

Once you’ve whittled down your belongings to favorites and must haves, you’re going to need somewhere to store them. Baskets and buckets have a wonderful visual impact in a room — filling nooks, resting against chairs, and adding texture and color.

Using jars in the kitchen to store dry goods can make open shelving a lot more appealing. Bonus: With healthy grains and goodies in plain sight, you’ll end up using them more often.

Use your vertical space

If your home doesn’t have a huge footprint, vertical solutions are essential for staying organized. These can be implemented in a more practical manner, like stacking bins and boxes under your bed or in your closet, as well as through design decisions.

Capitalizing on vertical space draws the eye to different parts of the room and creates a sense of balance, in addition to saving important real estate on the floor.

 Feeling inspired or overwhelmed?  Start with one room and you will see the difference in no time!