Fitness House Chores: How to Workout While You Clean the House, Continued

Part 2 – FLOORS

In Part 1 – Dishes, we discussed ways to work out to music you love while putting away the dishes. Here are several ways to do the same while cleaning the floors. The ‘dishes exercises’ were mainly strength based. Floors are your opportunity to achieve you cardio goals. Trust us, you’ll make it happen because you’ll be having so much fun doing this while listening to your favorite songs!  


Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming the floors:


“Rock-n-roll Sweep”   While sweeping the floor, channel your favorite guitar player. Recall the way they swing their arm in large, sweeping circles while they play. Set a number of strokes to sweep the floor with before each arm circle. Such as sweeping the floor for 20 strokes, and then doing 10 full air guitar arm circles. Repeat and be sure to work both sides. Be sure to use your upper back in addition to your arms so that it’s full body motion.


“Risky Business Slide” This is fun! Sweep the floor in long, narrow sections. Do so normally down the length of the room. Then, hold on tight to the broom, run a few steps and slide the rest of the way back across the strip you just swept. Bonus – your socks will attract lint, making your floors that much cleaner. This works best on hard surface floors.


“Mop Slow Dance”  Mopping the floor always requires a lot of repeated ‘rinse & wring.’ Each time you wring out the mop you have an opportunity to use it to work your core. Hold it horizontally, parallel to the floor, with both hands grasping it widely and near each end. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Twist all the way to one direction, then back to center, and then twist to the other side. Repeat. Put on a slow song and pretend you’re at a school dance!


“Vacuum Shimmy”   This method entails long strides and rapid back stepping. Start at the longest end of the room, so you have as much space as possible to walk forward. Do so in long strides. Then, staying in the same ‘lane,’ use fast, small steps to shimmy back to your starting point. You’re heart rate will increase, and your carpet will get vacuumed twice all over.


Next read Part 3: How to work out while you clean the house – WINDOWS AND BATHROOMS


Go back and read Part 1: How to work out while you clean the house – DISHES

Halloween Inspired Treats

22534191_STrick or treat? Most of us would pick treat. Whether or not you have kids, Halloween can bring out the inner child in all of us. Why not grab a few pumpkins to carve and cook up some of the following spooky treats. It’s a fun way to spend an evening entertaining little ones and adults alike.

Once you have hollowed out a pumpkin you can use it to hold all kinds of dips. Use black tortilla chips for a creepy effect.

Make witch fingers out of bread stick dough. Cut pepperoni slices to look like fingernails. Don’t forget to score the dough with a knife, creating knuckles and wrinkles for a more realistic look. If you don’t want to use breadstick dough you can make fingers from carrot sticks. Simply attach an almond fingernail with cream cheese and stand the carrots up in a bowl of ranch dressing.

Make green jello, mix in pineapple juice, lemon lime soda and vodka (if adults only) and pour into a punch bowl. In the meantime add dry ice and water to a large cauldron. Fit the punch bowl into a cauldron. Now you have magically smoking witches brew.

Use test tubes to hold tomato soup. Cut out pumpernickel bread in monster shapes and make grilled cheese.

Fitness House Chores: How to Work Out While You Clean the House

Part 1 – DISHES

At first, the idea of combining house chores with working out might sound like a method of torture. Most people don’t enjoy cleaning, and nearly everyone struggles to find motivation for exercise. Why in the world would any sane person want to do them at the same time? Because it’s a smart way to multi-task.

You could easily gain an extra two hours per day if you didn’t have to go to the gym after you’ve tidied up the house. Not only do you save the hour of exercise, you also recapture the time you would have spent driving to and from your gym. Furthermore, both activities are more likely to get accomplished in the same day.

Imagine, no guilt at bedtime about skipping one or the other! Most importantly, though, doing these two tasks at the same time translates into some serious fun. Just add your favorite music. You must be willing to sing and dance, and enjoy some air guitar on the mop or broom!

So, before you try the suggestions in this three part series load your favorite party playlist and let your hair down. You’ll get the best results if you also mute your phone. You’ll get a fantastic, uninterrupted workout, and the house will get cleaned in record time. 


“Dish Squat” – Each time you put away something in a lower cabinet, squat rather than bend. Keep your feet wide apart and use your glutes and hamstrings to raise and lower your body. Engage your core to stabilize your back, and don’t over extend your knees past your ankles. Challenge yourself to do one dish at time, so you can accomplish multiple squats. Dance between sets!


“Cabinet Calves” – Each time you put away something that is slightly higher than your natural reach, raise your heels off the floor three times to work out your calves. Do this with feet straight forward, then toes turned slightly in, and then toes turned slightly out. And of course, to the beat of the song!


“Balance Cutlery” – Improve your balance and coordination by standing on one foot while you place silverware in its tray. Alternate sides. Start with something simple like lifting your foot an inch off the ground, and then challenge yourself by raising it higher each time. You can also extend it in different directions to increase the difficulty. Engage your core actively if you start to wobble. 

Next read Part 2: How to work out while you clean the house – FLOORS 

Making Use of Recessed Art Niches

One of the best ways to show off art work in your home is in a recessed niche. Niches are fantastic because they allow you to group and arrange many items without taking up space in a room. Niches go into the wall rather than taking up valuable floor space. They give space where you didn’t think you had any. There are lots of ways you can use a recessed art niche in your home; try some of these ideas to turn any room into an art gallery with niches.

What to Put Inside
The biggest question many homeowners have about using recessed niches is what to put inside them. Think of your niche as the area where you place things you want to focus on or notice. Because they are a part of the wall, niches tend to get a little extra attention. You can place anything at all in in this extra space. But yet, by taking the time to select and arrange the items with care, you can make a statement in the room. Ideas for using art niches include:
• Placing pottery and unique items gathered on trips inside them.
• Arranging seasonal décor and including unusual items like a branch of fall leaves or fresh flowers with the objects.
• Resting a picture or a mirror inside the niche, rather than hanging it on the wall to draw extra attention to it.
• Painting the back of the niche a different color than the rest of the wall so that it stands out and highlights what’s inside better.
• Lining the back of the niche with glass mosaics, decorative wallpaper, or other unique materials to draw extra attention.
• Placing unusual items like small lamps inside one or two to bring extra light to the entire display.
• Placing items that have a special meaning like a bottle of sand and some shells from a favorite beach trip.
Remember that no matter what you place in the niche, it will become something that people focus on when they enter the room. So take the time to find special and unique items that say exactly what you want the viewer to hear about your personality and style.

Great Items to Bring When Trick-or-Treating

5823969_SA quick checklist to help your Halloween night go a little more smoothly:

• Glowsticks – There’s no end to how these little gems can help you on a dark night! Attach a glowstick to each child in your group to make everyone a little easier to see. Use matching glowsticks for the whole group or assign everyone a different color!
• Bottled water – Most kids will test their candy before arriving back home. Water will help wash it down and keep everyone hydrated.
• Sturdy bags or buckets – No one likes picking candy up after it has fallen on the floor! If you are traveling with multiple trick-or-treaters, an extra bag or two might save the evening!
• Flashlights and extra batteries – No need to explain this one!
• Jackets – In many locations, the temperature can change quickly once the sun sets. Also, don’t forget hats and gloves if the night might get super chilly!
• Camera – don’t forget this one so you can capture the moments for the years to come.
• Kleenex – Cool nights can come with noses that leak!
• A great sense of fun – Make sure to enjoy the time with the kids. Halloween is a fun night for everyone!

We hope your night is one filled with fun, sweets and safety!

How to decorate your home using magazines

There were rumors, when all reading material became available digitally, print magazine wouldn’t survive. Nonsense! We still love magazines and even if we don’t always get around to reading them, they still come each month on subscription. Sure, you could throw them in the recycle bin. But why not display them while they’re current?


Instead of leaving current issues in a stack where you won’t remember to read them, use wire hangers to hang them individually. This is a great way to use all those wire dry cleaning hangers you have lying around. Hang one magazine on each hanger, about half way through the magazine so it hangs evenly. Use a nail or tack in the wall and hang the hanger on it. You can hang just one as a focal point near a place where you organize other current items like mail. Or, hang several of them (each on their own hanger) in an interesting configuration on a wall. This is a great option in the bathroom. Speaking of the bathroom, another neat way to display magazines is by hanging them on the horizontal towel racks. Many people now roll up clean towels and store them in a cabinet or basket. Rather than leave the towel racks empty, offer up current magazines.


Another great idea for using magazines to decorate your home is to create a display piece by folding some of the interior pages inward. As show in the photo, you can create a somewhat sculptural piece in the form of a heart. Make sure to use adhesive to permanently set it in place. We suggest using a magazine that is relevant to the room it’s in. Perhaps a fashion magazine in the bedroom/closet space, or a recipe magazine in the kitchen. What’s your favorite magazine?

Color Challenge: How to Use Bold Color to Accomplish a Nature Inspired Home Design Theme

Bold hues are a beautiful choice for decorating your home. But some people aren’t fond of jewel tones or primary colors, a9042342_Snd some homes just don’t seem right for them. Perhaps you live in a natural setting, surrounded by mountains, or maybe you’re a person who feels most content when your indoor environment reminds you of Mother Earth. Nature provides excellent inspiration, but that doesn’t mean you have to opt for drab, muted tones. Truth is, amidst the pale tones outside, you’ll find gorgeous color that demands attention.


Animal and insect life are great resources for how to effortlessly combine bold with natural. In this example we’ll rely on the stunning Peacock Butterfly and the adorable Red Panda. The most important color in this scheme is the russet red-brown seen on the wings and fur. It’s warm, and when used for wood furniture and fine fabrics it adds a sense of luxury. Further, the richness of the color provides balance for the other lively colors, such as the blue and yellow. The blue is what is known as the “pop color,” and the yellow adds brightness and cheer.

TealBrightYellow RedOrangeBrownBrightGreenBlackMaroon

















Note that the green in the photo is quite present as well in the form of plant life. You can certainly rely on plants in the home, but you can also incorporate the green with a few small accessories as well. The neutrals in the color pallet are black, and two additional browns, as shown in the example squares. Utilizing more than one neutral brown is critical. If you use only the bold pop colors, the room won’t feel like a nod to the outdoors. There you’ll find infinite combinations of neutral colors serving as a backdrop for the impressive animal and insect kingdom. Who knew? An indoor version of the outdoors can be vivid and fun! If you love this idea, let us know by suggesting an insect and mammal combo that would accomplish the same effect!

Color Challenge: How to Decorate with Purple – Stained Wood Planks Inspiration

In all societies throughout the world, purple is generally revered as having deep and numerous meanings. It’s associated with royalty, creativity, mystery, rarity and extravagance, among other things. It’s sometimes considered spiritual and grounding too. If you want to decorate a room that has a definite vibe and impactful energy, comprise several variations of purple. How they feel is entirely up to which ones you choose, and how you combine them.



To create our example pallet, we took inspiration from this photo of wood planks stained with various violet tones. We absolutely love the emphasis on red-violet hues, which feel warm, inviting and a tad feminine. How to pull it off, you ask? The most important factor is the division between three light colors and three dark colors, with an emphasis on the light colors. Although your eye may first be drawn to the plum and blue-violet, they only account for 1/3 of the overall scheme. Another 1/6 is true purple. But, the majority of the color scheme is attributable to the light violet and light orchid, with a few slivers of light silver-grey wood peeking through.

Dark PurpleGrapePurplePinkPinkRaspberry

The job of the lighter tints is to take the tension out of the darker colors. Vivid hues can sometimes feel as if there’s no rest, kind of like being at a carnival! It’s fun and exciting, but after awhile the enthusiasm turns to fatigue. Purple can be overwhelming in the same way, so including softer tones is Creamcritical. Further,
we suggest incorporating more of the silver grey than what is found in our inspiration photo of wood planks. It provides a place for the eye to rest. Use just a little if you want to take the edge off. If you want to add sophistication and a modern aesthetic be more liberal with the use of it, and incorporate silver and nickel hardware into the room. Whether you’re creating the ultimate comfort zone, or setting a royal and refined tone, a combination of five purples and a silver grey will serve your purposes perfectly. Before you get started, tell us, what’s the word or vibe that come to mind for you when you think of purple?

Color Challenge: How to Use a Split Complementary Scheme with Purple, Magenta and Yellow

The average DIY home enthusiast isn’t necessarily aware of the detailed facets of the color wheel. There are seemingly infinite combinations and a glance at the wheel might make your eyes cross. However, there are a handful of color combos that are straightforward and easy to use. One of which is called the Split Complimentary. This combination uses a base color, in this case a buttery yellow, and two additional colors. In our example, these are purple-violet and magenta, and both are on either side of purple on the color wheel. This means that they coordinate very well with yellow, because yellow is directly across from purple on the wheel. (This means they are complimentary.)

This pallet works bea13683640_Sutifully with just three colors, but all three are rather vivid, which could possibly make your room feel a bit intense. If you’re going for a high energy environment, forge ahead. But, if you want the space to feel a little more harmonious, add in two soft pinks: ballerina pink and true rose pink. They will serve as a backdrop for the bolder hues, as well as soften the pallet over all. Notice they are present in our example and inspiration picture – the horse and sunset graphic.

Purple Raspberry watermelon softyellow Peach











A split complimentary color scheme is great for beginners. As long as you stay focused on the three main colors, you can rest assured that the outcome will be successful. If you like our suggestion to add two additional colors to provide balance and harmony, but you’re not interested in two pinks, try another variation. Go for two complimentary versions of the purple-violet. You can use a true light purple tint and a light violet tint. This will require a little guesswork, making it great training ground for developing your eye for color. If that isn’t your goal, stick with our suggested pinks. Or, better yet, make a trip to the art store and buy yourself a color wheel! If you do, we would love for you to revisit this blog post and tell us about a wonderful split complimentary color scheme that you devised on your own!

How to Decorate Your Home Using Your Social Networking Accounts – Part 6

10181681_SIn our sixth and final installment we will wrap up our advice on how to use your online social accounts to create unique décor for your home. Not only are these fun ways to display your life’s happenings, they are also a great way to demonstrate that you are up to speed with modern times. Have your recently visited a home with an old-school Olan Mills portrait hanging on the wall? Or portraits of people trying to look very serious and formal? They seem way out of date! Put those methods to rest by relying on the candid and natural shots that we most often post online.


  • Tip – 11 – Go to the photos section of your account and click on the Albums tab. Then locate photos from various holidays. Choose your favorite from each month or season and download them. Send them to a digital printing source and purchase a calendar. (Be sure to order the size that is best for the resolution of the photos. This may mean a smaller than standard calendar format.) Hang it in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy all year long. It will bring to mind how special last year was, and provide great inspiration for this year’s plans. Hint: You can order more than one calendar and send them to friends and family as gifts!


  • Tip 12 – As mentioned in Part 4 (link) of our series, Instagram posts are best used for printing projects that are conducive to small prints. A very creative use for these is decoupage. If you haven’t heard of it, just Google it to find out what a marvelous DIY technique it is. For purposes of home décor, it can be used on all sorts of household items, such as tables and wooden chests. Imagine a desk covered with all of your awesome Instagram posts – now there’s a conversation piece!

Thanks for reading our six-part series on how to use your social networking accounts to add character and style to your home decorating projects. If you enjoyed the tips in Part 6, don’t forget to go back and read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5!