• Grand Lake, Colorado Townhome Has it All: Location, Location, Location

    Grand Lake Colorado RentalThe best vacation spots include the best locations.  You wouldn’t stay in a hotel in the big city if you wanted to vacation in a beach house, would you?  Nor would many of us plan to go deep sea fishing in Iowa.  In the same vein, if you want to visit the stunning vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park, you would ideally stay in a town that is near the park.  As in, really, really close to the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.  How does closer than 2 miles to the western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park sound?  That place is Grand Lake, Colorado.

    Unlike the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, which is near Estes Park, Colorado, the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park did not experience unfortunate flooding Fall, 2013.   Grand Lake is full of charm and is as unpretentious as a resort hamlet can be.  We came upon Grand Lake entirely by accident several years ago.  Our mouths gaped open at the charming town square area as we watched sail boats glide by on Grand Lake.  We ate ice cream cones under the city flagpole and contemplated this sweet little town.  And, we fell in love with the town of Grand Lake.

    Thereafter, we visited twice a year for two years until we purchased a modern, lovely townhome just inside city limits.  We had several buying options and looked at a lot of cabins, which were either too run down or way too pricey.  Grand Lake, Colorado  is just a two hour drive from Denver and lots of families have been coming to Grand Lake for generations. Our townhome, just inside the entrance of Grand Lake, Colorado, is less than 2 miles from the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The townhome is within a 5 minute walk to the main boardwalk area of Grand Lake, Colorado.

    If you would like to rent the townhome, please take a look at it on our Vacation Rentals by Owner site HERE.   On the VRBO site, there are a lot of property photos that I have uploaded and I have listed some of our favorite things to do in the Grand Lake area…trust me, there are a lot of things to do in Grand Lake, Colorado, where only the sights are better than the location!

     

     

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  • Make Large Art for Walls The Easy Way

     

    The wide expanse of blank walls inside a home beg for a piece of art to add visual interest.  It is easy to solve this dilemma when you make large art for walls the easy way using Foamula insulation panels.

    Foamula insulation panels are 96 x 4-inches and they fill up a wall nicely after YOU have prepped and painted the panels.  Buy Foamula insulation panels at home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowe’s for about $10 each.  Add some paint, and your own creative touches, and you will have a piece of large art for walls in no time.

    Below are two samples of large art for walls created for less than $20 each. Create YOUR look with different paint and designs. Match a room’s colors or not – - the rest is up to you!

    Hung vertically, this art fills up an entire wall which divides rooms and has a leaf motive.

     

    Please note that the below pieces of large art for walls are samples; you are the artist on this project!

     

     

    Horizontal positioning over a couch shows how large the artwork looks on a wall.

    An old mirror frame was painted and hung on top of the painted foam sheet for visual depth.

    A piece of extruded polystyrene foam board to serve as the base form. Also known as “blue board” or “pink board,” these are large, flexiblefoam board insulating panels for home improvement projects, such as adding walls to a basement. Made by several companies, we used pink board by Owens-Corning, which Corning calls “Foamula insulating sheathing”.  Each panel is 96-in. long, 48-in. wide and 1/2-in. thick. Home Depot sells it  for about $10 per board.

     

    Foamular® 1/2 in. x 48 in. x 96 in. Squared Edge Insulating Sheathing  “Foamular insulating sheathing” (Pink board) by Owens-Corning

    YOU WILL NEED:

    • Acrylic paint
    • 4 1-in. nails
    • Old newspaper
    • Painter’s tape

    TRANSPORTATION and HANDLING:

    • You will need a large SUV OR a pickup truck with a tie-down to bring a sheet of foam board this large home.  We slid ours into a Ford Explorer and drove home hunched down.
    • Sheets are fairly lightweight and can be handled by one person.
    • Foam sheets are easily punctured, so take extreme care when handling. (Although it is possible to camouflage small holes with paint and other creative measures during the decorative process.)
    • When selecting a foam board to purchase, rifle through the stack to find a piece in as close-to-perfect shape as you can find.

    PREPARATION:

    • Ideally, you may decide upon 1 of 2 locations for actually painting a foam board panel once you get it home. Our first suggestion is to prop the panel upright over some spread-out sheets of newspaper in a garage or large work area. The second method is to attach it to the wall and paint it while it is mounted on the wall. Slide newspaper between the foam panel and the wall along the perimeter to keep paint from getting on the wall. You may wish to use painter’s blue tape to hold the newspaper in place. Choose which method you prefer.
    • Decide where the foam panel will be hung and mark off the area on the wall so that the panel will hang level. 
    • Mount the foam panel (either before painting or after) using one of these methods:
    1. Nail the panel directly into wall studs. Locate where the wood beams are (generally 16-in. apart) and hammer through the panel onto the wall using one nail on each corner. Use a nail with a slight head on it.  Add one or two nails into the center of the board if the board is bowed and conceal the nail heads with spackle or paint after you have decided on your design; OR
    2. Apply double-sided, heavy-duty mounting tape to the back of the panel and press it into the wall’s surface.  This method works best on smooth walls.
    • Peel off the protective film that covers the foam board before attaching it to a wall AND before painting it.

    DESIGN IDEAS:

    • Choose colors for your artwork that will enhance the room it will be in. Select a color that is directly opposite the color wheel of a room’s general shade for a striking and dynamic look. For example, if grey or green are the dominate tone in a room, create wall art with bright red or orange dominant features.
    • Select muted tones inspired by nature for a soothing effect.
    • Look at other works of art for inspiration.
    • Add spackle compound on top of some areas of the panel before painting it to create a work of art with a raised surface. Let the spackle dry (about 30 min.) before painting over it.
    • Add other material to the surface of the painting before or after painting it. Get creative! Such added material could include:
    1. Interesting hardware such as nuts or bolts;
    2. copper pipe
    3. glass beads
    4. feathers
    5. metal scroll work
    6. smaller pieces of art such as diminutive frames, photographs or prints

    PAINTING PROCESS:

    • Use a 3-in. disposable foam paint brush or a Styrofoam-handled disposable paint wedge to paint on a base coat of acrylic paint. Choose a color that is generally what you wish to use as your background color.
    • Sketch shapes directly onto the dried base coat of paint, if desired.
    • Cover imperfections in the foam board itself with dabs of spackling compound, added materials or deft use of paint application.
    • Once the paint has dried entirely, it is possible to repaint the entire panel until you are satisfied with the results. You may also wish to change the look every now and then as the rooms decor changes.
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  • Dallas Erased History by Removing the “X” Mark on the Street

     

     

    A large, white “X” painted on the very roadway and approximate spot where JFK was gunned down by an assassin greets those who drive along the same route where JFK’s motorcade traveled while visiting Dallas 50 years ago.   Yet, Dallas erased history by removing the “X” mark on the street.

    I live in Dallas, Texas where the 50th annual observance of President John F. Kennedy’s untimely death in Dallas will occur Friday, November 22.

    For the past 30 years or so, when driving along the same route where JFK’s  motorcade traveled on a visit to Dallas 50 years ago, people could observe the “X” mark on the street.  This week, workers removed the “X” and paved over it.  The word from those in road maintenance swore that this particular patch of road needed “smoothing.”  To that, as my dad often muttered, I say, “Bulltweet.”

    The entire nation and many parts of the world will be watching as the city of Dallas observes and honors JFK’s legacy.  Mike Rawlings, the Mayor of Dallas, has said that the gathering on November 22 is to honor JFK”s legacy.  It is certain that camera’s from around the world will be present in Dallas to record and report this event.  Therefore, it stands to reason Dallas officials do not wish to have a large, glaring “X” marking the area.

    However, I say that the “X” should stay in sight where it once was.  Sure, the “X” made us cringe and caused good-hearted folks to recoil with disgust at the starkness of the “X.”    Personally, what I felt every time I drove over or past that “X” was sadness and a flash of respect for JFK.

    Dallas erased an important part of history by removing the “X” mark on the street.  Yes, a terrible thing happened in Dallas 50 years ago, but removing the “X” denies those passing by the opportunity to remember JFK and, as Dallas Mayor Rawlings stated, remember JFK’s legacy.

     

     

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  • What to Look For in Green Apartment Living

    People who lease apartments may be surprised to find that there are ways to live green while enjoying apartment living.  The term “live green” is a phrase with varying degrees of intensity. Folks determined to take live green to its apex embrace lifestyle changes that call for a greatly reduced carbon footprint, sustainable food systems, and possibly reject grid-based electricity providers.  Learning what to look for in green apartment living is fairly straightforward; follow these guidelines for your own version of living green!

    For most of us, living green means taking a few steps in the right direction toward reducing waste and being kind to the environment.  Fortunately, apartment managers, leasing companies, and builders of today’s apartments are heeding the needs and desires of apartment dwellers as more people than ever appear to be moving toward living green.

    Make a greener move today by searching for apartments that advertise green features such as the following:

    • Look for residences that landscape property using xeriscaping.  Xeriscaping conserves water by using native, drought-tolerant plants on lawns and flower beds.  This landscaping method relies on use of efficient irrigation techniques such as soaker hoses in addition to using mulch, which helps retain soil moisture and reduce water consumption.
    • Make note of whether a property has converted to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) which use less electric power and last longer.
    • Verify that a residence or complex offers a recycling program.  Most apartments offer a large, single bin for residents to share for dumping household garbage into but it is vital for those who wish to embrace recycling that property management offers recycling bins as well for plastic, glass, and paper recyclable.
    • Ask about interior paint and whether VOC-free paint was used.  VOC (volatile organic compounds) are known to slowly give off gas for years and many people, not just those aiming for green living, are intrigued by the new lines of VOC-free paint many paint companies, such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams, are producing.
    • Check out carpets regarding their age and condition.  Old carpets made with certain chemicals are considered toxic.  In 2004, the Carpet and Rug Institute started giving a “Green Label Plus” certification to carpet indicating that it is considered safer than older carpet.
    • Inspect windows to see if they are double-paned.  Double-paned windows are energy efficient than single-paned windows.  Likewise, examine seals around doors that lead outside to ensure that they are snug, further increasing efficiency.
    • Investigate whether major appliances are Energy Star rated.  Energy Star recognized appliances are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting product specifications for energy efficiency.  Translation: That is a big deal when it comes to lower electric bills and a greener thumbprint on the planet.
    • Lastly, apartment homes or residential enclaves that offer covered parking or garages are gems to those who try to live green but must drive a vehicle.  A car’s interior easily reaches 150 degrees on a hot day.  A shaded parking place does wonders to reduce a vehicle’s heat absorption – - saving energy to cool a vehicles interior while being green along the way.
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  • Moroccan Argan Oil: My Skin Freaked Out – Organix brand

     

     

     

    Just a word to those who may have a similar experience:  I used Organix brand Moroccan Argan Oil for the first time yesterday with TERRIBLE RESULTS.  WE are talking welts, hives, and a visit to the doctor’s office.

    I saw the product in the beauty aisle at Target and the label of this product claimed to soothe dry skin.  I have psoriasis on my arms and elbows so I eagerly applied Organix brand Moroccan Argan Oil to those areas and went to bed.  In the morning, I had giant welts on the areas where I had applied the argan oil.  I went to the doctor that same day and got a steroid shot with fair results after several hours.

    My brief research says that argan oil is booming in popularity and that it should never be sold in plastic bottles as that makes the product impure.  Is that a bunch of hooey? I do not know.  Additionally, from what I have read, argan oil is from the nut of the self-named tree and it is becoming so popular that it is well over $90 for a small bottle.  Some sources says argan oil is being ripped off with fake versions sold at cheap prices.

    I  know that I paid $10 for my bottle of Organix brand Moroccan Argan oil from Target (at a Texas location) and  was definitely excited to try it out.  Thanks for nothing to all you leeches and snake oil salespeople who want to make a buck at the expense of people like me and others.   My psoriasis is dry and painful-looking enough without welts added to the picture.  As we used to say, back in the day, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits.

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  • Best Snowmobile Location in Colorado

     

     

    It doesn’t get any better that this for snowmobilers:  Ride your snowmobile up to the front door of a downtown restaurant and head on inside! Pretty cool, huh?  That’s exactly how snowmobilers roll in the town of Grand Lake, the best snowmobile location in Colorado.

    Tons of groomed trails in winter make for smooth riding and beautiful scenery.  SnoWest magazine gave Grand Lake, Colorado an “A” for scenery because when it comes to views, there’s nothing more breathtaking than a winter in Grand Lake, Colorado…. unless you visit in the summer!   No snowmobile? No problem! Several places rent snowmobiles and offer guided tours in Grand Lake, Colorado.

    Many main street businesses are open in the winter with cozy places to eat.    Unlike the eastern entrance around Estes Park, the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park around Grand Lake did not experience unfortunate flooding this past fall.

    Grand Lake boasts 3 lake conjoining lakes; Grand Lake, Lake Granby, and Shadow Mountain Lake.  Talk about a great place to snowmobile!  You can stay in one of the town’s modest budget hotels or down on the lake in some pricier rental homes.  Additionally, consider renting a townhome at Ravenwood townhomes, right inside the entrance to town when you come to the best snowmobile location in Colorado.  See the VRBO listing for more information.

    Grand Lake has less than 600 regular residents year round yet in the winter and summer, this place bumps!  A 2 hour from Denver and 40 minutes from Winter Park will land you in this gorgeous, magical place called Grand Lake, Colorado.  If you visit, G.L., show the locals some love.  Enjoy!

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  • Free Things to do in Allen, Texas

     

     

     

     

          ALLEN, TEXAS IS NORTH OF DALLAS

     

    Located approximately 24 miles north of Dallas sits the booming suburb of Allen, Texas. Drive from Oklahoma to Dallas and you will pass through Allen as you meander south on 75 Central Expressway.  Such a journey provides a great opportunity to enjoy free things to do in Allen, Texas.  Alternatively, you may cruise through the City of Allen, Texas on your way to Arlington, Texas to visit Six Flags Over Texas, Cowboys Stadium, or The Ballpark  in Arlington to watch the Texas Rangers play MLB ball.  Be sure to take a detour and visit the Dallas Stars’ NHL team or the Dallas Mavericks play at American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.

    Allen, Texas has a surprising variety of things to keep you and your family occupied, as you can see by the following list that we have compiled of  FREE THINGS TO DO IN ALLEN, TEXAS.

    Some of the activities listed are FREE while others cost a bit; we have made personal notes regarding each venue or activity…as we have been to each and every one of them!

    • WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE!

    1. It is hotter than Hades during the summer in Allen, Texas so try cooling off at the Outdoor Spray Park at Celebration Park, open Spring thru early Fall (FREE). See City of Allen website for directions. Celebration Park has a full playground, restrooms, basketball court, soccer fields, baseball fields, 2 small ponds, and a hiking trail. An ideal location for flying a kite on a breezy day, adults can sit on the few benches offered or bring a blanket and try to grab a spot of shade before someone beats you to it.
    2. Outdoor spray area at The Villages of Fairview (technically located in Fairview, Texas across Stacy Road from Allen, Texas). During late Spring and throughout the Summer, eat at The Purple Cow (burgers, salads and shakes) or Glorias (yummy El Salvadoran food) while you watch the kids cavort in a FREE, small water spray area. (Towels are sometimes provided, but come prepared.)
    3. Additionally, sand volleyball courts are set up for folks to enjoy playing or watching across from the spray park.  Part of the Free Things to do in Allen, Texas initiative.   FREE.
    4. Ford Public Swimming Pool, located next to Ford Middle School, is Allen’s only public outdoor pool. Prices are very reasonable.
    5. Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium, at 110 Rivercrest Drive in Allen, (972) 509-4770. Indoor swimming area with a water park of medium-size (long slide, lazy river and more) along with a first-class swimming pool with diving boards. In 2012, cost was $4 per person to enter – stay all day and bring a picnic lunch to eat outside at one of several covered picnic tables. Kids younger than 7 need to have a parent with them in the water; life vests are available for FREE. A small rock climbing wall waits in the foyer for paying customers and is a good place for younger kids to give it a go and try rock climbing with harnesses and a guide. $
    6. HYDROUS Wake Park at Allen Station is a cable water-ski park across from the skate park. For a fee, visitors can be pulled along a cable through a man-made body of water. $$
    • I WORK OUT!

    1. Get a Parks and Recreation membership to work out at the Rodenbaugh Natatorium and/or the Joe Farmer Recreation Center in Allen, Texas. In 2012, it cost $14 for a yearly membership for kids age 10 to join. Talk about peanuts!
    2. Many health clubs are located in Allen, Texas, including The Zoo, Lifetime Fitness,24-Hour Fitness, Fitness Connection and Texas Family Fitness; most will let you work out for a week for a free test drive.
    3. Run along jogging rails throughout the Allen, Texas area for free exercise. Our favorites include those in the Twin Creeks neighborhood on the west side of Allen along the baseball fields and Twin Creeks Golf Course, and the trail by Celebration Park in Allen.  FREE.
    • COOL REFUGE’S

    1. The Allen Public Library is a cool refuge in a modern building in old downtown Allen, Texas just down the street from the main Post Office. Children’s programs are fun for the little ones and the kid’s area has a sweet aquarium. FREE.
    2. Allen Community Ice Rink is one cool place to hang out whether it is scorching or brrr-cold outside!  Join a youth or adult hockey league and have some fun playing the puck. The Ice Rink is located at the Allen Event Center. Check rink calender for open public skate times or hockey pick up times. 200 E. Stacy Road, Allen, Texas 75002 (972) 912-1097.
    3. The Allen Event Center is a new (2011) beautiful community venue where concerts are held (such as Lil Wayne, Darryl Hall and John Oates, Reba McEntire, etc.) and where professional sports are played. Check out arena football team Revolution and ice hockey’s CHL Allen American’s (2013 Champions!). (972) 678-4646.
    • PARK IT!

    1. Unique parks in Allen without water features include Allen Station Park (just down the street from the Public Library), which features The Edge, a free, state of the art Skate Park. Teens and adults on skateboards and tricked up bikes enjoy this free outdoor skate park; bikers ride inside this (currently the largest outdoor skate park in Texas-012) cement skate park with multiple ramps and levels, or on small BMX dirt track hills next door; The dirt bike trail is good for little kids to use as well, if they are able peddlers. Unfortunately, little kids are likely to get ran over at the skateboarding area of the skate park and should probably visit the skateboard portion of the park on specially designated “family days”. Also available at Allen Station Park, for a small fee, is a teen lounge with ping pong and a room for gamers to hang out. FREE.
    2. Adjacent to The Edge at Allen Station (Park) are Two Outdoor Roller Hockey Rinks with ample covered seating; Rinks are  usually wide open for anyone to use for a game of pick up roller hockey (bring your own skates, ball/puck, hockey sticks and protective gear); nets may or may not be on site as well. During Spring and early Fall, league play occurs on weekends and off and on during weekday nights. Sign up for league play at a bargain price. FREE.
    3. The most unique neighborhood city park in Allen, Texas is Waterford Park. Although there are no spray park  features at this park, it is one neat place for the kids to play: A giant rocket ship made of steel bars invites explorers to play and climb, but be prepared to go up top yourself if little ones get freaked out about climbing down by themselves! Bring a camera to take cool pics of the kids at this neat park. Go to Waterford Park by driving down Exchange on the West side of Allen and look for the blue Waterford Park signs or Google 1225 Hueco Drive, Allen, Texas 75013. FREE.
    4. Tennis, anyone? Play tennis at any of the free outdoor courts throughout Allen – bring your rackets and tennis balls along with some drinking water. We like the tennis courts located on E. Main Street at the Lowery Freshman Center on E. Main Street or those by Allen High School on Rivercrest Blvd. FREE.
    5. Bethany Lakes Park, located at Bethany Road and Allen Heights on the east side of Allen, is attached to the Joe Farmer Recreation Center. On Mondays during the summer, catch summer music with live bands through June. Each show starts at 7 p.m. which is still hotter than heck outside so venture forth with your blankets and coolers if you must…but don’t forget the mosquito spray! FREE.
    6. Allen Celebration is this town’s claim to fame with a fabulous 4th of July celebration. Three Dog Night, Foreigner, The Bangles and lead singer from Styx are just the most recent performers to hit the stage. Once again, you will faint if you can’t take the heat because it is stifling all the way until 10 p.m., when a TRULY FABULOUS fireworks display occurs. We won’t tell you our secret place to park and watch the ‘works but if you hit the road at about 9:15 pm, you can secure a place to soak in the awesomeness of Allen’s Fourth of July Celebration – - we wouldn’t miss it for the world. FREE.
    • GET YOURSELF INSIDE!

    Places to hang out in Allen, Texas that are SUPER FUN INSIDE!

    1. iPic indoor cinema shows the latest movies in a plush, over-the-top setting along with cocktails and food. iPic is located at The Villages of Fairview. $$
    2. Strikez bowling alley is beautiful inside (if a bowling alley can be beautiful) but is costly to bowl and eat, which you will be tempted to do. Strikez is located at The Villages of Fairview. $$
    3. Top Golf is a golfer’s paradise that even beginner’s will enjoy. Guests can use a bag of clubs for free and buy a pass to use the automated fairway/driving range practice tees. Three levels (similar to a parking garage) are for hanging out, having dinner or a few beers with the gang; large fans blow air to keep you cool in this qasi-outdoor/indoor venue. This is one heck of a fun place to hang out but can get expensive the more you eat (and play). Top Golf is located behind The Villages of Allen, next to Target and Cabela’s. $$
    4. Twin Creeks Golf Club is an outdoor golf course in Allen located at 501 Twin Creeks Drive, Allen, Texas 75013  (972) 390-8888. Chase Oaks public golf course is undergoing renovation in and has a new name in 2013. 7201 Chase Oaks Blvd., (technically Plano, Texas) (214) 509-4653. $$
    5. Watters Creek, located at Bethany Road and I-75; this outdoor “mall” has lots of great places to eat, including Grimaldi’s awesome wood-fired pizza and MiCocina amazing Tex-Mex. Summer nights often showcase live music but it is hotter than…you know. FREE.
    6. Villages at Allen, located at I-75 and Stacy Road is an outdoor “mall” with tons of fun places to eat (Zoe’s Kitchen, Cyclone Anya,and Plucker’s Wing Bar – a fun place to eat with an outdoor patio.)
    7. Allen Bowl, located at 1011 S. Greenville Avenue in Allen, (972) 727-9108, is one of the original entertainment spots in Allen, Texas. Recently renovated, this bowling alley may appear lackluster on the outside, but inside, a sparkling gem awaits in newly remodeled space. Prices are good and the beer is cold. A video arcade for kids is in wide open space clearly visible to bowling parents, with spic and span clean fun-colored flooring.  $
    8. Cinemark Allen. For some reason, this location charges more than nearby Cinemark studios (we prefer Cinemark McKinney on El Dorado at Central Expwy. in McKinney, Texas – the best deal around. $$

    More suggestions to follow, or submit your Allen, Texas fun places and we will publish them if we like them!

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  • A Loft Hotel Review: A+ Grade

     

     

     

    Aloft™ Hotels      Being frequent travelers of modest income, our family typically spends time in average-priced hotels while on the road.  Hotels such as Courtyard by Marriott or a reasonably priced Hilton Hotel fit our needs and budget nicely.  Recently, however, we had the chance to stay at one of the newer hotel concepts, ”A Loft.”  Little did we know how much we would approve of our choice and share with you our A Loft hotel review.

    We visited an A Loft in Austin Texas situated next to a swanky hopping mall that included a Neiman-Marcus department store.  The lobby was decorated in an Über modern style with a nod to the music scene that makes Austin so popular with locals and tourists alike.

    After walking down a hallway decked out in stylishly hip wall to wall carpeting, we entered our room to discover pure joy.  Two queen-size beds swathed in simple linens of good quality waited for our weary bodies.  Furniture was modern and functional, including a desk and useful muti-port for plugging in various electronics.   A large, padded bench meant for placing suitcases on or as seating space created an ideal sleeping area for our youngest child who was thrilled to not have to share a bed with his annoying teenage brother.  No doubt the relief was mutual.

    The restroom in our A Loft hotel room was sparkling clean with a huge walk in shower containing dispensers of shampoo and conditioner.  A hair-dryer was available in the restroom sink area while cleverly hidden behind a decorative curtain were hangers, ironing board, iron and storage space.

    While no breakfast was included, a small snack bar was available downstairs as well as a small bar just right for kibitzing.

    While we probably won’t give up our go-to hotel stalwarts, there is no doubt that we will visit an A Loft again.  Hopefully soon.

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  • Decorate a Ceiling

    We love ceiling medallions  because they bring attention to the “fifth wall” in a room:  The ceiling.

    What are ceiling medallions? Simply put, ceiling medallions frame a light fixture or ceiling fan and add interest to flat surfaces on a ceiling.

    Ceiling medallions are commonly found at Home Depot, Lowe’s and other big box home improvement centers, however, why settle for something that can be “commonly found?” Create your own ceiling medallion using an empty picture frame and some paint.

    Why settle for blah ceiling medallions     when you can have a ceiling medallion like this:

    Ceiling fan medallion created with an empty picture frame and some paint

     

     

     

    Notice the gleam of metallic paint applied to the ceiling inside the picture frame

               Distant view of ceiling medallion 22 x 26-in. frame

    THE PICTURE FRAME:

    • Select a wood picture frame with a larger circumference than you think you’d like. Trust us, once the frame gets installed on the ceiling, you’ll wish it were larger. Even the 22 x 26-in. frame pictured above would look better larger…ALSO, CONSIDER ADDING A SECOND FRAME OUTSIDE THE FIRST FRAME FOR A LAYERED LOOK
    • Choose a wood frame that may be disassembled in at least one corner so that you are able to slide it through the chain of a hanging light fixture or ceiling fan.
    • Paint the wood frame a color you desire or leave it natural. The frame pictured above was purchased as is…painted white with gold distressed flecks.
    INSTALLATION METHOD:
    1. Use pliers to pry nailed or stapled corners off a picture frame to disassemble the frame and open one corner of the frame.
    2.    Painter’s tape
    3. Slide the picture frame upward and use PAINTER’S TAPE to tape it onto the ceiling, leaving the ceiling area ready to paint.
    4. Position the picture frame at a straight angle or get funky and skew the angle of the frame onto the ceiling.
    5.   Try Valspar Metal & Patina Glaze
    6. Paint the ceiling in colors that compliment the room. For the picture frame medallion pictured above, we painted the ceiling within the picture frame a pale peach. We then dabbed on VALSPAR® metal and patina glazes in copper, silver and bronze using a bunched up white athletic sock to apply. Works like a charm and makes mysteriously single socks useful!
    7. Layer paint colors on the ceiling for a multi-dimensional effect.
    8. Use a small craft brush to fill in the areas of the ceiling where the frame meets the ceiling and paint does not absorb.
    9. Pull the frame off gently after you have applied paint to the ceiling.
    10.   Squirt a small amount Liquid Nails® brand adhesive to the backside of the picture frame. Liquid Nails is a product that is close-to permanent and does a great job holding things in place.
    11. Lift the frame up and place it around the painted area.
    12. Add PAINTER’S TAPE along the edges of the picture frame to hold it in place on the ceiling.
    13. Remove PAINTER’S TAPE after about 2 hours and admire your latest creative endeavor.
    SUGGESTIONS:
    • Use your imagination when it comes to picture frames and paint. For example, install a white, Victorian-style picture frame with pink, purple or pale green paint on the ceiling for a feminine room or use a thick black frame with a deep-bronze painted ceiling for a masculine room.
    • Hang beads or other fun, dangling objects around the perimeter of the picture frame for a creative focal point in any room
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  • Improve Dishwasher Performance

     

     

     

     

       AHHHH, a clean dishwasher!

     

    By trying to improve dishwasher performance(especially for he dishwashing machines OR he clothes washine machines also referred to as “High Efficiency” units, you may have done the following (all UNFORTUNATELY INEFFECTIVE, but understandable choices):

    • Used extra dish washing liquid or powder in the dish washing machine;
    • Switched dish washing machine detergent; or
    • Ran a dishwasher cleaner through you dishwasher in order to improve dishwasher performance

    ALL of the above options likely got you NOWHERE when it comes to the best way to improve dishwasher performance.  Surprising, isn’t it?

    SOLUTION: Use a good name brand of detergent (such as FINISH brand) AND USE SPARINGLY. Yep, that’s the secret.  Too much detergent gunks up today’s he  machines.  

    A dishwasher repairman for Bosch gave us this tip and it saved our bacon (and our sanity!) Use LESS…NOT more…who would’ve thought?

     

     

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