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    Monthly Archives: December 2019

    • How to Find Your Home Decor Style

      How to Find Your Home Decor Style

      If you're redecorating your home, or moving into your very first space of your own, you're likely considering various home décor styles. But what if you're unsure of your personal space style?

      Aside from perusing Pinterest, there are many ways you can "try on" different looks for your home. Consider the following:

      Think about your clothing style. Many of us end up incorporating our personal wardrobe style into our home, so this is a good place to start. Is your wardrobe simple and streamlined? Do you love accessories or jewelry? All of these can be great starting spots.

      Peruse the stores. Take an afternoon and walk through home furnishing stores, paying mind to their sample displays. What do you like? What do you dislike? Take notes on styles and pieces you admire.

      Snag a design catalog. Pick up an interior design magazine and flip through it, circling favorite ideas and set-ups.

      There's an app for that. There are several home design apps that allow you to upload a photo of your space and fill it with make-believe furniture. This is a great way to try on styles. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Do You Know Where Your Most Important Records Are?

      Do You Know Where Your Most Important Records Are?

      It's one thing to have the luxury of time when you need to search for important personal records you socked away in a closet, box or drawer. However, it's important for homeowners to be able to access their most important records immediately in an emergency.

      Paul Improta, CPIA, AAI, LUTCF, President & CEO of Underwriters, Inc. believes there's no time like the present to get organized, particularly with a new year fast approaching. To avoid messy, time-consuming searches Improta says the first thing to do is gather what matters.

      Ask yourself what documentation you or a family member might need in a dire situation and put it all in a safe place, whether that's on a USB flash drive, in a fireproof box or both. Include emergency contact numbers, medical records, financial information, vital passwords, legal paperwork and other relevant documents.
      Improta says you should also streamline insurance paperwork.

      If you recently bought a new car or added a driver to your policy, make sure to create a digital paper trail. Then, take photos of insurance cards for each driver and scan the policy information for your vehicles.

      Did you purchase a home, remodel your house or take out a renter's insurance policy? Keep a copy of your home inventory on hand. Apps such as Insurance Information Institute's "Know Your Stuff" help by exporting an organized list of your belongings should you ever need to file a claim.

      You can also download free mobile apps that help you prepare for and respond to the unexpected. Wonderoftech.com blogger Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently unveiled "10 Disaster Apps That Could Save Your Life."

      Among those is the free SirenGPS Mobile app that connects you to emergency services at the tap of the screen. Your location will be sent automatically so you can be found.

      The app works over Wi-Fi as well as cell networks, so can be used if cell networks are down after an emergency. Users can also use the app to create a personal health profile which can be shared with emergency services to give better information and save time.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Create a More Walkable Community

      How to Create a More Walkable Community

      From supporting local businesses to building a sense of community to improving your health, walkable communities offer myriad benefits over places where citizens must rely on their cars. And according to Charles L. "Chuck" Marohn, Jr., author of “Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity,” there are some strategies communities can deploy to make their areas more walkable even if they weren’t designed that way in the first place. Consider working with your fellow citizens and local government on some of the following steps to get people out of their cars and strolling around town instead.      

      Look into roadblocks for mixed-use neighborhoods. Do zoning laws prohibit homes and businesses from being built on the same block? Or perhaps regulatory obstacles make it difficult to obtain financing for renovation or construction of small, mixed-use buildings in walkable neighborhoods. It may be to the benefit of your community to reconsider some of these laws and regulations.

      Review the condition of your Main Street. If your Main Street has become a desolate place no one frequents, it’s time to rally the community and local officials and get creative. If most of the buildings are vacant, consider a pop-up storefront initiative where local businesses can affordably set up shop. Make Main Street more pleasant for pedestrians by installing inexpensive chairs and benches.  

      Create walkable destinations. Create a weekly open-air market just about anywhere by enlisting local farmers, artists or merchants. You can also set up a food truck park in an unused parking lot, or park a bookmobile in an area that's safe for kids to walk to.

      Make streets pedestrian- and bike-friendly. The following steps will help make your community more welcoming and accessible to those on foot:
      - Paint bike lanes to give riders a safe place to travel and reduce car traffic.
      - Put up directional signs to welcome newcomers and help people find their way around.
      - Install curb cuts to make sidewalk access more available to wheelchair users.
      - Plant trees to give pedestrians shaded places to walk.

      Add pedestrian crosswalks at unmarked intersections. Pedestrian crossing areas are vital in busy neighborhoods—especially in intersections adjacent to businesses that get a lot of foot traffic. Crosswalks and crosshatched intersections improve safety for bikers, pedestrians and drivers alike.

      Widen the sidewalks. Nothing encourages walking more than wider sidewalks. Your community can experiment before committing financially by using cones and temporary fences to create a wider path for pedestrians. If the trial is successful, then new sidewalks can be installed.  

      Any of these steps will help create a more vibrant, healthier community, so get involved and see if it makes sense for your town. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.