Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Jan 31, 2017

All You Can Eat Pancakes is Back At IHOP

IHOP, the pioneer of the breakfast all-day, everyday movement has announced the extension of its wildly popular 'All You Can Eat Pancakes' until February 12! Since its inception in 1958, IHOP and their world famous buttermilk pancakes have remained a beloved All-American institution and breakfast icon for nearly six decades. Now until February 12, IHOP is offering guests unlimited orders of its freshly made world famous Buttermilk Pancakes!

Dine-in only, participation varies. 

Jan 27, 2017

The Benefits Of Tabata For Busy Moms

I wanted to pass along this great (quick) workouts that you can do if you are crunched for time.


Countless fitness trends have come and gone over the years. Each one promises to help you slim down, tone up, and achieve your fitness goals. Everyone has a different goal in mind when they commit to a fitness plan, and with hard work and dedication most exercise programs will produce results. But what happens if you can’t carve out 60 minutes a day to get your sweat on or you find it hard to stick to a specific fitness plan? Whether you need a quick burn or want to shake up your routine, Tabata training will deliver.

Benefits of Tabata

Improved Stamina: Tabata improves your aerobic and anaerobic threshold. Your aerobic capacity is a measurement of your maximum oxygen uptake during exercise. Your body requires more oxygen when you work out. The rate at which your muscles and tissue are able to absorb oxygen is known as your VO2 max. Most people have a VO2 max between 30 and 60 ml/kg/min. The higher your VO2 max, the more potential you have for aerobic endurance. As you do Tabata training, your VO2 max will improve, along with your stamina.

Anaerobic capacity refers to the maximum amount of energy your body can produce without oxygen. By increasing your anaerobic capacity, you can exert yourself at a maximum effort for a longer period of time. An easy way to measure improvements in your anaerobic capacity is to time yourself while sprinting at 100 percent effort. Record your time and distance. After six weeks of Tabata training, revisit this challenge. You will be amazed at how much farther you can run at maximum effort.

Increased Metabolic Rate and Fat Loss: High-intensity interval training increases our metabolic rate by almost 15 times the basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of energy your body uses naturally at rest. Not only are you burning an average of 15 calories a minute, but the increased demand Tabata puts on your body will increase your BMR and torch fat for hours after your workout.

Muscle Tissue Retention: If you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness but are concerned about losing hard-earned muscle, Tabata training is for you. The stress placed on your muscle tissue during Tabata sends signals to you body that more muscle tissue is needed and the ratio of lean body mass to fat will increase. If you choose full-body workouts that use more muscle mass, you could actually end up increasing your muscle tissue.

No Time Constraints: No time to workout? Can’t get to the gym? These excuses won’t fly when it comes to Tabata training. All you need are four minutes and a pair of sneakers to complete this workout.

How to do Tabata

Tabata is a 4-minute workout that consists of eight timed intervals. Each interval is broken down into 20 seconds of all-out exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Tabata training is going to mentally and physically push you to your limit. If you are doing this workout correctly, you should feel completely exhausted and find it nearly impossible to finish the final interval.

People often use this form of workout to improve their cardiovascular fitness, but Tabata training is versatile and can also be use to improve weight training and core strength. Beginners should concentrate on cardio, such as running, cycling, and rowing, or bodyweight exercises. Whatever your focus, to get the most out of your workout, it is important you choose exercises that engage a large number of muscles.

Tabata Warm-Up

It’s recommended that you do a 5-minute, full-body dynamic warmup before you attempt your first set of Tabata. A dynamic warm-up consists of a series of movements that will engage the muscles you are going to use in your workout. This warm-up will increase your body temperature and range of motion and activate your nervous system. When done properly a dynamic warm-up can improve your performance.

Mix and match these exercises to create a 5-minute dynamic warm-up. Make sure you choose exercises that engage the muscle groups you plan to work out.

Walking lunges
Jumping Jacks
Arm Circles
High Knees
Side Bends
Front Leg Swing
Butt Kicks
Side Shuffles

Tabata Workouts

If you’re new to fitness or are short on time, do one set of Tabata exercises two to three times a week. To get the most out of your workout, it is important to give your body time to rest. Leave a day or two between workouts for your muscles to recover. Once you’re ready to get started, all you will need for most of these exercises is a stopwatch (we use the timer on our phone) and lots of motivation. There are endless options for exercises you can use in your Tabata workout. I have listed below a few for you to choose from based on your fitness level and goals.


Jan 26, 2017

Valentine's Gifts For The Tech-Loving Fashionista

Valentine's Day is coming up in a few short weeks and you can't forget to get something special for all the loves of your life. Candy and flowers are sometimes overrated, and most women today prefer more long-lasting, useful gifts. When you really think about it, just about everyone carries a smart phone or other digital devices. If you have a fashion and tech lover in your life, you should check out the gorgeous phone cases, wallets, and clutches from Gresso Miami. Their tech protection products are crafted with eco-leather that can withstand everyday wear and tear. Also, the collections have matching items for those who like to be matchy-matchy.

I received some samples for me and my daughters to test out on our iPhones in the following styles and colors below. The difficult part was deciding who would gets what!

The Allure Collection English Rose Wallet is so beautifully designed and has an excellent grip for your phone, along with a few spots to hold your license or cards conveniently. This one is perfect for the lady who sometimes doesn't want to carry a purse or for when you are going to a venue where you want to carry as little as possible. This wallet retails for $30 and there are other colors and patterns available to suit different tastes.

The Constellation Clutch in burgundy (comes in black too) is also perfect for the gal who prefers to carry less. This pretty clutch has 99 sparkling crystals that makes it perfect to go from day-to-night. It holds a phone up to 5 inches and has multiple slots for bank cards and driver's license. This one retails for $70, but I heard it is supposed to be going on sale for Valentine's Day.

This cute snap-on case is from the Extravaganza collection and has a little bit of a retro flair to it. It is crafted using 3D printing technology and provides the perfect lip along the edges to keep your phone protected. This sophisticated case comes in three colors and is on sale for only $15. This is a bargain!

This last case is from the Shiny Crystals Collection and is perfect for girls who love blingy, shiny things. This contemporary case looks like the crystals are attached directly to your phone. It's so pretty in person and provides great protection for your device. Trust me, this is a girly case that any woman would love! It retails for only $27.

There are so many beautiful choices on the site and if you are looking to give something that looks more Valentine's-y, you should take a peek at the Victorian Gardens Collection. The feminine floral patterns with a vintage twist are sure to please your special Valentine.

Of course Valentine's Day isn't just for the ladies! Gresso Miami carries some very nice cases and wallets for men in their Albion Collection. They have a sharp, masculine look that your guy would appreciate.

If you are in search of the perfect gift for the tech lover in your life, I highly recommend Gresso Miami products. Be sure to follow Gresso Miami on Facebook and Instagram for product updates and sales alerts.

I received products samples for review and all opinions stated are 100% my own as always. 

Jan 25, 2017

A Basic Guide To Prepare For Valentine's Day

Hey guys and gals, Valentine's Day is coming soon! I picture in my head husbands and boyfriends doing the last-minute frantic search to find that perfect gift for their sweetie. Sometimes it's a hit, and other times it is a complete miss. Don't fool around and get stuck buying whatever random item you happen to lay your hand on.

Make some time to take advantage of this wonderful thing we have called 'the Internet'. Browse for gifts that reflect the recipient's personality. Does he/she love reading or technology gadgets? Maybe beauty products or specialty foodie items? Surely you can find something online, especially at retailers like Target, which offer tons of discounts and deals.

Remember, we all know what day Valentine's falls on each year, so there is no reason to have to hustle around at the last minute to try to come up with a gift. I know for myself, I like to receive something that I can tell some thought was put into it. I wanted to share this fun infographic I stumbled upon browsing the web that happens to fall in line with Valentine's Day-- Chocolate!

Check out some of these interesting and fun facts about chocolate and this is your official reminder (wink) to start looking around for that perfect Valentine's gift. If all else fails, practical is the way to go. Whether it's kitchen gadgets, food items, technology accessories, clothing or personal care items, it's truly the thought that counts. Happy shopping!

Chocolate Industry Stats by Couponbox


Jan 24, 2017

Get Food Delivery With Bootler

Today's post is sponsored and as always, all opinions are mine

Aren't you happy that we live in the information age? If you want to know something, you simply grab your phone or computer and look it up. What happens when you're at home and dinner time is coming up and you don't feel like cooking? You would normally consider eating out, but there are those times you don't want to leave the house. You can order out, but depending on the time day, you aren't guaranteed to get your food delivered when you want it.

There's a new site to help make the process of ordering take-out a little easier. Introducing, Bootler. Bootler is an online search engine for delivery food.  With Bootler, they work with over 6 different delivery services that allow users to choose a restaurant and compare prices, availability, and delivery time. This saves user's time and money. They are not the actual delivery company, but they bring together other delivery companies and then redirect you to their website. You can compare it to a hotel or car rental search site that you can compare different hotel/car chains at one time.

You can choose different types of cuisine like Chinese, Pizza, Mexican and more. You can even order alcohol and it gets delivered through a service called Saucey. Booltler is currently only Chicago based but expanding to NY by the end of the year, and eventually to more major cities soon after. Check out Coal Fire Pizza Delivery.

Get the Bootler Mobile App in the App Store. Be sure to connect with Bootler on Facebook and Twitter for updates and hopefully to see when they will be available in your city!


Four Steps to Managing Childhood Asthma

Among children, asthma is considered to be the most common respiratory disorder. Characterized by the chronic inflammation or swelling of the bronchial mucosa and narrowed airways, this disease usually presents itself with chest tightening, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, and dry coughing. It’s a disease that follows the child through adulthood.

If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, here are 4 steps you can take to manage it:

1. Have an Asthma Action Plan

An Asthma Action Plan is a written plan that details what symptoms you’ll need to look out for, medication to give for any emergencies, and plan of action to take in the case of an asthma attack. This plan should ideally be discussed with not just the family members and the child’s caregivers, but also with institutions that care for the child, such as a school or day care center.

2. Monitor your child's asthma symptoms
Asthma symptoms can tell you whether or not your child is doing well or if he might need special medical attention. This should be based on your Asthma Action Plan. Symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, coughing and wheezing, or even having trouble walking are all warning signs that not everything is alright with your child’s respiratory system. Emergency medication is sometimes necessary, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

3. Keep your child away from asthma triggers

Asthma triggers are substances, situations, or activities that can trigger symptoms of asthma to pop up, or worse, cause an asthma flare-up or attack. Examples of these triggers are allergens like dust, insects, and pollen. Stress and strenuous activities can also trigger attacks.
Avoid triggering your child’s asthma by keeping your house clean, installing air filters to screen out pollen or dust as well as avoiding stressful/exhausting activities.

4. Make sure your child gets exercise and maintains a healthy weight

Although strenuous activities are asthma triggers, ample exercise is a must for children with asthma as this can help strengthen their stamina and keep their weight down to a healthy level. Along with a healthy diet, you can ensure your child’s immunity and prevent asthma attacks.

There’s no known complete cure for asthma, but its symptoms can certainly be managed through proper planning and lifestyle changes. For a more detailed guide on childhood asthma, you can check out this useful infographic from Filter Buy.

Childhood Asthma InfographicFilterBuy


Jan 23, 2017

Happiness Is A Choice

I'm very certain that regardless of where you live, you are aware of the craziness all around. I am not making this post about anything in particular, but I will say that I CHOOSE happiness every single day. My peace is important to me. If I am a wreck, I can't be a good wife, mother or friend. My son depends on me being 110% since I have a big role in his education. I have certain feelings that have been brewing like a raging storm inside of me. I am choosing to channel that energy into action. I will remain the friendly and loving person I am. I will continue to teach my children that there is so much goodness in the world. I will have fun dates with my husband more often because frankly, he keeps me from going over the edge. I will also laugh and smile even more. 

I know it seems easier said than done to be happy, but truly it is a choice. I'm not as spiritual as most people I know, but I do have faith that everything is going to be alright. Heal yourself and choose to spread love and happiness all around. Thanks for reading. Have a grand week! xoxo


Jan 16, 2017

Raleigh Catering Company

Since catering has become a real trend nowadays, it was impossible for the Raleigh community not to benefit from such a service. Many people have tried for years the services provided by the Raleigh Catering Company and they ended up with beautiful events, enjoying them while being more relaxed.

This company has been offering their services to this area for many years now, having a friendly attitude and having a large array of courses and dishes, suitable for any kind of occasion and event that you might have. They take pride in having a personal connection with their customers, which is easy to understand, since most of the events a catering company needs to take care of have a personal character.

As it is ideal, the chefs and the personnel are highly trained professionals that know everything that is necessary in several types of techniques and various cuisines around the world. Besides offering a standard menu, they can also provide signature dishes created especially for a particular event, which is extremely useful if you need to host a fine dining event with high class guests. Their large experience is not just a thing they brag with, but it is very useful when you count on people to help with your event.

The quality of the ingredients is also extremely important. There have been cases with some companies that used bad quality ingredients and the result, of course, is not that delicious. For this reason it is important to provide fresh and pure vegetables and meat. Moreover, besides the quality, the Raleigh catering service offers a large and varied array of dishes. For people who want to host a different event, communities of expats or people of different origins, this matters a lot, since they can enjoy their traditional dishes by simply calling a catering company, instead of cooking for hours and hours in a row.

Prompt service and competitive prices are all the more reasons for which people choose to use the services provided by this catering company. Of course, a slow service is just as important as the ingredients, the type of dishes and the price, which should convince you to double-check before trusting someone with the success of your own event.

The staff here can even help you with part of the planning, and the advice of a professional is literally priceless, especially when you have tons of other things to take care of. Furthermore, it is really easy to find the company online and give them a call and it is advisable to do this as soon as possible, to make sure everything is ready in time.

Jan 11, 2017

From My Kitchen- Caribbean Style Roasted Chicken Recipe

I have been getting so many nagging requests lately about posting my recipes on the blog from friends. I promised to do better this year and will be sharing more of my family favorite recipes and tips. I cooked a whole roasted chicken over the weekend and it was the best I've ever made. I didn't know I would end up sharing the recipe, so I have no step-by-step photos to share-- just the delicious end result. This chicken was full of Caribbean flavor and super juicy and tender.


1 whole chicken, 5-8 pounds
one handful each of fresh cilantro and Italian parsley
One large green onion
3 cloves of fresh garlic
small piece of hot pepper like habanero or scotch bonnet (optional and highly recommended)
dried seasonings- here are my faves
*1/2 cup Mojo marinade

Helpful items: A large/wide bowl or glass dishware for marinating, a large baking sheet, parchment paper, aluminum foil

What to do:

Start with splitting your whole chicken down the back to remove backbone and excess fat. I prefer this method to get more even cooking and browning. Wash chicken with lime or lemon and pat dry with paper towels.  You will have to apply some pressure to get the breast to flatten a bit. Do not remove skin! Sprinkle chicken on both sides with your dried seasonings to your taste. In a blender or vegetable chopper, grind garlic, herbs, green onion and hot pepper with a small amount of water just enough to make a puree. Pour herb puree and mojo marinade all over, and leave chicken in the fridge for 2 hours or even overnight. Preheat oven at 385 degrees. Place chicken breast side up on pan lined with foil and parchment paper. Bake for around one hour depending on your oven. I use the convection setting on my oven for extra crispiness and deeper browning. If your wings start browning too quickly, you can wrap them loosely with foil and remove in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Let your chicken rest at least 15 minutes before cutting/carving.

Serve with your favorite side dishes. I recommend my favorite Guyanese cook-up rice to make this a real authentic Caribbean meal. My family raves over this chicken and an 8 pound bird was devoured in a couple days with no waste! Don't forget to Pin this recipe for later! Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

*This post contains affiliate links. I posted the products in case you can't find them locally.  

Jan 10, 2017

The Fresh Market's Little Big Meal Program

I wanted to pass along these great deals for those who live near The Fresh Market

Available every day of the month, The Fresh Market offers shoppers convenient, grab-and-go solutions for preparing a home-cooked meal with its “Little Big Meal” program! Shoppers now have the answer to the perennial “What’s for dinner?” question at their fingertips.  With hand-picked ingredients and a simple recipe, Little Big Meal offers a quick and easy wholesome meal for four -- starting at just $10!  Shoppers may simply stop by the “Little Big Meal” display every day of the week to choose from a variety of ingredient options to prepare the perfect feast.

WHO: The Fresh Market, a specialty grocery retailer focused on providing fresh, delicious fare, locally sourced products, convenient meal solutions and an expanding selection of household items in an inviting atmosphere

WHAT/WHEN: January “Little Big Meal” Schedule

Visit your neighborhood The Fresh Market any day of the week in January to pick up the below convenient meal solutions:

January 4-10 – Stir Fry

January 11-17 – Meatloaf 

January 18-24 – Tacos
January 25-31 – Slow Cooker  
WHERE: The Fresh Market’s 177 store locations nationwide

For local store information, please visit:

MORE INFO: For more information on the “Little Big Meal” program and this month’s options, please visit:

Be sure to follow The Fresh Market on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About The Fresh Market, Inc.

Founded in 1982, The Fresh Market, Inc. is a specialty grocery retailer focused on providing an inviting atmosphere; fresh, delicious fare; convenient meal solutions; an expanding selection of household items; and a variety of products to help its shoppers live a healthy lifestyle. The company operates 177 stores in 24 states across the U.S. For more information, please visit or follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Jan 9, 2017

Tips to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day

1) Organize your workplace, school or community group. Maximize your impact by organizing a group to serve the community with an activity done at your own location in honor of Martin Luther King Day. Choose a local charity and determine the best way for your group to show support. Ideas include packing snack bags for after school programs, collecting coats and hats for a homeless shelter, planting trees, creating a mentoring program, or writing letters of support to our military abroad.

2) Teach your children. The kids are home from school. Remember, as a Day of Service MLK day is supposed to be "a day on, not a day off." Plan an activity of service and involve your children. Show by your example that volunteerism is important to your family and help to cultivate a new generation of compassionate, community- minded citizens.

3) Raise needed goods. Support a local charity with a drive for the goods they need to serve the community. An online YouGiveGoods drive is the new way to raise food and supplies for charity. You can set up your drive in a matter of minutes and have it underway in time for MLK Day this year. Then invite your online community via email and social media to support your cause by purchasing items that will ship to your selected charity. A YouGiveGoods drive builds up your community as it offers tangible aid to local charity and it provides a welcome opportunity for your friends and family to be part of this year's MLK Day.

4) Spread the message. Use social media (use hashtag #MLKDay) to share MLK's ideals and inspiring words. You will find his words to be stunningly timely and relevant in today's world. Forward this page, talk about what you will do in honor of MLK Day, and encourage your circle of friends to take action to support the community.

5) Commit to service in 2017. Use Martin Luther King's example to plan a 2017 where you take action. If you are unable to volunteer on January 16, simply spend some time researching, choose your charity, make that phone call and find out how you can best serve them in the future. Charities need help all year long!

Jan 6, 2017

Nursery Design Trends in 2017

If you are expecting a new baby and are currently trying to figure out a nursery theme or even find a starting place, check out the infographic below. It has a lot of great ideas as far as choosing colors and patterns. Get inspired!

Nursery Design Trends for 2017
Nursery Design Trends for 2017 by 76th & Newbury


Jan 5, 2017

The Detox Dream: Simple Ways To Look And Feel Fabulous

Have you overdone it over the festive period or are you desperate to stick to a New Year’s resolution and get healthy in 2017? If so, you’ve come to the right place. At this time of year, the word detox tends to get bandied around, as well as look to undo the indulgence of the last few weeks, and get back on an even keel. You don’t have to go into overdrive and eat nothing but juice for the next few months, but it is helpful to treat your body to some much-needed TLC. Here are some simple ways you can embrace detoxing in a healthy way, and ensure you look and feel fabulous in the months ahead.

image source


You’ve had a week off, but you probably feel like that you could do with a month-long vacation afterwards. Even if you don’t work over the festive period, it tends to be a busy time, and before you know it, those hotly anticipated days off have been and gone. If you’ve had a hectic few weeks, take time to chill out, and rest. January, with its long, dark nights, is the perfect time to cozy up, enjoy some nights in, and try and catch up on lost sleep. Try and get into an effective sleep routine, which ensures that you get enough sleep every night. If you have children, you probably try your hardest to get them to bed on time, so apply the same level of commitment to your own sleep regime. If you need eight hours every night and you’re up at 6 am or work, aim to head up to bed at 10 pm. Some nights won’t go to plan, but if you get used to a timetable, you should find it much easier to get the sleep you need. 

If you have trouble switching off, do something relaxing before you go to bed. Read a book, do some coloring or run yourself a bubble bath. Anything you find enjoyable that doesn’t require you to concentrate too much should work a treat. 

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Take a break from drinking

The festive season is probably the most heavy duty when it comes to alcohol consumption. Even if you don’t usually drink much, you may find that your intake soars during the holidays. Drinking excessively takes its toll on your liver, and it can also lead to dehydration and sluggishness. If you feel like you’ve partied too hard, or you’ve drunk too much, try and take a break from alcohol. Many people attempt dry January every year. If you don’t want to give up alcohol altogether, this is fine. Just make sure that you take it steady and stick to the recommended weekly intake of 14 units. 

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Cleanse your body and mind

Have you been feeling stressed of late? Have the last few weeks finally caught up with you? Do you feel tired or are you under the weather? If so, why not take steps to cleanse your mind and body? Take some time out to recharge your batteries, and avoid making plans for a couple of weeks. Spend your weekends relaxing, and leave work at the office. 

There are lots of ways you can detox. If you search online, you’ll come up with all kinds of weird and wonderful suggestions. You can try techniques for size, or stick to simple methods that work well for most people. One of the easiest things you can do is cut out sugary, caffeinated drinks and drink water, green tea and lemon-infused hot water. These fluids are natural cleansers, which will clean your body and rid you of toxins without you having to endure awful tastes or grueling diets. If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits of drinking lemon water, take a look at

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Eat the right foods

Have you spent the last few weeks grazing on buffet leftovers or demolishing boxes of chocolates? Most of us indulge at Christmas, and the New Year is the perfect time to get back to your normal eating habits, and try and embrace a healthy diet. Your diet is so important for all aspects of your health, and eating well really doesn’t have to boring. There are loads of great recipes and cookbooks out there, and you can try a whole range of different foods. You don’t have to survive on salads for the next three months. It’s hugely beneficial to include a broad spectrum of fruit and vegetables in your diet. These foods are packed with essential nutrients, and the more you can eat, the better. It’s also advisable to think about the way you cook and prepare food. Grilling, baking, and roasting are better for you than frying. If you are frying food, use coconut or olive oil, rather than sunflower or vegetable oil. If you’re looking for more simple healthy eating tips, it’s worth visiting

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Get moving

Exercising is a powerful waste disposal method, which enables you to remove toxins and cleanse your body from the inside out. Sweating is designed to cool us down when we get hot, but it’s also a means of removing toxins through the skin. Exercise also boosts circulation and kidney function. The kidneys are your body’s filters, so they play an important role in detoxing. When you hear the word exercise, you may be filled with dread at the thought of even stepping into a gym. The goods news is that you don’t have to lift weights or run for miles on a treadmill to get in shape. There are hundreds of different activities you can try. Join a tennis club or offer to walk your neighbor’s dog every day. Try martial arts or enroll in a trampolining class. As long as your heart’s pumping and your muscles are working, you’re on the right track. 

It’s that time of year when we all feel the need to undo a bit of overindulgence and give detoxing a go. If you’re keen to get in shape, boost your energy levels, and recover from the last few weeks, take these suggestions on board. Hopefully, you’ll be looking and feeling fantastic in no time at all. 

Jan 4, 2017

3 Home Improvements That Up Your Home’s Value and Reduce Your Premium

Your home is your source of shelter, your sanctuary from the world, and a huge source of pride. It’s a no-brainer that you care deeply about protecting it, and look to homeowners insurance to help. If you’re planning on making some updates to your abode, consider home improvements that might also qualify you for insurance discounts. Not only will you be increasing the value of your home, but you’ll likely be making your residence safer. Spending some money up front on smart home improvements can save you money down the line in the form of lowered homeowners insurance premiums.

Jumping into renovations that could lower insurance premiums is a bit like putting the cart before the horse. At the top of the to-do list is finding the best homeowners insurance for your needs in terms of both coverage and cost. Only after you’re sure that your policy is right for your situation should you start to consider aligning your home improvements with factors that reduce your premiums.

Read on to learn more about three valuable home improvements, as well as a few that could end up costing more money in the long run.

Strengthen Your Roof
Asphalt shingles seem to be the default roofing material, but their condition can degrade over time when exposed to inclement weather. According to The Family Man, insurance companies often offer significant discounts—even up to 45 percent—for investment in stronger materials. Don’t assume anything before chatting with your insurance agent, but be sure to ask about materials discounts if you’re planning any renovations. Metal and other heavy-duty roofing materials cost more up front, but could earn you discounts and hold up better over time.

Install or Improve Home Security
It’s never a bad thing to feel like you have eyes in the back of your head when it comes to your house, especially for added security when you’re away. Your insurance company will view your house as more of a risk if it has spotty security and lacks basic safety measures. The Insurance Information Institute suggests that improving your home security systems can potentially decrease your homeowners insurance as follows:

   • Smoke detector, burglar alarm, or deadbolt locks (5 percent)
   • Sprinkler system and fire/burglar alarm that alerts authorities (15-20 percent)

Modernize Heating, Electrical, and Plumbing
Do you use modern appliances in your home? Water heater malfunction is one of the most common causes for filing a water damage claim, and comes with an average cost of $4,400. In a similar vein, half of washing machine-related water damage claims come from faulty water supply hoses. The average cost for these repairs is over $6,000 based on the same set of data from the Insurance Journal. While it can be daunting to envision appraising and updating systems like plumbing, heating, and electrical, it’s important for your safety and for the safety of your home. Since the repairs tend to be costly if something does go awry, it’s beneficial to anticipate and head off these problems ahead of time by keeping your systems updated and well-maintained.

There is one bright spot. As the National Association of Insurance Commissioners points out, optimizing these systems to be disaster-proof can potentially earn you a discount on your future premiums. Before you embark on any modifications, talk to your insurance provider.

Conditions That Could Set You Back
Just like streamlining your home can knock money off your insurance premium, certain factors can increase it. Risk associated with pets and swimming pools could bump up your premium, so it’s worthwhile investigating before you decide to adopt a large dog or put in a pool. Where you live also influences your rates, including living in a place known for having conditions that produce natural disasters.

Your best bet is checking in with your homeowners insurance company if you’re planning on making any changes to your home as they could affect your rates one way or another.


Jan 2, 2017

New Year's Giveaway $100 Amazon or PayPal Cash

Happy New Year! Are you ready to start 2017 off the right way? Of course you are! Enter the latest giveaway to win the perfect prize to kick off the new year. Details below...

How to enter: There are four groups of five Instagram accounts. Each group is worth 5 entries. Follow all 20 accounts for 20 entries. If you’re already a follower, claim that entry!
This giveaway starts January 2 at midnight EST and ends January 15 at 11:59 PM EST. USA, 18+.

One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card.
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