6 Energy Cutting Tips for Your Home

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of IGS Energy for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Being eco-friendly is not just about recycling and toting around reusable grocery bags though these are great, easy ways to be more green. Helping the environment can actually help your wallet as well. With these green actions and adjustments around the house, you can effectively lower your electricity and water bills as well as save on other general expenses.

1. Turn off the lights when you leave the room. Electricity bills are typically one of the highest bills a household gets each month. Turning off the lights when you leave the room as well as turning off any appliances and electronics that are not in use are easy ways to help you conserve energy. Electricity generation is also a big source of pollution because many energy companies still rely on burning coal to provide energy for homes and businesses. By actively making sure that you are not wasting any electricity, you will simultaneously cut down on the amount of pollution created as well as cut down on your electricity bill.

2. Make the switch to CFL bulbs. It is true that CFL bulbs, also known as compact fluorescent lamp bulbs, are more expensive than regular incandescent light bulbs. However, when you factor in how much money you save in the long run with CFL bulbs, you will see that these more eco-friendly bulbs actually pay for themselves with the savings you will incur. CFL bulbs typically last up to 15 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb, and they also have the capability of putting out the same amount of light as a traditional bulb but while using half the energy. In fact, one CFL bulb can save buyers more than $30 in energy costs in its lifetime. If you replace all of the lights in the house with CFL bulbs and make it a habit to turn off the lights when not in use, you could save hundreds of dollars in electricity costs annually.

3.  Only do laundry when there is a full load. You may be tempted to throw your favorite shirt into the wash by itself when you accidentally get some unsightly stains on it, but consider spot-cleaning it and waiting until you are ready to toss an entire load of laundry into the machine before washing it. A washing machine and dryer use up tremendous amounts of energy, so it is more eco-friendly to maximize the use of these machines by only turning them on when there is a full load to wash. When you do fewer loads of laundry, you will cut down on your water and electricity bills as well as your carbon footprint.

4. Make the switch to low-flow and aerating faucets. Just like the CFL bulbs, the initial purchase cost of a low-flow and aerating faucet would be offset by the savings you would incur with use. These faucet heads pump air into the water coming out of the faucet so that you would still experience plenty of water pressure, but with less water usage. When you consider that a single five-minute shower can use up approximately 40 gallons of water, it is easy to see why using less water for day-to-day activities is crucial. By using low-flow and aerating faucets and shower heads, you can help conserve water as well as reduce your water bill.

5. Replace paper napkins with cloth ones and disposable dishes and silverware with reusable ones. It can be tempting to use paper plates and plastic disposable forks and spoons if you hate doing the dishes, but all of that garbage getting tossed out at the end of each meal is bad for the environment. Paper napkins are ill-advised as well for the same reason. When you switch to cloth napkins and reusable dinnerware, you dramatically reduce the amount of garbage you will produce. Though initially purchasing a good dinner set and napkins would be more expensive than purchasing disposable items, you will also never need to buy these items again, unlike the constant need to refill and replace disposable ones. Coupled with fewer washing machine loads and a low-flow faucet, cleaning your reusable items will also still be environmentally friendly. IGS Building 6. Shop around for an independent energy supplier.   What is the difference between a utility and a supplier you may ask?  Well, in areas where this energy choice (sometimes referred to as energy competition) is allowed, the utility is responsible for maintaining and repairing the infrastructure of the poles, pipes, and wires that will still deliver electricity and natural gas to consumers.  While a supplier, on the other hand, is a company that sells the energy that the utility delivers. Suppliers compete in an open marketplace by offering a variety of services and incentives, and consumers chose those that most appeal to them and best meet their energy needs. Suppliers have more options to purchase the energy more efficiently and cost-effectively.  (Go here to learn more about energy choice and deregulation)

To put it in a different way, imagine you are going to buy the latest Smartphone from Apple.com or Target.com and the U.S. Postal Service delivers it to your home, in a deregulated market, you can choose an independent supplier (like IGS Energy) to purchase your electricity and natural gas on the open market, deliver it to your utility, and your utility delivers it to your home (or business).

You may also choose to remain with the utility whose rate often fluctuates with market conditions – meaning their rates are variable and move up and down at various times of the year. The benefit of an independent supplier like IGS Energy is that you can lock in rates at today’s low rates for the longer team and have the peace of mind that if rates jump around, yours remains steady. Suppliers are also able to offer other options such as longer-term fixed rates, flat bills, or green energy products.  IGS works with your local utility as part of the utility’s customer choice program – they aren’t in direct competition. IGS Energy Salesman Serving over 1,000,000 customers, IGS Energy is one of the largest independent suppliers of natural gas and electricity in the country.  Not only that but they also offer a wide range of home protection products to help customers protect their budgets against costly repairs of the utility lines that keep their home running smoothly, that most people don’t know are their own responsibility.  It’s not too late to make a change, you can check your options here: natural gas and electric supply products.IGS Energy IGS Energy is also actively involved in their community.  Across all of their offices throughout six states, 630 IGS employees gave back to their communities, and company-wide they provided more than 3,000 combined hours of volunteer service. Over 45 organizations were supported during the All-Employee Day of Service including Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, community food pantries, and animal shelters.  Check out more of ISG Energy community involvement here: IGS Companies community support. 

To see if you could benefit (and possibly save money!) visit IGSenergy.com to be connected with one of their trusted energy advisers.  

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New Slate GE Products at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.  (I received a gift card but would love to review the line…in case you’re listening GE) 🙂
Slate appliances

As you know, I’m renovating my bare kitchen in our new house now.  While walking through the store recently I stopped in my tracks with I saw GE’s new slate colored appliances.  I took a photo right away, sent it to my husband, and called him.  (If I hadn’t overloaded my phone with photos recently I’d show you!)  We had been debating on which new appliance color to choose (Yay! New appliances!) and when I found this one I absolutely fell in love.  My husband nonchalantly, as men do, said, “Yea, I like it.”  Woo!  I haven’t bought them yet but we will soon because Best Buy is having a tremendous deal on them right now!!  More on that later in this post but now I want to show you some pictures.
GE Slate Fridge

Simply gorgeous, right?  Sleek and sophisticated!

GE Slate Oven

I’ve read that this slate finish resists fingerprints and is easy to clean.  So no matter if you have a modern, or a country, or a classic shaker style kitchen you can easily update it with the hottest appliance color…and a great trusted brand, GE.

So tell me, do you love the new slate color half as much as I do?

Disclaimer: Requires purchase of select GE Profile appliances from the following categories: Refrigerators, Ranges, Wall Ovens, Microwaves, Cooktops, Dishwashers, Rangehoods, Washers and Dryers. Rebate has maximum value of $1500 and minimum of $100. Value determined by number of eligible appliances purchased. See GEappliancepromotions.com to submit online and for full details on manufacturer’s incentive. Redemption value received via mail in form of Prepaid Visa Card. Offer valid 3/30/16 – 4/26/16.

This fabulous deal is only available at Best Buy so and be sure to check out the GE Brand Store to learn more about the slate finish, and how it can work for you!

Spring Style Idea Board

Spring Inspired Style

Despite the bees and the pollen, I absolutely adore spring.  As I’m typing now I can hear baby birds chirping and as I glance up I see the sun peeping through the new green leaves of a maple tree right outside my window.  I love it.  Spring gives a peaceful, hopeful feeling doesn’t it?  It does for me anyway.  Because of my love for spring I try to incorporate spring inspired style into my decor.

Blue Paint

As many of you know, I recently moved and while I don’t have much unpacked I am enjoying the freshly painted baby blue walls of my home.  It gives it a serene spring like feeling, don’t you think?

Since my new home is over double the size of my old one I’m in the market for some additional furniture and decor.  I’ve been looking around and once again, I’m drawn to the fresh and pastel palettes that remind me of spring.  While I haven’t finalized many purchase decisions yet I’ve had time browsing and shopping around.

I absolutely adore Wayfair and am glad that I was able to partner with them for this post.  On Wayfair.com I was able to create a “Spring Style” idea board.  Anyone can create one (or a dozen!) – it’s easy to do once you log into your account.  While I created this board with the idea of my living room (partly pictured above) I loved the process so much that I’m going to go back and create a nautical one for my son’s room and a frilly girly room for my daughter.  Once we get a little more settled in I think I’ll try my hand at decorating our patio with their lawn and garden decor.

Take a look at my Spring Style board below and let me know which of the items I chose is your favorite!

7 Things I Have Learned From Our Move

This post contains affiliate links to products I own and love.

From Our Move

Since moving last week I’ve discovered quite a few things about myself and I’m sharing them here with you in hopes that you might find them helpful.

Plain Nursery

  • 1.  The biggest thing thing I’ve noticed is that I LOVE clean and open spaces.  Okay, that really shouldn’t have surprised me but how much I love it certainly does.  I don’t even feel like decorating.  I’m sure I’ll decorate as time goes on but right now I’m enjoying the serenity of freshly painted walls.
  • 2.  I thought I would be disgusted by eating out so much but it gave me an opportunity to seek out those healthier options at restaurants that I usually avoid.  …and I liked them!  I may not completely revert back to my “go-to” restaurant favorites.

Temporary Kitchen

  • 3.  After a few days of eating out I decided to see what all was possible with my make-shift kitchen consisting of a fridge, toaster oven, microwave, and a wok on a hot plate.  It turns out that you can make a lot with those!  I’m feeling creative and enjoying the challenge of cooking with less equipment.
  • 4.  I am enjoying, no absolutely relishing in the amount of things we have out.  I feel like I’m on a vacation, just living with the minimum and having the time of my life.  We have all of our unopened boxes in one room and we keep the door shut.  We go in to get what we need and leave the rest there.  Once we have our kitchen cabinets installed and closet systems in place we’ll unpack a bit more but right now I’m loving having less.  We donated a lot as we packed up our old house but because of this high that’s coming from seeing and interacting with less I have a feeling I’m going to be donating a lot more in the coming weeks.  Less toys means less to put away.  Less clothes means more laundry but less choices.  Less things to dust around and vacuum around.  Less has truly made my spirits brighter.  I wish it didn’t take the painstaking ordeal of packing a few hundred boxes to fully convince me but that did the trick.  If you want to live with less you can get started with my 200 Things to Throw Away post!

Geese on a pond

  • 5.  Because we’re in a new place I want to be at my best for my kids.  I don’t want my cranky attitude to make them dislike their new house.  I know that seems silly but if you’re a parent you know how your attitude can affect your child’s.  To help with my attitude I’ve started going to bed earlier.  On purpose.  Every night.  It has helped my attitude tremendously!  I’m still tired through the day because of my narcolepsy but I’m more alert (and happier!) than I have been.
  • 6.  Along with going to bed earlier I’m trying to prep for the next day by laying out clothes, towels for the morning, and planning and prepping breakfast for the next day.  It takes very little time but helps me tremendously as I’m stumbling around in the morning.  I started doing this on my own and I had success but a few days ago my blogging friend, Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com released a new 14 day course that provides a step by step system to help you Make Over Your Evening.  I immediately bought it, devoured it, and can say that I have truly benefited from it.  Here’s my affiliate link if you’d like to check it out for yourself.  The course only takes 15 minutes a day…unless you’re like me and go ahead of schedule. 🙂

In just 15 minutes a day over two weeks the course promises you’ll learn how to:

  • – Establish a Realistic Evening Routine that works — and that sets you up for amazing success!
  • – Design a Prioritized To Do List for each day — one that you’re actually excited to wake up and tackle!
  • – Nourish your body, nurture your soul, and no longer put your health on the back burner — even in the middle of a busy and full life.
  • – Assemble a wardrobe of simple outfits you love and that make you feel great — so you can finally, as Dear Abby Leigh says, “Dress for the day you want to have, instead of the one that’s trying to have you”!
  • – Develop a contagious, positive attitude — so you can experience and express more joy in your everyday life.
  • – And more…  visit MakeOverYourMorning.com for more information.

Walk in the woods

  • 7.  Lastly, I hate to admit that there may possibly be downsides to living in the woods.  The only downside so far is that I’ve found way too many spiders to have only been here a little over a week! (Yes, I saved you and shared a picture of my darling daughter instead of a yucky spider.  You’re welcome!)  I’m seriously thinking of investing in one of these little spider catchers that I’ve seen on Facebook a few times.

If you’ve endured a move and lived to tell about it I would love any advice you have to share!  Happy Monday, friends!

Nate Berkus Inspired LG Kitchen Appliances

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Earth Day is today!  Happy Earth Day!  In keeping in the spirit of the day let’s talk about conserving our resources just a little, shall we?  We could drive more efficient cars or skip the car altogether some days.  We can swap out our light bulbs for the more efficient and much brighter LEDs.  For me, one of my favorite ways to conserve energy without having to lift a finger is to buy energy efficient appliances.  My refrigerator runs constantly so that’s an important appliance to have an energy star rating.  My washer and dryer also run constantly, or so it feels like anyway!  I love having an energy efficient washer and dryer set so I can be sure I’m saving as much money as possible there.

LG Nate Berkus Fridge

As you know, we’re about to move and when we do we’ll be needing a new fridge to call our own.  This new refrigerator from LG caught my eye, it’s called the LG Studio Line “Beauty by Design.”  It’s energy star certified!

Nate Berkus Kitchen

One look at the LG Studio Collection and it’s clear: Beauty is more than just skin deep. In any showcase kitchen, what’s on the outside matters just as much as what’s on the inside.  The line is inspired by Nate Berkus so it includes pro-style features like hefty metal knobs and flat doors.  I love it!  These appliances look like they’re both well-designed and hardworking.  What do you think?  Do you like this new line as much as I do?

An estimated 170 million refrigerators and refrigerator-freezers are currently in use in the United States.  Woo!  More than 60 million refrigerators are over 10 years old (guilty!), costing consumers $4.7 billion a year in energy costs.  By properly recycling your old refrigerator and replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR certified refrigerator, you can save between $35–$300 on energy costs over its lifetime. Use the ENERGY STAR Savings Calculator to find out exactly how much money you’ll save by replacing your existing refrigerator.

Right now Best Buy is offering 18 months major appliance financing or 10% rewards (increased from 5 to 10% for April!) and 10% back in grocery purchases.  Plus, free delivery on purchases $399+.  I’m all about free delivery but especially when it comes to big and heavy appliances!

A Touch Of Class: Making Your Studio Look Like A Hotel Room

Working in the city often results in you having to compromise on the size of your apartment. For example, if you live in places like Manhattan, San Francisco and L.A., the places where you can affordably stay in an be quite limited. In such cases, it is actually quite common for many people to simply live in a cramped studio apartment that is barely 24 square meters in size.

For some people, their apartments can be even smaller with some of them being barely 18 square meters. Suffice it to say, you can see that space is at a premium in such locations and it is due to this that the concept of “class” is rarely connected to the “shoe boxes” that people wind up having to live in. However, just because you live in a cramped room does not mean that you cannot bring a touch of elegance into the way you live in order to enhance your overall experience.

Getting a Bed that is Also a Cabinet

Foldable Bed

Source: instantshift.com

One of the more unusual items that you can get for your home comes in the form of a cabinet bed that you can get from sites like Cabinetbed.ca. This is basically a bed that is collapsible and can be inserted into a nondescript yet elegant looking cabinet that can be placed at the side of your apartment. The advantage of choosing this type of bed over a solid mattress is the fact that it not only enables you to have more space as you move around your apartment, it also enables you to have a small mini office in your bedroom that helps you work from home without being tempted to work from your bed the entire day.

Get Soft Lighting and Lamps

Bedroom

Another way of enhancing how your apartment looks based on the advice of ApartmentTherapy.com is to install soft lighting into it along with placing lamps on your side tables. While it may seem like an odd choice, soft lighting is actually rather helpful in creating a nice ambiance in your room. This is further enhanced if you were to place proper light covers on the lights in the ceiling. This helps to distribute the brightness to the extent that it helps to create a nice even setting of lighting. Aside from this, small lamps placed on side tables are an effective way of adding a touch of class to your small room since you can turn of your main lights and turn the lamps on.

Getting the Right Sort of Household Goods

Another thing that you can do is to invest in branded household goods such as the Alessi line of kitchen tools from Lumens. The unique designs really stand out when displayed in a kitchen area, and the entire line is rather durable as compared to ordinary household items that you can buy from your local mall. When displayed via hooks and open shelves in your kitchen, they really add a considerable touch of class to your tiny apartment.

Have Carpeting Installed

People tend to forget that the floor of their apartment is also a valuable element when it comes to enhancing the overall appearance of their home. However, it is normally the case that they neglect to add sufficient “enhancements” to the floor and leave things as-is. This results in people looking at the floor and seeing nothing more than drab tiling, or maybe even wood flooring that looks like it has seen better days.

Installing Carpet

In order to enhance the look of your apartment, install some plush carpeting that both matches your walls yet can be easily cleaned. While investing in carpeting may seem to be a rather expensive option, you need to take into consideration the fact that you will be the one who will make the most use out of it. Just imagine the feeling of a nice plush carpet as you walk across it. There are few feelings like it in the world and shows just how nice a carpet would be both for the sake of appearance, as well as how it would feel like on your feet.

All in all, if you implement even a few of these recommendations when redesigning your studio apartment, they’ll go a long way towards enhancing the overall look and feel of the place. Just remember, making your apartment look good is more for yourself, since a nice apartment helps to create a calming and homey feel that enables you to relax after a long day at work. In fact, Gizmodo.com states that an apartment that looks drab and tiny makes you want to avoid it rather than stay in it—and this defeats the purpose of having an apartment in the first place.

Lennox’s HVAC Smart Home Technology

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lennox but all opinions are my own.

Most of us choose our favorite season based on our temperature preference. I love the fall because it’s cool and crisp and anticipates even a cooler time. My HOT friends love the summer and the time off with their kids too (most of them enjoy that aspect). One thing irritating for us fall lovers is the fluctuating temperatures. Often times we ask ourselves what season it will be this week.

I’m a bit behind in home technology, but there are HVAC systems that help you control the temperature of your home remotely. iComfort® S30 from Lennox is a wireless-enabled touchscreen thermostat. It’ normal like other thermostats which you can control from the wall, but you can also control it from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop! It really ups the convenience aspect because the program will give you weather updates! Instead of having to figure out what your weather will be like for the day and then walk to the thermostat to adjust it, you can do it remotely. I always struggle with remembering to adjust the thermostat before I leave the house because I’m in a rush to do this and that. If I forget, no problem. I can do it from my phone. It also adds convenience because it alerts you of scheduled maintenance system problems.

Lennox

If you activate this feature, you don’t even have adjust the thermostat’s schedule to when you are home. The GPS in your phone will alert the system when you are home and set the HVAC system to your desired temperature.  The Smart Away™mode brings comfort, convenience, and efficiency together in a blended synergy.

The Feels Like™ temperature mode will let take humidity and temperature into account and adjust the system’s temperature to create your desired temperature in the house! For you HOT readers, I’m sure you would love this!!!

For those of you plagued with allergies, you’ll love this feature. The Allergen Defender monitors the amount of pollution and pollen in your area based on zip code and turns on the fan to eliminate these nasties from your home! Here’s a video that explains this feature more in detail.   

You can also find out information on Lennox’s website.

Second Chance to Win on eBay with Liberty Mutual Insurance

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Liberty Mutual Insurance for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you ever bid on something on eBay only to have someone swoop in at the last second and outbid you?  I’ve been there many times and I hate it when that happens!  Now, with Liberty Mutual Insurance eBay Bid Protection, you might get a second chance at that lost item!

Liberty-Mutual-Insurance

I’ve been outbid before.  I spent time searching for that rare item and researched a good and fair price to offer.  I placed my starting bid, not too high but not too low.  Hours go by and no one bids against me.  I wait, and wait, and wait.  With only a few minutes to go I refresh the page frantically.  I have a second tab open in case I need to raise my bid.  It has my max bid typed in and ready to go.  Refresh, refresh.  I think to myself, “Yes, I’ve got this!”  With two seconds remaining someone out-bid me.  I scramble to submit my highest bid but it’s too late.  I see the “You’ve Been Outbid” notice.  Ahhh, so much time wasted!

If you’re an eBay shopper, I’m sure you’ve been there too.  It’s disappointing.  Wouldn’t it be great to get a second chance at that eBay auction you lost and have that possession you had your sights set on?  Yes, I think so!  Well, with Liberty Mutual Bid Protection Sweepstakes you can enter a sweepstakes to win an item that you were outbid on!

This sweepstakes covers items that are in the Cars & Trucks and Home & Garden categories of the eBay marketplace.  You could win a CAR!!!

Here’s how you can enter:

  • – First, go register!  Easy peasy.
  • – Then, anytime you place a losing bid on an item in the Cars & Trucks or Home & Garden categories between $500 and $1000, you are automatically entered!

This sweepstakes ends September 1, 2015 so you have plenty of time to browse around and enter!  Happy Shopping!

* Eligible entries are losing bids in the cars & trucks category between $15,000 and $30,000 placed by June 15, 2015, as well as any other losing bids on items in the cars and trucks or home & garden categories between $500 and $1,000 placed by September 1, 2015.

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Sterling Prevail Shower Door

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sterling for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Along with summer’s sweat, sunscreen, and dirt comes more baths for the little ones!  Baths can be a headache for some but for us, the key to a smooth bath time has been routine!

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When we announce it’s time for a bath my daughter knows what to expect.  She knows that it’s her job to get her pjs, Dad will run the bath water, and I’ll carry my son and grab his clothes and the towels.  Then my daughter picks which towel she’ll use (her brother is still too young to care) and we begin.  We always clean the hair first because it’s their least favorite, then wash everywhere else, and then they can play.

Establishing our routine has helped cut down on meltdowns because there are no surprises and no negotiations taking place.  We have our routines for morning and bed time too.  For me, it’s critical to have a routine when they are the sleepiest.  That way there’s no debate, it’s just time for so and so.

Does your family benefit from a bath time routine?

Bath time means a lot of lifting kids into the water (thanks, hubby!) and a lot of leaning over to scrub little dirty toes. Sterling shower doors with ComforTrack technology are a great addition to any family’s bathtub (or shower).  It has a flexible track, which is comfortable, easy to clean, and a smart addition to any showering space.  Unlike other tracks you don’t have to worry about accidentally stepping on it or it digging into your elbows when your cleaning the kiddos.  It’s also great for washing dogs and for relaxing in the tub with your feet up – things you can’t do with a hard shower track, but the ComforTrack technology makes it possible.

The track is also extremely durable.  Its heavy-duty material withstands rigorous testing, ensuring that it will outlast day-to-day wear and tear. What’s more, the track features a low profile and sleek shape that is easy to keep clean. This innovation is truly a win-win for today’s homeowner.

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Do you have any tips for making bath time with kids easier?