Archive for the 'Tips and Advice' Category

Things to Take with You on a Road Trip in August 26Aug14

There is no doubt that road trips are fun and exciting, if you are prepared. If not, each step of the trip can seem like it takes a million years, and just as much cash to get everything you left at home. If you are deciding to take a road trip in August, there are a few things you need to make sure you have – before you ever hit the road.


1. Sunglasses. Driving in the summer can be hard on the eyes, unless you remember to pack your sunglasses. The glare of the sun will make you uncomfortable, and the constant squinting can lead to headaches or overly tired eyes, which is something that can make driving dangerous.


2. Cooler. Even if your vehicle has air conditioning, you will still need a cooler that can hold plenty of ice for your water bottles, sodas, and refrigerated snacks. This is also a great way to change out some of those sugary and salty snacks for some healthy carrots or fruit. Depending on how long you plan on driving each day, just purchase small bags of ice along the way to make sure everything stays cool under the hot summer rays, or use refreezable ice packs if you are staying overnight in a hotel.



3. Water. Sitting in the hot car during a traffic jam can quickly cause dehydration, so make sure to pack plenty of water and liquids to beat the heat. While you always have the option of picking these up while you are on the road, it is much cheaper to buy in bulk rather than relying on convenience stores.


These items will make sure you are comfortable, safe, and prepared for your upcoming August road trip.


Source


http://www.smartertravel.com/photo-galleries/editorial/how-to-pack-yourself-and-your-car-for-a-summer-road-trip.html?id=478&all=1

Keeping Your Home Green – Limiting Water Usage in the Yard 18Aug14

‘Green’ isn’t just a color — it’s also a way of life. Adopting ecofriendly practices and limiting your carbon footprint are two very respectable actions that will put less stress on the Earth and our environment. It may seem daunting to start a green lifestyle, but it all starts with one step.


The backyard is a bit of a water hog. Here are a few ways you can use H20 in your yard in a smart and conscious way.


Knowing When to Water


Utilizing watering hoses and accessories in the early morning, when winds are light and temperatures are cool, helps to prevent evaporation.


As a very general rule, you can expect to water your lawn once every three days in the summer and once every five days in the winter. The top two or three
inches of grass will be dry if it is in need of some water.


It’s also time for a drink if your grass leaves footprints when you walk across it where the blades don’t spring back up. Conversely, if your lawn is very light in color and grows fungi, lay off on the sprinklers for a bit.


Reuse and Cruise


Have your gutters empty into a rain barrel with a built-in tap. Then, attach a hose and you’re all set to reuse the rain water on your luscious lawn! Some rain barrels are designed to be collapsible for off-season storage and have a mesh paneling to produce cleaner water.


Start a compost pile using old fruit and various food rinds and remains you would normally toss. This means less garbage for you to collect and more love for your plants! Flower beds and gardens greatly benefit from compost, as it keeps plants cool and helps to hold in moisture.


Organic mulch also helps to prevent evaporation from soil to save you hundreds of dollars a year in water costs. Use about two to four inches of mulch per
year on your garden or lawn.


Devices and Such


Instead of tossing ice cubes, place them in potted and hanging plants to offer your botanicals a cool drink of water without overflow. Or use a
self-watering basket with a built-in wick for slow water absorption.


To make sure your sprinklers don’t run when it’s raining, install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller.



Install a flow meter or a hose timer on your spigot to gauge how long you’d like the water to run when watering plants.


You can still maintain a beautiful yard while being kind to the Earth. Start by taking just a few of these actions and discover how great you feel about
doing them. For additional items that will make your yard and home ecofriendly, take a look at oursolar powered outdoor lights and energy saving products. Your efforts will help the environment and you will be one step closer to being green!

Keeping Your Home Green Using Solar Power 11Aug14

We constantly hear about global warming and pollution on Earth, but what are some simple actions we can take to be more kind to our planet? Reducing your carbon footprint could be as simple simply installing compact fluorescent light bulbs. After all, each CFL bulb can save you upwards of $40.00 over its lifetime and only uses a third of the energy that average bulbs do. Other actions can include carpooling to and from work; unplugging devices that aren’t currently in use and, most of all, harnessing solar power.


Let’s talk about solar driven devices. ‘Solar powered’ means exactly what you think it does—powered by the sun. Solar paneled gadgets use photovoltaic material which mimics the photosynthesis process normally found in plants. This kind of energy is clean and does not produce any emissions, so you can get electricity without harming the environment.


Powering your home with solar panels can be costly, but if you live in a sunny climate and plan on living in your home for several years, it may be a good decision for you and your family. After you pay off the initial cost of the panels, you will have free electricity you can even sell back to energy providers.


For those of us who aren’t ready for that kind of investment but do want to cut down on electricity usage, there are other solar powered lights and devices that can be used for the home. You can line your walkway with green lamps and keep a door light for entering and exiting your home. Place some adorable solar powered critters in the yard for company, as pictured below. Or adorn a railing or tree with twinkling solar powered Christmas lights you can use all year round. Any of these options not only spruce up your lawn or garden, but they are completely free after the initial purchase. No plugs, no fuss; and you’re reducing your carbon footprint while making yourp property a safer place to be! How can you go wrong?


We all have a responsibility to leave the world in decent shape for future generations. The Earth is not a place to trash! Let’s feel good about little choices we make throughout the day and be good to this planet, one step at a time.


For additional environmentally-friendly items, check out our energy saving products.

How Do You Prevent Ants and Bugs at Picnics? 29Jul14

When planning a picnic, you probably have a vision of you and your loved ones
sitting by a refreshing stream underneath a large willow tree laughing the day away. What you don’t think about is the swarm of bugs headed your way once you pull the grapes and cheese out of the cooler. Preparing for nature’s pests is an essential part of packing for picnics.

Put It Away Now

Insects love anything sugary or sweet-smelling; this includes soft drinks, fruit and scented lotions or sprays. If your picnic is a lunch date, you may want to spray on a nice perfume or cologne, but this will only attract pests. It’s difficult to envision a picnic without fruit, but this is also like a welcome sign to bugs. If you do plan on bringing fruit, keep it in a closed container until you are ready to eat. This also goes for any food you eat outside—stow snacks in sealed packages in an insulated cooler and your perishables will neither spoil nor invite animals. Our outdoor accessories include plenty of coolers, baskets totes that come with a lid.


Smelly Stuff

Deter pests by incorporating smells that they find unsavory. Mint, garlic and lemon will keep most bugs at bay and there are several creative ways to include these items into your picnic. Add garlic to your dishes and drink lemon and mint sparkling water out of a closed cup with a straw. (Clear cups are best—if a wasp flies into your drink, you’ll want to shoo him away before you unknowingly take a sip!)


You may also put sprigs of mint and a few marigold flowers on the serving table to discourage bees from making a pit stop on your plate. To keep mosquitoes at bay, light a citronella candle for ambiance and added protection, or if you are planning a kid’s outing, put flameless citronella candles around your picnic setting.


Don’t Cross the Line

Simply sprinkling talcum powder or corn starch around your tablecloth will prevent ants from joining the party. This is especially helpful for picnics spread out on a cloth. Ants hate the feeling of powder and will be very discouraged to ruin your food. Be sure to complete this step before you lay out the sumptuous spread. You don’t want the wind to blow powder in your food while you are lining the area.


Remember that many flying insects feed from brightly-colored flowers, so donning vivid, summery clothing is not going to help you avoid them. Blend into the other part of the countryside and instead opt for crisp neutrals. Neutral clothing will also keep you cool in the sun, because you shouldn’t be sitting under a tree or by a pool of water, anyway; this will only attract mosquitoes to you. Those pests love damp shade and will be waiting for you under that beautiful, sprawling tree. Instead, choose an open patch of grass to set up camp in. Ultimately, the best al fresco outing is a well-thought out one. Spontaneity is wonderful, but bug bites aren’t!


For additional products that will keep unwanted visitors away from your outdoor meals, check out our outdoor pest control products.


What Are Some Tips & Tricks When Traveling with Jewelry? 22Jul14

Traveling with jewelry can be a huge irritation, both while packing and when searching for the perfect accessories to wear while vacationing. Small pairs of earrings are easily separated; necklaces are caught in a never-ending knot; and soft metals become tarnished or scratched. What’s more, when you’re away from your usual routine and home organizational system, it’s much easier to misplace valuables. Accessorizing while on holiday can be stressful, but these tips and tricks could help save you money and headaches on your trip away.


To ensure every item is secure and accounted for:


Separate for Safety


– Packing all your jewelry together in one place ensures that if one item gets stolen, all will be lost. To avoid this dilemma, try stowing away your jewelry in various locations when packing to keep everything safe and accounted for. Separate by jewelry type to save time sifting and unknotting different pieces, or compartmentalize by day/outfit so you have every item you need in one handy Ziploc or makeup bag!


Watch Your Watches

– When you are flying, keep your jewelry in your handbag or carry-on so you can keep an eye on it at all times. That way, you won’t have to worry about
your expensive jewelry going missing if your luggage gets lost.


Wear Without Worry

– Keep your jewelry on when going through security checkpoints, unless specifically asked to remove it. When you put your jewelry in the bins, you run the
risk of the person before or after you claiming it as his or her own.


If You Love it, Leave it

– Leave your expensive jewelry home. This may be unavoidable for dressier occasions such as weddings, however, when packing for more casual trips, try and
avoid bringing any jewelry you’d be devastated to lose.


To Avoid Unnecessary Digging and Disentangling:

Small Storage Solutions

– Use pill box or wallet to store small items like rings and earrings. It will be
easy to access your small pieces without digging through large containers. The compact pill box will also fit nicely in your bag, yet will be easier to
locate than small plastic bags or fabric pouches.


Sort and Store

– Store your jewelry in a compact jewelry organizer box with separate compartments for each item. This will keep everything organized and safe from being tangled or crushed. These boxes come in a variety of sizes to fit neatly in your
luggage.


Tangle-Free Pieces

– Tangled necklaces can take forever to sort out. Try stringing your necklaces through a plastic straw. This is a cheap and easy way to keep your necklaces from getting jumbled up.


Hang it Up

- Most hotels and lodges don’t supply an adequate space for you to keep your jewelry. Consider using a hanging jewelry organizer to sort and store each piece for easy access. You can hang this in your closet and easily roll it up to fit it in your suitcase.


When you’re packing for your next vacation, keep these tips and tricks in mind. In addition, always remember to stay alert when traveling with expensive items and to use your best judgment to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

3 Best Gifts for New College Freshman 15Jul14

Entering college as a young adult is one of the biggest steps a person will take in a lifetime. College is a whole new world, where a person who has been largely dependent on others to care for him or her is finally able to assert some independence and learn life lessons on their own. These three gifts are not only items they would probably never buy for themselves, but ones that will help them on their journey to adulthood:


1. Organizer. A planner or organizer is essential for someone who needs to take care of his or her own appointments and deadlines. No longer able to depend on mother or father for wake up calls and homework reminders, college freshmen can use an organizer to get a head start on keeping their new life in order. Not only can school assignments be organized, but work and entertainment schedules can also be added to the calendars, ensuring they are never late for anything important.


2. Savings bonds. Though the idea might be a little old fashioned, the fact that many people still find it difficult to begin saving money for their futures makes savings bonds relevant gifts for today’s college freshmen. With a minimal investment amount, gift givers can give young adults a vehicle for savings that comes with an incentive to save it as long as possible. If the recipient holds the bond until it matures, they will get full value for it.


3. Emergency kit. Kids are used to being able to get first aid from their parents or having them dress wounds before running to the emergency room, if necessary. With their very own first aid kit, college freshmen are able to learn to handle minor medical emergencies on their own, without having to run around looking for bandages and antiseptic cream. Emergency roadside kits will provide assistance for minor car troubles they
might experience.


Above all, gifts to new college freshmen should be thoughtful and help them to become successful adults.


Sources:


http://www.forbes.com/sites/geoffreymorrison/2013/08/04/best-gifts-for-college-students/

https://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/planning/plan_gifts.htm

Three Great Summer Vacation Ideas 08Jul14

The mere words “summer vacation” sets off sounds of cash registers clanging in the heads of most parents who have an entire brood of children to entertain and take on vacation. A headache may then follow, as thoughts of the massive workload starts to bring on anxiety. However, the best summer vacations don’t have to break your pocketbook or your nerves. Here are three easy and fun summer vacation ideas:


Classic road trip. A road trip can be one of the most affordable vacations to take because you basically get in your family vehicle and just head off along the roadways. Some planning may be in order, with a map of your route and lodging for the times you stop driving. The most interesting places to visit during road trips probably won’t be on the tourist websites; you and your family will discover them as you drive.


Humanitarian trips. Taking your family to places where others need help can not only be a humbling experience as you can develop an appreciation for what you have, but it can also be educational. Spending a vacation helping to build a home for a family who doesn’t have one or preparing meals for people who don’t get enough to eat can foster other ideas for ways your family can help others on a regular basis.



Themed trips. You may decide to take your family on a Wild West themed vacation, where all the activities and foods are based on things people did in that time period. Or an Outer Space theme may come with a visit to a space center and planetarium. A sports themed vacation could include trips to visit sports memorabilia museums and live action games for whatever sport is in season.


Summer vacations taken as a family will create memories and values for the entire family that will last a lifetime. If you display those memories in your home, consider this adjustable collage display to show friends and family.


Sources:

http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/summer

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/?siteID=Google_family_volunteering&gclid=CjgKEAjwq_qcBRDZ-PeZ7NGQiVwSJAATT7q2HcFEmNNVkPVU8z4jM2vliG4hzUPT3Q-L_GLyzuCA8PD_BwE<br>

3 Must Have Gardening Tools 24Jun14

You know spring has arrived when all you can do is think about getting out into your garden. Your hands itch to till the soil and manipulate the plants as
you create the landscape you dream of. Building your ideal garden is easier said than done, but with these three must have gardening tools, you’re sure to
be off to the best start possible:


Gloves.
The most pleasant and productive gardening stints begin with the proper hand covering. You must protect your hands from the items in your yard that can
cause damage to your skin, and you also want to protect them from the sun. WomansWork.com has a pair of gardening gloves that not only allow you to move your hands as much as you need to, but they also help keep your hands dry from the sweat of your labor.



Shovel.
Every experienced gardener knows you must have a strong and sharp shovel for the heavier digging that comes along with gardening projects. If you want to
move plants around or dig out ones that need to be thrown out, a shovel is your tool of choice. Make sure the blade is sharp every spring so it’s ready for
whatever jobs you throw it into. Also look for handles made of ash, which is a durable wood that can withstand many elements and pressures.

Hoe.
No matter how diligent you are, there are bound to be weeds lurking around your garden waiting to spring out and make their presence known. A hoe is the tool you’ll need to remove these weeds. You also want to use it for breaking down the soil in your garden and clear out areas for planting seeds.

With these three tools, you’ll be ready for whatever your garden brings you each spring season. The masterpiece garden you’ve always dreamed about can
become a reality in your landscape. If you find that you need more than these three tools, check out our Lawn and Garden section.


Sources:



http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/gardening/outdoor/garden-tools-00100000101174/page2.html

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/tools/top-tools-for-garden-maintenance/

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/garden-tools-and-equipment?page=0,1

What Are Some Bright New Outdoor Ideas for Summer? 10Jun14

You’ve certainly waited long enough for spring weather to arrive. Now it’s time to spruce up your back yard and patio and begin inviting friends over for a welcome summer party.


Spruce Up the Garden


You’ll want the yard and garden to look especially nice for your guests, so spend some time there, weeding and making sure that your landscaping looks its best. You can plant using a patio garden kit that will grow your fruits and vegetables right next to your patio. Then, when you need them for salads and cooking, they will be nearby.


Lighting


LED spot lights work very well during the summer nights, to show off your landscaping and the exterior of your home. They are quite handy for entranceways, planted areas or for use as highlights for unique architectural features of your home.


Fresh Drinks for Summer


A frozen fruit drink maker is just the thing for preparing refreshing summer beverages. Use fresh fruits to make healthy desserts in just a few minutes, and you won’t have to add sugar or juice. The Swirlio™ frozen drink machine will allow you to create wonderful and tasty drinks without dairy fat or processed sugar. View a demonstration video below from Colt Sebastian Taylor.


Pour your drinks for family or friends using gingham glasses, or other types of glasses that create a colorful theme for your guests. You may serve smoothies, soda, or cocktails in summer glasses.


After Party Cleanup


Whoever is in charge of cleaning the grill will be pleased if you have foam grill cleaner on hand. This product has a cleansing, foaming action that loosens food and grease from grills, utensils, and racks. Just spray the surface and allow the foam to penetrate the toughest areas of food and grease buildup. Select a product with a pleasant scent, so that it’s easier to use.


Sources:


http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/patio_garden_kit/39201
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/25_led_spot_light/39559
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/swirlio_frozen_fruit_maker/40167
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/set_of_4_gingam_glasses_with_straws/40079
http://www.taylorgifts.com/item/foam_grill_cleaner/40348

What Are Some Top Products to Help Keep Your Money and Valuables Safe 03Jun14

To one degree or another, everyone has the fear of having valuables like money, credit cards, expensive electronics or precious jewelry. While completely rational, such anxieties don’t have to be a source of stress of lack of sleep; by investing in simple yet effective products that will protect your valuables, you can breathe a little easier and prevent unwelcomed sets of hands from snatching your belongings.


Here are the top products that will help keep your money and valuables safe:


Store goods in the trunk with an organizer. If you’re a thief who is doing “smash and grab” for valuables in cars, the first thing you do is to peer through car windows to see if any valuables are visible. Secondly, you break the window and rummage about the car’s front compartment and perhaps underneath the seats. Where you don’t look is the trunk (especially if you’re rushing), so consider keeping your goods in the back; our car organizers will help you keep items neat instead of sloppily scattered about.


Safety deposit box. While staying at a hotel, take advantage of the safety deposit box that is usually in the closet. There you can lock up your money, jewelry, passport, or anything else that you deem valuable. This way, you aren’t forced to carry it with you – making it vulnerable to pickpockets – or leave it “out in the open” for nameless hotel staff to have easy reach to.


Fanny pack. If you’re out and about traveling in your local town or on vacation, purchase a fanny pack and keep your money and valuables in it at all times. This way your treasures are close to you and no one can grab it from you easily like they could a purse. If you aren’t a fan of this particular look, try to find a purse that rests flat against your body (making it harder to grab), and has sturdy handles that can’t be quickly snipped or ripped. Browse Taylor Gifts’ travel accessories to find many attractive and practical bags that fit this description.


Carry a dummy wallet. You can purchase an extra wallet, put a tiny bit of cash in it, and if you are approached by a burglar you can give him your dummy holder and run away, thus keeping your real wallet safe and sound. To find many attractive options, check out our selection of wallets found amongst our clothing and personal essentials products.


House valuables in inconspicuous containers. Whether they’re breaking into your house or car, thieves will hastily overlook discrete containers like water bottles or a lunch box, so go ahead and put your money and/or valuables inside a modest holder that will be overlooked.


Utilize a security box. Purchase a fireproof portable security with a lock box for cash, jewelry, and important documents. Keep the key with your car keys or hide it in a location no one will think to look. What’s nice about a portable box is that you can take it with you on vacation.


Wear a money belt. This handy accessory is a thin belt that is wrapped around your stomach and discretely housed below your shirt and outer layers. It’s impossible for slippery fingers to access your essentials without you noticing and, moreover, the discretion of a money belt will make it difficult to notice it in the first place.


Knowing that your valuables are secure can set you at ease so that you can go about your business. Take a look into these products that offer such security and utilize one or more. They also make wonderful gifts.