Keep Your Home Office Squeaky-Clean (and Germ-Free) With These Handy Tips

Is your home office one of the messiest spaces in your rental home? Here are some easy ways to clean your gadgets and electronics — and keep your office tidy and germ-free.

  1. Start by organizing your pesky wires and cords. This will help prevent fire hazards and eliminate the unattractive mess.Invest in some sturdy clips from office supply stores to keep them neatly wound.
  2. Clean your keyboard. You can’t exactly spray your keyboard with disinfectant, but you can clean it by unplugging it and shaking out the loose dirt. Use canned, compressed air to remove the rest of the dust from between the keys, then give it a wipe-down with a cloth dampened with cleaner.
  3. Wipe off your computer screen. Use a bit of water and a lint-free cloth. Don’t use cleaner, as it may damage the screen.
  4. Disinfect your cell phone or landline phone. Do this regularly, as the germs from your mouth spread very easily. Use a disinfectant wipe all over the phone, being careful that no drips get inside of the phone itself.
  5. Dust. If you have allergies, be sure to dust shelves, floors, and your desk regularly to prevent dust particles from infiltrating your home office.

How to Keep Home Office Equipment Clean [HGTV]
Step-By-Step: Keep a Clean Keyboard [PCWorld]
How To Clean Your Filthy Gadgets [Gizmodo]

Clever Storage Solutions for Jewelry and Accessories

Storing jewelry and other accessories can be quite difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of space to spare. Luckily, there are a number of creative ways to store all of those bits and baubles and keep them neatly tucked away.

Shadow Box Jewelry Holder []
This unique DIY project turns your favorite necklaces into a work of art. Simply line a shadow box frame with a piece of pretty wallpaper, add a few hooks and hang your necklaces inside. By removing the glass on the front of the frame, you’ll have easy access to your favorite jewelry pieces.

Dress Form Jewelry Holder []
If you love all things vintage, you’ll especially love the look of this retro jewelry display. Simply drape all of your necklaces around the neck of an antique dress form, and even place a hat on its head for good measure.

Jelly Jar Hair Accessory Holder []
If you have trouble keeping track of your hair ties and bobby pins, you can use this simple tutorial to keep them neatly corralled. Just slid elastic hair ties around the outside of an old jelly jar, then place the bobby pins and hair clips inside of the jar to store them together.

Cool Off With These Rich and Creamy Ice Cream Recipes

Summer brings with it heat and humidity—but also an excuse to indulge in some cool, frosty ice cream! If you'd like to recreate the experience of your favorite ice cream parlor at home, this trio of homemade ice cream recipes will have you off to a sweet start.

Five-Minute Ice Cream [AllRecipes]
Yep, you read that right: This recipe only takes five minutes to make, start to finish! Simply combine white sugar, heavy cream, and frozen strawberries in a blender or food processor, then blend it all together until the strawberries are roughly chopped. Reviewers note that other kinds of frozen berries can be used in place of the strawberries, and some recommend substituting low-fat yogurt and sugar substitutes to cut down on the fat and calories.

The Master Ice Cream Recipe [New York Times]
Incorporating egg yolks into the mixture produces ice cream with a supremely smooth, creamy, and custard-like consistency. Better still, it's said that this vanilla ice cream can provide the foundation for any other ice cream flavor. Add the fruit, candies, nuts, and aromatics of your choice to transform the vanilla ice cream into whatever flavor your heart desires.

My Favorite: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream [Real Simple]
Refreshingly indulgent, there's a reason why mint chocolate chip ice cream is a tried-and-true favorite. This recipe for the crowd pleasing ice cream steeps fresh mint leaves in a cream and milk mixture for an herbal flavor that can't be recreated by extracts. The addition of three tablespoons of cream cheese results in a texture that's extra rich and decadent.

Fast and Easy Grilled Dessert Recipes

Whether it’s the dog days of summer or the crisp chill of fall is already in the air, preparing dinner on the barbecue grill is always enjoyable. While burgers and kabobs are usually on your arsenal of grillable foods, you may have overlooked the number of desserts that can also be prepared on the grill! Here are a few of our favorite grilled dessert recipes:

Honey-Rum Grilled Bananas []
The sweetness of the bananas and the flavor of the rum are perfectly accented by the smoky flavor from the grill in this recipe, creating a taste that will make you feel like you’ve traveled to a tropical paradise.

Banana Nutella S’mores []
Everyone loves making s’mores, but if your taste buds have grown up a bit, you may want to incorporate a more complex flavor into the campsite favorite. This recipe uses a hazelnut spread instead of the usual milk chocolate, which tastes even better when cooked over an open fire.

Grilled Peach Melba []
This Southern dessert is positively meant for the grill. Top your warm peaches with vanilla ice cream and watch as it melts over the sweet, blackened fruit.

How to Set a Household Budget — and Stick to It!

It can be difficult to manage the money for your entire household, especially if you have children. Consider these money-savvy tips for creating a household budget — and sticking to it!

  1. Know your net income. This is the hardest part: tallying your total household income and really taking control of how much you have to spend. Remember to deduct things like taxes, social security, and your 401(k).
  2. Set some goals. First, consider short-term goals such as paying off your credit cards each month and budgeting for groceries. Once those are taken care of, factor in long-term goals, like planning for a vacation or putting money aside for your child’s education.
  3. Consider your daily spending. Record everything that you spend money on for a few days in order to see where you can cut back (and where you can afford to splurge).
  4. Make a plan. Divide your income into fixed expenses (like your rent or car payment) and variable expenses, which change from month to month. Subtract your fixed expenses from your total net income, put 10 percent of the amount left over into your savings, then feel free to spend the rest on your variable expenses.
  5. Check back frequently. Be sure to continually check to see if your budget is working for your family.

Creating a Budget [Bank of America]
Secrets to creating a budget [Bankrate]
10 steps to making a financial budget [CNN Money]

How to Give Your Space an Instant Makeover

You don’t have to be an interior decorator to give your living space a major makeover. No matter your style or your budget, these home decorating tips will help you to refresh your home just like a professional.

  1. Paint your furniture. A coat of paint can breathe new life into tired furniture. Take a paintbrush to an older bookshelf or coffee table, or add a pop of bright citrus paint to an outdated desk or dresser.
  2. Add slipcovers. Instead of investing hundreds (or even thousands) into a new sofa, purchasing an affordable slipcover will give your current sofa a whole new look.
  3. Create a gallery wall. This decorating trend is popular because it can be customized to suit anyone’s tastes. Add a variety of picture frames in a matching color to one wall, or mix and match vintage frames with your favorite family photos to create a cozy look.
  4. Make your own headboard. If you’ve had your current bed frame for longer than you can remember, switch things up a bit by making your own custom headboard. Stain a repurposed wood palette in a dark shade, or even use an antique door for a rustic look.

10 Ways to Redecorate Without Spending a Dime [Bob Vila]
Give Your Bedroom a Money-Saving Makeover [All You]
How to give your room an instant makeover? [Homedit]

How to Train for a 5K: A Beginner’s Guide

Anyone can run a 5K, no matter how inexperienced you are with running. If you want to train on your own for an upcoming race in your area, these smart (and safe) tips will help you to get in shape.

  1. Join a group. Many cities have running groups that help one another to train for a 5K. Visit a running store in your area to see if there’s a group that you can join.
  2. Make a plan. Begin training eight weeks before race day. Begin by running 1 mile four days per week, with alternating rest days in between training days. Build up your running distances in quarter-mile increments each week until you finally make it to 5K.
  3. Add in cross-training. If you prefer, you can replace one day of training with a day of cross training, such as biking, swimming, or working out on an elliptical machine for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Don’t skip rest days. Even if you feel strong enough to add in additional running days, remember that your body needs rest in order to build muscle and prevent injury.
  5. Switch days. If you have a busy schedule, feel free to switch training days and rest days from week to week. It’s better to switch your schedule around than to miss a training day entirely.

How to Train for Your First 5K [Active]
The Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan [Cool Running]
How to Train to Run Your First 5K [About Health]
Beginner 5K Training Schedule: Go from the Couch to the Finish Line! [Shape]

Are You in Good Hands?

You're already in good hands if you live at Tera but the folks at Allstate in Kirkland are pretty great, too! Make every dollar count and get a quote this weekend on renters insurance and more.

Goodnight Kirkland

Have a superb weekend!

How to Get the Best Price on Airplane Tickets

Purchasing airplane tickets is often very expensive (and very stressful), but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some expert tips that will show you when, where, and how to shop for the best airplane ticket deals.

  1. Begin shopping three months out. Most experts agree that the best time to start looking for an airplane ticket is three months before you plan on departing. Prices are usually cheapest around 18 to 28 days before your departure, and they rise about 5% two weeks beforehand, so this is the recommended window.
  2. Combine hotel and airfare. If you’re traveling somewhere where you’ll need both travel and hotel accommodations, book the two together and you can save significantly.
  3. Pay attention on Tuesdays. Major airlines announce their upcoming sales on Tuesdays, and they often compete with one another at this time, as well. Book between mid-day and end-of-day Tuesday for the best deals.
  4. Know when to fly. Flying over the weekend is always the most expensive time, as this is when most people have off work and will also be traveling. Depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday to save money by traveling mid-week.
  5. Don’t specify departure times. When browsing an airline’s website, don’t specify departure dates or times in order to browse all of the upcoming flights by the lowest price.

How to Get the Cheapest Price on Airfare [Fox Business]
Cheapest Days to Fly and Best Time to Buy Airline Tickets [Fare Compare]
Secrets to Getting the Cheapest Airfare [USA Today]
Top 10 Tips for Getting the Cheapest Airfare [Cheap Airfares]

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