• 5 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Home

    Exercise

    Was your resolution to get fit this year but you’re not feeling the gym scene? No worries. We’ve got various pieces of exercise equipment and accessories to help you maintain your new healthy lifestyle without having to pay for that pricey gym membership. Pair these simple exercises with a revamped diet, as well as adding in other moves, to help give you a full body workout.

    Plank
    The plank and side plank are a standard full body strength workout. The most common one is the forearm plank; place your forearms on the ground with elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to your body at about shoulder-width distance. You can leave your palms flat facing or clasp your hands together. Keep your core tight while breathing normally. Hold this position for 30 seconds. You can gradually add more time the longer you workout.

     

     

    Fitness Ball – Abs
    Exercise balls are great for building balance and strength. For abs, lie on the ball with your middle back resting on top, arms straight, and palms on your upper thighs. Then, slowly curl your upper body forward, keeping your hands on your thighs and your back straight. Avoid curling your chin into your neck. Then slowly lower to the starting position. You can do this 15 times.

     

     

    Squats
    The basic squat works wonders on your legs, butt and core. Start by standing as tall as you can with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, so that they’re parallel to the floor. Keep your torso as upright as you can for the entire movement, with your lower back slightly arched. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Like you’re going to sit on an imaginary bench behind you. Hold, and then push yourself back to the starting position. You can do 15 to 20 times.

     


    Burpees

    Talk about the old school workout. To do a basic burpee, begin in a standing position. Ready? Burpees generally follow 4 basic steps. 1. Sink into a low squat with both hands on the floor, placed just outside your feet. 2. Kick your feet straight back and land on your toes so that you're in a plank position. 3. Jump your feet back between your hands. Keep your abs tight and tuck your body back into your squat. 4. Now reach up and push off into a vertical jump. Make sure your burpees are fluid but controlled. Remember your breathing. You can start with 6 to 8 burpees and work their way up in both speed and number.


     

    Incline Push Up
    Use your couch or a bench to do these. Get into the push-up position, but place your hands placed on a raised surface like the couch, stairs, a chair, etc. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. Start your pushup and let your upper arms dip below your elbows. Hold and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. When you become a pro at these, you can move to the floor for the maximum pushup workout. You can do these 12 to 15 times.

  • 8 Healthy Food Replacements To Try This Year

    Food
    1. Instead of Rice: Provisions or Quinoa

    Rice is a staple in most meals but white rice is a refined starch that has a high glycemic index making it a not so great food if you’re watching your weight. Consider eating provisions as a substitute or quinoa. Both are high-protein, high-fiber and if you can’t give up rice cold turkey, you can always take a smaller step to brown rice.

    1. Instead of Soda: Tea or Water

    Soft drinks are definitely an easy thing you can replace from your day-to-day life. The sugar is highly refined and basically invisibly AND the average 20oz bottle has about 16 teaspoons of the stuff! Try tea or water as a substitute. You can even try coconut water, which still has sugar but is better for your system and caloric intake.

    1. Instead of Cookies: Homemade Granola

    C is for cookie but it might not be good enough to eat a lot of them anymore. Keep the cookie jar empty for a bit and opt for granola (homemade if you can manage it). Remember, if you’re buying granola from the grocery, be sure to also check out the excess sugars from dried fruit that can sneak up on you. Check your labels guys!

    1. Instead of Mayo: Avocado or Pesto

    Some people can’t get enough mayo. It’s on sandwiches, mixed into a condiment, in salads, the list goes on and on. Although it's delicious, it’s not great for you because of the saturated fats. Try cutting it out entirely or using avocado as a spread. The similarity in texture and heightened taste might surprise you!

    1. Instead of Caramel Corn: Popcorn

    But popcorn is a snack…right? Well yes. Regular popcorn is actually a pretty great snack when you’re feeling to cheat on your diet but still have some fun. The trick is to stay away from caramel popcorn, oh the sugar, and the extra buttery kind.

    1. Instead of Candy Bars: Dark Chocolate

    Before you protest, we’re not kicking out chocolate for good! Heavens no. But we are tossing out candy bars. All the extra nougat, caramel, marshmallow, milk has got to go. Try dark chocolate bars or cacao nibs instead. They’re stuffed with the same goodness and the benefits of dark chocolate are scientifically proven!

    1. Instead of Ice Cream: Sorbet

    Ice cream is quite the sneaky unhealthy snack that is craved by the masses. If you can’t give up your sweet tooth, just replace the milky ice cream with sorbet. It’s fruity, refreshing and comes in a wide range of flavours. Your body will thank you, especially if you’re lactose intolerant.

    1. Instead of White/Wheat Bread: Many Things!

    Oh bread. We love you so but white bread, you’ve got to go! See what we did there? Bread, both white and wheat, usually have been stripped of most fiber and nutrients so you’re not eating as healthy as you think most of the time. The best thing is to cut down on bread fully but in the meantime, try substituting it here and there for things like corn tortillas, lettuce wraps, eggs, sweet potatoes or cauliflower to create healthier meals and still get your fiber intake.

  • Home Must Haves If You Have A Big Family

    Home

    Does your family remind you of the Mc Callisters in Home Alone? A big family means a lot of compromise, respect for spaces, responsibility and of course, tons of fun but how to buy for your extra large family unit? Here are our home must haves if you have a larger than life family.

    Big, mounted TV
    Big family = Big TV? We would say so. For all those special requests (who wants to watch the news, who wants to watch a movie, etc) get a TV that can handle your family’s entertainment needs. We would also suggest having it mounted. If you’ve got a lot of kids in your family, we don’t want an accident happening and ruining the fun for the household.

    Multi-functional furniture
    Multi-functional furniture is a big family’s best friend. Large sofa with detachable pieces, sofa beds/futons, coffee tables with extra storage and entertainment units are what you’re looking for. Things than can save space and offer storage are definitely worth it.

    Bunk beds
    A big family with lots of little ones means limited sleeping space. If you don’t have the rooms, make the space instead. Bunk beds are a great way to save space and money. Plus, the kids will totally enjoy fighting for who gets to sleep up top.

    A good-sized fridge
    Oh boy...if you’ve for a big family, you probably have a big grocery bill. Get a fridge that can stand up to wear and tear as well as keep up with all the meats, vegetables, snacks and more that you have to buy. Look into our stainless steel options for durability and size options.

    Dining table
    The family that eats together stays together. Luckily we have dining sets ranging from 7 pieces to 9 pieces! That should be enough seating we think but if you need more, we’ve also got stools so you can improvise extra seating on a whim.

  • 25 Great New Year’s Resolutions That Aren’t Joining A Gym

    Lifestyle

    Raise your hand if you’re tired hearing the age-old resolution that people are going to join the gym? Phew, it’s not just us. As much as we are all for fitness being a staple in your life, it gets old every January 1st when the gyms are packed with people for 2 week straight. (We do have a lot of exercise equipment options if you want to work out at home and save some cash). Here’s our list of 25 resolutions you can try instead. They’re all pretty great!

    1. Cook a different recipe every month
    2. Read a book
    3. Grow a vegetable garden
    4. Save more from your pay cheque
    5. Make a good night’s rest a priority
    6. Use your phone less
    7. Listen more
    8. Get a hobby like photography
    9. Nurture your relationships
    10. Drink more water
    11. Travel more
    12. Learn a language, even at a basic level
    13. Learn a party trick
    14. Say yes or no more depending on your personality
    15. Spend more time outside
    16. Find a charity/charities to donate to
    17. Print and hang more pictures
    18. Take on a side gig for some extra cash
    19. Find a long-term goal to work towards like buying a car
    20. Start a new tradition with your friends or family
    21. Teach yourself something you never learned growing up like riding a bike
    22. Take more short videos of your life
    23. Cut out a bad habit like smoking or nail biting
    24. Try to be tidier
    25. Smile more
  • 6 Ways To Get Your Home In The Christmas Spirit

    How To Home

    Begin the Christmas cleaning
    If you live in a Caribbean household, then you know about the Christmas cleaning tradition. Start unpacking those cupboards and taking down the house in preparation for the big clean! And who can forget a fresh coat of paint?

    Hang wreaths and lights
    Dust off the decorations and start hanging them up. Nothing says Christmas quite like an overdose on glitter, décor and…lights! Don’t forget the outside of your home when you’re decorating. You can also make your own wreath if you’re feeling crafty!

    Turn up the music
    What’s Christmas without the music? No matter what tune makes you move, bring out the radio and turn up the volume. Your home will be filled with the joy of Christmas in no time.

    Light candles
    Specialty Christmas candles are going to be everywhere. Light some candles for extra special scents in your home and to also bring a softer light, which in turn makes your space feel cozier and more Christmas-like. Although, is there any better smell than when you’re cooking your favourite Christmas dish?

    Begin prepping Christmas favourites
    Speaking of food, shout out your favourite Christmas dish! Whether it’s homemade bread, sorrel, garlic pork, ham, eggnog, fruitcake, whatever…once you start prepping, baking and tasting these foods, your kitchen is officially ready for Christmas!

    Put up the tree
    Get the family together and put up the Christmas tree. That one’s a no brainer!

  • Dear Santa: Courts Christmas Gift Guide 2017

    Lifestyle

    What matters most at Christmas time? GIFTS! Sorry, we got a little excited. Of course we know Christmas isn’t about material things but if you are buying gifts for special people in your life, you can check out this Courts Christmas gift guide.

    Turn Up The Tech

    These are great gifts year round so it’s not surprise that tech is on our list. TV’s laptops, phones and audio systems are our picks for that geek in your family.
    1

    Ho-Ho-Home Furnishings

    Thinking about giving furniture this season? No problem! It’s our specialty. Things like recliners, love seats or accent chairs make great gifts and if you want something more wow, then we’ve got sets too! If that’s too big for your budget, try home accents; throws, lamps, plants and rugs are all special gifts to give.

    7  

    There’s An Appliance For That

    Ah appliances. You really can’t go wrong. Impress mom and dad with a large appliance surprise like that fridge they’ve had their eye on. Or, give someone’s kitchen an extra boost with a small appliance. Blenders, coffee makers, nutribullets, and will blow them away!

     2 

    The Gift Of Choice

    We’d never discount the gift card. Sure, some people think it’s impersonal to give a gift card but we say it’s shopping smart. Give them exactly what they want and check out our gift cards!

     gift card

  • 7 Tips To Order a Healthy Meal At Any Restaurant

    How To Food

    Step away from the burger and fries! (If you want to that is) Here are our tips and tricks on how to order a healthy meal at any restaurant you go to because let’s face it…restaurants looooove butter and your heart might not.

    1. Start off with a soup or salad. Starting your meal with a healthy appetizer means you’ll eat less during the rest of your meal. Veggies are always great and if you go for soup, be sure to choose one with a clear broth as the thicker ones are usually packed with cheese.
    1. If a restaurant gives out bread, try to pass on it. We know it’s hard because well…it’s bread but it’s not the best thing to fill up on anyways.
    1. Be on the lookout for the word "crispy" as it’s usually a code for “fried in batter”.
    1. If you’re looking for keywords, look for “grilled”, “baked”, “broiled” or “roasted”. These cooking methods don't have a ton of added fat, so these dishes tend to be healthier.
    1. Look for lean cuts of meat. Strip steak, chicken breast, etc are better for your health. Skip on fatty pieces of meat like pork to avoid extra grease.
    1. Try sharing more. A lot of restaurants serve way too much food and sure, it’s good value for money in most cases but that value does not translate to your health. Try sharing a main dish after you’ve had your appetizer. You’ll get the right portion of food needed so you won’t feel stuffed and you’ll save money.
    1. Check, if you can, a restaurant’s menu beforehand. This way if you’re really feeling health conscious, you can decide what you're going to order and check out the nutritional value, leaving all that second guessing at home.
  • How To Buy The Right TV For Your Home

    Home New Technology

    This is one of our favourite things to write about…time to pick a TV! You would think well it's a TV so the bigger the better right? Not so much. Getting the right TV for your space and lifestyle takes a little more planning...then again. If you want to go bigger, there's nothing wrong with that either. Treat yourself! Here are our tips on how to buy the right TV for your home.

    Take measurements
    So you’ve decided on the location (bedroom or living room we’re assuming?). Now you have to take measurements; measure the height, width, and depth for that soon to be TV spot. It’s good to remember it’s not just about the screen size but the entirety of the TV itself. Why? Well, for example, some 55-inch TVs are larger than others and you end up asking yourself how you got the measurement wrong. A go-to move when shopping would be to look at the TV’s dimensions for a concrete answer as to whether it will fit.

    Where is it going?
    This is also size related. If you’re not mounting the TV, think about the size of the stand. Many of today’s TV’s have feet at the far edges so you need to also take that into consideration and find a TV that fits your stand or vice versa.

    Where will you be watching the TV from?
    Ah yes, the ultimate question. There is a simple calculation that you can do on your own. Measure the distance from your seat to the TV in inches and multiply by 0.84. That should give you the ideal screen size. However, this isn’t always going to be accurate, the average living room can comfortably have at least a 50-inch TV.

    What will you be watching?
    This is a good question. With the introduction of Smart TVs about 1,000 years ago, it's good to know if your space/family needs one. Think about how often you stream movies or how connected you want your home to be and then you can decide if a Smart TV is right for you.

    Pixel quality
    The bigger the TV, the more you’ll probably have to sacrifice some picture quality. It’s best to balance size with the picture quality for long-term watching enjoyment. Keep

    In the end, you can buy whatever TV your heart desires but do think about some of these tips so your space doesn’t look unbalanced and your eyes aren’t strained.

  • How To Stay On Budget When Upgrading Your Space

    DIY How To Decorating Home

    At Courts, we’re all about value for money. There’s no reason your home can’t feel cozy, inviting and stylish without emptying your bank account. Champagne taste on a budget is an achievable goal you just have to know how to choose the items for your home…so step away from those eye-burning, outrageously crazy Pinterest board ideas. You can pull inspiration from them but still shop smart. Check out our tips on how to stay on budget when shopping for your home.

    Get good lighting
    Lighting is probably the most cost-effective way to transform a dreary room into a warm inviting space. Buy affordable, decorative lamps to give off soft light (and save on your electricity bill) and open your space to a new light.

    Clear the clutter
    Organizing your home makes the most difference, seriously, and it cost nothing. It's almost like a dramatic makeover. When you clear the clutter, your space instantly feels revamped and lighter. But don't forget to keep up with the cleaning! To keep your home clutter-free, consider adding some extra storage. Bookcases and shelving are the perfect for storage that is stylish and remember the 6-month rule; if you haven't used it in 6 months, it's okay to go ahead and toss it out.

    Buy versatile pieces
    Check out sales for flexible and versatile pieces like ottomans or chairs. It'll add extra seating to your space and give your space a new focal point.

    Be wise and accessorize
    When decorating on a budget, accessories are your saving grace. Add a pop of colour and some personality when you shop around for second hand or even newer accessories. Things like rugs, throw pillows, books, etc cost little but make a great impact.

    Roll with it
    Paint, paint, paint. A fresh coat of paint on an accent wall can do wonders to lift your home from the dark slumps. Find a colour that fits your style or even goes with the decor in the room and splash one wall with it. An accent wall is easy to do and it won't cost you a lot in gallons of paint. You'll see a huge difference instantly.

    Think one at a time
    If you're looking for a huge transformation on a budget, the key is to think long-term. Handle things one at a time and budget yourself so you don;t overspend. Pick the most important spaces in your home, assess how they can be rearranged or changed and plan your decorative attack! We suggest going with commonly used rooms like the living room to give you a jumpstart.

  • Time To Log Off: 5 Easy Ways To Unplug

    How To

    There comes a time when we all just need to unplug. The digital universe we’re immersed in can really bog us down mentally and it’s good to step back and reconnect on a different level. Here are our 6 creative ways you can unplug and feel more balanced in your life.

    1. Pick up a book
      Books aren’t just for school and then you toss them out the window. Well, you can toss the textbooks. Investing in a book is one of the best ways to unwind from a stressful workday and let’s face it the options are endless. You can look for a new read or even revisit one that you enjoyed before.
    2. Take a walk or run
      When you finally pull yourself off that office chair and get home to relax, usually we check the messages we may have missed on social media during the day. Trust us, those messages aren’t going anywhere and chances are, they probably aren’t that important. Skip the scrolling and opt for a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous run to clear your mind. When you get back, you can give your phone a look through.
    3. Get a cookbook
      We love having everything online, even cookbooks! But we also can’t deny the joy of opening a physical cookbook and flipping through the pages to see what recipe we’ll attempt tonight. Skip Google and get yourself a cookbook so you can cook the way Granny intended. Although, we know she probably didn’t need a cookbook at all.
    4. Go away for the weekend
      If you have the opportunity (and the extra funds), take a digital break and get away for the weekend. Plan a small trip, a beach run, a picnic, a visit to relatives, etc. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you make the effort to stash your devices away for the majority of the time. We would never suggest leaving them at home all together for safety reasons.
    5. Go back in time electronically
      Your phone holds everything you need from the basics to the complicated. Try going back in time and picking up an actual camera or video game console. You don’t have to go as far back as developing film but you can have some fun and may even find a new hobby in the process.
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