• Essential Things You Should Keep In Your Car

    Lifestyle

    If you’ve been driving for a couple of years, naturally your car becomes your second home. It’s seen the bad times like when you got that flat tire before your job interview and the good times like when went through the drive through and had your dinner in the car with a friend. All in all, because it’s your second home, there are some things you should always keep in your car…just in case!

    Owner’s manual
    It should be in your glove compartment at all times. It’s full of information and images that you’ll need in a car emergency.

    Jumper cables
    What’s worse than having a dead battery? A dead battery with no jumper cables! You can help yourself start your car or help someone else if their battery dies.

    Blanket
    You never know if you’ll have to spend a night in your car or even if you’ll have to drive a friend home after a long night. Either way, a blanket is always comfortable.

    A change of clothes
    It doesn’t have to be a full change of clothes. Maybe an extra shirt or top just in case you spill something, have to change a tire in the rain, etc.

    Flashlight
    It’s one of those things you should have everywhere.

    First aid kit
    Again, in times of emergency, it’s best to be prepared for any and everything!

    Water
    Water is life so it’s best to keep some handy in your car.

    “Emergency money”
    We’re not talking a large amount but some loose change is good to have in your car in case you’re short, need coins, have to tip someone, the list goes on and on.

    Tire changing supplies
    Even if you don’t know how to change a tire, at least you’ll be prepared! A spare tire, tire iron, lug wrench, tire jack and some WD-40 are all you need.

    A car-adapted phone charger
    We live in the digital age so let’s not pretend like it’s not a tragedy when our phone dies. Car chargers = life savers!

    Umbrella
    The trusty umbrella. Always overlooked but always needed!

    Paper towels
    These are one of those things that you will always use. Whether it’s cleaning a spill, wiping your windscreen, cleaning your hands, it’s always good to have a roll in the car.

  • 4 Eating Habits To Help Relieve Or Avoid Migraines

    Lifestyle Personal Care

    To those of you who suffer with migraines…you’re the real MVPs. A migraine is definitely not something to mess with. It’s excruciating pounding, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea, and even vomiting. However, as many migraine sufferers know, the headache can actually provide warnings in advance through things called auras. A wide range of things can trigger auras but what a lot of people have realized is that migraines can be brought on by how we eat. Here are 4 eating habits to help relieve your migraines.

    Say no to foods with hormones
    It’s hard to be careful with foods that contain hormones because unfortunately, a great amount of the things we consume are packed with them (That’s a totally different blog we’d have to get into). Things like meats–especially beef and dairy products contain hormones so it’s best to try to choose organic, fresh cuts of meat to avoid something called phosphoproteins. It’s a major trigger of migraines and other types of headaches so read your labels and try alternative options if you can.

    Go slow on the cold beverages
    Ever had a brain freeze? It turns out that there is a scientific name for it…”a cold stimulus headache”. Although the majority of the time it just gives a sharp pain right above your nose bridge that can last from 3 – 5 seconds and can be remedied by pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth, some researchers have concluded that brain freezes like these can actually trigger a migraine. Be sure to consume cold things slowly to avoid that sudden change in your body!

    Avoid simple carbs and processed sugar
    Large amounts of simple carbs like white sugar and pasta can cause migraines. Also, sugar is quite the culprit in causing migraines due to reactive hyperglycemia or a spike or plummet in your glucose.  What happens is your blood sugar rises and your body then produces extra insulin to break down the sugar thus causing your blood sugar levels to drop…dramatically! That sudden plummet of blood sugar can lead to headaches.

    Yes to water. No to caffeine.
    Dehydration causes headaches. That’s a no-brainer so not taking in enough water will greatly increase your risk of getting a migraine. However, if you’re a tea or coffee lover, you won’t like this next point. It’s best to avoid drinks like these because they contain a lot of sugar and caffeine, which are definite, without a doubt, triggers of migraines. Sorry!

    With all that said, how do you handle your migraines?

  • Buying a New Refrigerator? Here's How To Choose Your New Favourite Appliance

    How To Home

    Size Matters
    Measure the dimensions of where your new fridge will be placed in your space. It’s recommended that you leave a few inches around ALL sides of the unit to help with air circulation and well, for the doors to open fully so you can get those groceries in without any stress! Also, don’t forget to measure your doorway or any other access points where you’ll be bringing the fridge in. That includes height, width and yes, depth!

    What’s Your Type?
    So many types of fridges and so little time. Double doors, freezers on top, stainless steel, it’s a whirlwind of choice. The main thing to consider, believe it or not, is the freezer placement. You’ll see options with the freezer on top, on the bottom or on the side. All in all, it comes down to preference and how much you use a freezer. Do you freeze things often? Are you averse to bending or crouching to access your frozen goods? Give your fridge a test run in store and if you still can’t decide, the side-by-side freezer option is always a fan favourite!

    Let’s Talk Finish
    In a world where stainless steel has dominated the decorating community, you can still think about what finish fits best in your home. Although they’re sleek to look at, most complaints about stainless steel appliances come from the fact that they show fingerprints more and need special solutions to keep clean. You can also opt to go with a classic white fridge. They’re making a come back to give a minimalist finish to your kitchen. Again, the choice is yours!

    Features, of course!
    The features available in refrigerators these days are…crazy to say the least! Back in the day a fridge that had an ice and water dispenser on the outside was considered luxurious but that’s all in the past now. Through on going technology, you can find fridges with a built in speakers, coffee machines, touch screens, the list goes on and on! Now, you probably don’t need these features (as cool as they are) so sometimes it’s best to stick with the basics. The features you should actually be looking for aren’t the aesthetic ones on the outside but are on the inside. Things like temperature and humidity control buttons and air filtration will help keep your fridge lasting longer and more importantly are essential to keeping your food fresh! After all, the food is the most important!

  • 5 Things You Should Do On Sunday So Monday Morning Can Run Smoothly

    How To

    Ugh…Monday. Since the dawn of time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and cavemen wore suits heading into work every day, Monday has been a day of dread. Actually, the dread sometimes starts on Sunday evenings for some of us. Jokes aside, Monday’s aren’t ideal, especially if you’re in a high stress job or you know your week is going to be challenging. This is why we recommend these 5 things you should do on Sunday to help ease you into Monday. Ugh…Monday.

    Make a list
    That’s right. If you’re not into list making then take this advice as a mental note. Make a to-do list for Monday or the rest of the week, if you’re efficient enough, to help prep your mind for the days ahead. Think about what errands you have to run, pending tasks you have to complete, extra curricular things you have to take the kids to, etc. This way, when you wake up on Monday, you can grab your bag, coffee, sword and shield because you’ll know exactly how to tackle your day!

    Prep, prep, prep
    Meal prep. You may or may not have heard of it. If you’re a parent, you’ve definitely done the Sunday meal prep for the kids but don’t forget to prep for you as well. Take your time and cook a meal that can last longer than just Sunday lunch with the family and then portion it out into containers that you can take to work for lunch. You can also put together an easy breakfast on Sunday night like boiled eggs, fruit and granola or a packet of oats so you can just grab it and head out the door Monday. Of course we always advise that you sit and have a good, hearty breakfast but when it comes to the Monday rush, sometimes it’s inevitable.

    Plan your outfit
    This is really easy and you’d be surprised how much time it saves. Choose what you’re going to wear the night before. Have you ever woken up, realized you had an important meeting that day, wanted to wear your favourite shirt only to realize it’s still in the laundry? (Which is also a good point to add…Do laundry on Sunday!) Now you’re scrambling to find a new outfit and your Monday starts to feel like a whirlwind. Avoid the stress. Lay it out the night before and wake up with ease.

    Organize your bag
    Whether it’s your purse, your workbag or a gym bag, be sure to pack it on Sunday. Organize all your needed files, change of clothes, towels, pairs of shoes on Sunday and leave the bags by the door or foot of your bed so it’s easy to just pick up and head out.

    Do an email check
    Now we’re not saying do work on Sunday -heavens, no- but we are saying that it’s okay to do a quick email check so you don’t have to sift through them on Monday morning. We don’t recommend responding to any messages but just making a mental note or flag the ones you need to attend to as soon as you get in the office. It’s an easy exercise that’ll save you the peace of mind and time on Monday and chances are, you can do it from your phone whilst you’re watching TV and relaxing anyways.

  • Let’s Eat: 6 Tips For Planning Your Next Outdoor Dinner

    Event

    Simple table settings
    It’s more than likely that you’re having a low key, outside dinner party so it’s best to keep the table as simple as possible. Let the food be the main attraction and opt for white plates and simple cutlery. You can also skip the centerpieces because the idea is that you want your guests to talk to each other and pass the food with ease…not be looking past a giant vase to see each other.

    Get the lighting right
    Whether it’s stringing soft white, Christmas lights or investing in tea lights or small lamps, make sure that the light you choose gives off an ambient vibe. Tiki torches are also a good option to give off a large amount of light and can be used time and time again for other events!

    Ice is nice
    Make sure that you always have ice on hand in a watertight container. No one likes to eat outside and have to be going inside to top up on ice very 5 minutes. A nice metal bucket is a great thing to keep next to the dinner table.

    Music is key
    So you’re caught up in the food, the lighting, the setting but you’re still missing something. Music! Run an extension cord outside and play something mellow to match the atmosphere. Don’t turn up the volume too much because you still want people to interact without having to raise their voice. If after the meal you want to have a dance session, then you can crank it up!

    Bugs be gone
    Outside dinners mean one thing. Bugs. Always keep bug spray or citronella candles on hand because it’ll be no fun if your guests are biting into dinner and mosquitoes are biting them!

    Using the kitchen
    If you’re strapped for a big table or prefer your food piping hot, then it’s okay to utilize your kitchen. Make it the hub for people to serve themselves and then walk outdoors to sit and eat. Just be sure to keep all condiments and sauces on the table so people don’t have to get up again to dress their salads!

  • DIY Gallery Wall: A Great Way To Show Off Your Photos

    How To Decorating

    If you have a few pieces of art or photos of your family and friends that you want to put on display and you’re up for a simple and colourful DIY home project to tackle this weekend, then a gallery wall is for you! Check out how easy it is here:

    What you’ll need:

    • Damage-free adhesive hooks
    • Pencil
    • A level
    • Framed photos or pieces of art
    • Tape

    What to do:

    Decide on a layout
    Now the layout depends solely on your personal style. Are you more of a straightforward thinker? Then a simple circular arrangement might be for you. Are you more creative? Then you can try a spiral layout like the one below.

    Image via potterybarn

     

    Lay it out and place the hooks
    An easy trick that you can do, using a pencil and pieces of paper, is cut out the different shapes of your frames and stick them on your wall so you can see clearly where each piece is going. Once you’re satisfied, place your hooks and make sure everything is level! 

    Image via pbfingers

     

    Hang everything
    Hang your pieces, step back, and admire your reinvented wall! Don’t be afraid to experiment with colours, shapes and placement if you’re planning on creating another gallery wall in your home. Feel free to send us a photo of your DIY gallery wall on our Facebook or Twitter!

    Image via abeautifulmess

  • The Best Furniture Touches To Complete Your Home

    Decorating Home

    In your home you have the standard large pieces and appliances that you purchase like the fridge, the bed, the couch and so on. However, if life has taught us anything it’s that beauty is found in the little things. The magic of a beautiful coffee table or the functionality and added décor of a nightstand are examples of the fabulous finishing furniture touches (say that 3 times fast :D) you should invest in! Find pieces like these and more, online and in store, when you shop with us.

    Coffee Table
    Let’s start with an easy one, the coffee table. Think of a coffee table like a work of art that pulls your living room together in the middle. They can have a glass top to add a sleek and modern finish or they can be more solid for a functional feel. Either way, you can add some intriguing coffee table books or a vase and you’ll have an added piece of décor.

    Image via Pinterest

     

    Nightstand
    Nightstands add symmetry to your bedroom as well as extra storage for all the important things you need at arms reach like your glasses, a lamp, the book you’re reading, etc. Getting a matching nightstand set for your room frames your bed and makes it look extra cozy!

    Image via HGTV

     

    Desk
    Whether you work from home or your kids need a designated study space, a great looking desk fits the bill! You can opt for whichever material suits your home décor best and create a cozy and quiet space around it with rugs and bookcases for example.

    Image via cswt

     

    Bookcase
    Gone are the days when bookcases were just for books. Of course if you’re a book lover, you can stack your shelves with books galore but you can also use a bookcase as a form of decoration. Break up the books by adding your favourite pieces of art or vases to give it an off balanced, eclectic feel.

    Image via cubtab

    Chest of Drawers
    This is one of the more needed items in our post because some homes don’t come with enough cupboard space. A great, eye catching chest of drawers will help with storage and add another layer to your room. If you get one to match your bed frame, then you’re set!

    Image via intercon

  • Gather Round: How To Pick Your Next Dining Room Table

    Home

    Choosing any big-ticket piece of furniture for your home is a commitment (to say the least!). With factors to consider like style, shape, seating, comfort, colour, choosing a table can become a little confusing. Here are a few of our suggestions to help you when you head out to purchase your new dining room table.

    Start With Size
    You’ll want to start by measuring your dining area first to see how big or small your table needs to be. A good rule of thumb is to leave approximately 36 – 38 inches between your table and the wall so your guests have enough room to pull their chairs out. Another feature you can measure is the room between the seats themselves. You guests should have enough room to enjoy their dinner without bumping elbows!

     

    Move On To Shape

    Rectangular Tables: The traditional and always space friendly, rectangle table! These are great if you have a larger family because they offer the best comfort when it comes to seating.

    Round Tables: If you’ve got a small space, a round table is a great fit! They don’t have sharp corners and give a natural smoothness and flow to the room. Round tables also invite a close and intimate environment with guests because of the seating.

    Oval Tables: They’re just like round tables but don’t have as much of an intimate feel because of the oval shape. These are also an option if you like the feel of a round table but need more seating.

    Square Tables: The always modern square table is a fan favourite if you’re a fan of designing with symmetry. With a square table, everyone will be at an equal distance from one another thus inviting more conversation at your dinners!

     

    Think About Your Home Life
    Finally, you have to think about your life at home. Are you living alone? Do you have toddlers who like to paint on the furniture? Are you planning to decorate with a rustic or modern feel? Are you looking for something low maintenance? The last step to choosing a dining table is all on your and your personal taste for your home. Good luck shopping!

  • Creating The Perfect Home Office Space

    How To Home

    When you’re working from home, it’s not always about eating lunch whenever you want in your pajamas and daydreaming…well, not all the time anyways. :D If you’re working from home the best way to stay productive and not distracted is to have a designated workspace. Remember, your goal is not to make a dreary cubicle at home. Here are some tips to create the perfect home office space.

    Before you create the office space be sure to ask yourself questions like:

    • What type of work will I be doing?
    • Will clients be visiting the space?
    • When will I be doing the bulk of my work?
    • Will I be making video conference calls?

    Lighting
    If you have the opportunity to create your home office in a room that is flooded with natural light, take it! It will make the room feel lighter and you’ll have a window to add to your décor and look out of periodically.

    Supplies
    Think about how many pieces of equipment you’ll need like printers, routers, monitors, etc and map out how they will integrate into the space.

    Privacy
    You can’t be productive if you’re surrounded by distractions. When creating your home office, be sure that you think about your privacy so a room with a door or a room that is not too close to the main area of your home is essential. If you can’t avoid being in the thick of it, invest in a good pair of noise canceling headphones!

    Personality
    It’s an office space yes, but it doesn’t have to be dull. Be sure to decorate your space with things that motivate you. A good example would be framed photos of your family!

    No Clutter
    Just because you’re at home don’t get too comfortable in your space. Treat it just like the office and avoid letting too much clutter pile up. Set up storage spaces so your desk area or anything in your line of sight is clear.

  • 4 Simple One-Pot Recipes

    New Technology

    One-Pot meals are easy on your budget and cut down the clean up in your kitchen significantly! Check these recipes out for some inspiration for dinner tonight. If you try any of these or have one-pot recipes of your own, be sure to share them with us on the Courts Cook App! The download is FREE and it’s available on both Apple and Android.

    Apple download link:
    https://itunes.apple.com/tt/app/courts-cook-app/id1053947322?mt=8

    Android download link:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.unicomer.cookapp&hl=en

     

    Spanish Chicken and Potatoes
    This dish is perfect for those days when you feel like you need comfort food. Rich and hearty and healthy enough so don’t feel like it’s a cheat day!

    Full recipe here: http://pinchofyum.com/one-pot-spanish-chicken-potatoes

    Image via pinchofyum

     

    One-Pot Beef Lasagna
    Lasagna is a great meal to make if you need to feed a big family or would like leftovers for a good couple of days! Packed with beef and your favourite cheese, this one pot meal is a must.

    Full recipe here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/alvinzhou/heres-how-to-make-lasagna-in-a-skillet?utm_term=.gqw8ry9wk#.koOPKDRgZ

    Image via buzzfeed

     

    One-Pot Basil Shrimp Pasta
    Pasta is always a fan favourite to make because it’s easy and you can usually add almost any ingredient to make the perfect blend! Try this shrimp pasta recipe tonight and even if you aren’t feeling shrimp, swap it out for chicken or sautéed vegetables!

    Full recipe here: http://cookiesandcups.com/one-pot-shrimp-pasta/

    Image via cookiesandcups

     

    Smoky Tomato Lentil Soup With Spinach & Olives
    Lastly, we couldn’t forget an option for the vegetarians! Lentils are high in protein and let’s face it, are just amazingly delicious in any dish. This soup is a hearty and healthy option whether you’re a vegetarian or not!

    Full recipe here: http://www.isachandra.com/2013/03/smoky-tomato-lentil-soup-with-spinach-olives/

    Image via isachandra

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