• 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.

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    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.
  • Creating A Workout Space In Your Home

    Exercise Decorating Home

    Starting the healthy lifestyle can be hard and adjusting to having a new routine in your life (if you’re just starting out) can be a little daunting. Do you go running? Do you join the gym? Do you workout at home? What’s really in a green smoothie? Most times it’s about finding what works for your schedule so you stay motivated. If you choose to exercise at home, (for starters, congratulations!) you have to stay motivated. It’s easy to say you’re going to workout at home and end up binge watching TV instead. What you’ll need is a designated space to get your sweat on. Here’s how you can create a workout area in your home that won’t take away from your space.

    Choose a space
    Firstly, choose the space where you’ll be working out. Choosing this can depend on how big the space is, ventilation, accessibility and overall comfort. We suggest the living room because of its central location in most homes and generally it’s the biggest space to utilize.

    Get a good rug
    A good rug enhances your space and if you’re using an exercise mat for yoga or stretching, it’ll give you that extra cushioning underneath. When you’re done, roll up the mat and leave the rug so your space looks just as before.

    Use storage
    You’re working out so you might have exercise equipment. That’s a given. Keep your workout essentials like dumbbells, resistance bands, foam rollers, etc concealed by using storage. Things like wicker baskets can be used to hide any equipment you toss into it and still have your space looking tidy. You’ll have your equipment on hand without it ever being seen.

    Get some inspiration
    The worst thing to happen when you start to workout is that you lose motivation. What you can do to your space is surround yourself in an inspiring environment by hanging wall art with an inspirational saying or painting an accent wall in a red or orange tone to help energize the space.

    Shop around for a good accent chair
    An accent chair isn’t just a focal point in your space or extra seating. It can also be used as a workout prop. Things like pistol squats or incline pushups use elevation and an accent chair can give you just that.

    Think about time
    You’ll probably set a timer on your phone for how long you plan to workout but why not just do it the old fashion way? Invest in a beautiful clock to hang in your space so you can open up your walls and still keep time. Plus, simultaneously checking the time and playing music on your phone can get a little confusing.

    Tell us, what workout will you take on today?

  • Tips On How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Appliances

    Cleaning How To

    Stainless steel appliances…so sleek and so modern but what about those times when they don’t look fresh out of the store because they’re covered in fingerprints, water stains, grease, and smudges? Suddenly, your shiny appliance looks a little…tired. Once you begin to throw your appliances into the routine of every day life, you also have to throw in the clean up. Luckily, the right cleaning method can be used to salvage the steel and make it shine. Check out our tips on how to clean your stainless steel appliances.

    Use the right cleaner
    Hold just a minute before you reach for a random cleaner from under the kitchen sink. Stainless steel is tricky to clean and general cleaners can leave you with a streaky or cloudy finish. No-no. Stay away from anything with chlorine, bleach or other acidic components because these may leave you with more streaks than you started with.  When you buy your appliance, ask the store clerk to recommend a cleaner for you (after all, they do clean the appliances in the show room) and sometimes they may even sell the cleaner in store.

    Glass cleaner is okay
    New stainless steel tends to come with a bright sheen and strong protective coating that you’ll likely want to preserve. As a result, the best option for cleaning new surfaces is to use a traditional glass cleaner like Windex. This gets rid of the smears and keeps the steel’s mirror-like appearance.

    Get rid of food stains
    You know those sticky, hard to get off stains that the kids leave on your fridge doors? Put a spoonful of detergent in a large basin or jar of water and use the soapy mixture on the affected area. Then, wipe off and dry well to avoid any pesky water stains. You can also use DIY things like olive oil to help keep shine and stains away in a pinch.

    Hard water stains or scale have got to go
    Hard water and scale problems are where things get tough for stainless steel. The best thing to use is a vinegar compound. Add a half-cup of vinegar to a bottle of water and apply to the area. Depending on how tough the stain is, you can add more vinegar. When using this method, don’t scrub too hard because you don’t want to damage the surface.

    Pick the right cloth
    Stay away from anything rough like scrubbers, steel wool, and rough brushes because these will damage the steel. Use softer pads or an absorbent, microfiber cloth.

    General upkeep is the way
    You’re going to have to clean your appliances so do it regularly so too much gunk doesn’t build up and give you a harder time to remove. For best results, use our tips above and remember to wait until the appliance is cool before starting any buffing (So no cleaning the outside of the stove right after you’ve used it!).

  • Tips For Getting Into A Back To School Routine

    How To

    Organize the house
    There are a few areas of your home that can be organized to better serve you during the school year. Trust us, these little changes can be huge! Things like a designated homework space are great to start creating in the days before school begins. Pick a corner of your home and make sure it has supplies, chairs and a clock. Get the kids to help decorate it so when the homework starts rolling in, they’ll know where they’re going to handle it.

    Get the anxiety out of the way
    New school years mean heading into a new class or starting at a new school and the latter can be quite scary for kids no matter how old they are. You can help quell some of their nerves by speaking positively about the experience and visiting the school ahead of time, if possible, so they can get familiar with the new space. Chances are there won’t be as many tears on the first day if you do!

    Remember the first day
    Prep for the first day. This means showing kids what they’ll be wearing, how to pack their bags, and handling any extra reading their teacher’s may have given them. Come the first day, the only thing you’ll have to worry about it taking a great “back to school” photo!

    Plan for extra curricular activities
    If you’re planning for the kids to start a sport or take on extra lessons, then plan ahead and give them a good pep talk about time management. Make sure they have all the equipment, uniforms or extra supplies they’ll need and create a separate bag so things don’t get mixed up with their every day school supplies.

    Bed time and waking up
    Vacation time means staying up late and waking up late but when it’s coming down to back to school, this unfortunately has to change. You’ll have to start slowly putting everyone to bed earlier and waking up earlier so on the first day, no one flies out of bed groggy and disoriented!

    Roll with it
    The best advice we have after all of this? Roll with it. No morning will be the same and no first day can truly be planned so go with the flow, stay positive, have fun and parents, welcome back to the routine!

  • How To Clean Hard To Reach Places In Your Home

    Cleaning Home

    It’s no surprise that the hard to reach places in your home get neglected when you’re cleaning...That’s a no brainer. But because they’re hard to reach it doesn’t mean they can’t be cleaned. Here’s how you can get to those tricky spots easily.

    Shower Tracks
    Scrubbing the shower on your hands and knees is already a task but scrubbing the shower tracks? It just seems too time consuming and difficult. What you can do is take a paper towel soaked in vinegar and sit it on the track for 30 minutes before scrubbing the grime away with a small brush.

    Faucet Crevices
    A lot of mildew and bacteria builds up in your faucet crevices. Luckily, an old toothbrush can help this. Use warm water and soap and give your faucet a little scrub. It’ll be a deep clean!

    Car Details
    All the indented crevices and small corners of your car collect grime and bacteria. Use Q-Tips to rub off debris in these hard to reach places until no more gunk is visible.

    Narrow Blinds
    Blinds can be saved! If you’ve got a pair of tongs, all you have to do is take a cloth and use some rubber bands to secure it to the tongs. Then run them across the blinds. Easy fix!

    Keyboard
    Cleaning your keyboard keys is as easy as…a sticky note! Fold it in half, stick side out, and run it through the cracks on your keyboard. It’ll pick up any surface dust and grime!

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