April 12, 2014

Two Home Redos. The Gift that keeps on Giving.

SSovalcolor-w520-h320

Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life, home has become a personal refuge.  We live in a crazy world and our home should be our sanctuary.

Disorganization takes away from the tranquility of our personal space. Here are two upgrades that are sure please and calm.

Separate Laundry Room:

A well-organized laundry space is the “gift that keeps on giving”. You can enhance laundry room space by installing shelving and cabinetry surrounding the washer and dryer. It does not have to be expensive; it’s the perfect DIY project. Consider what can be stored in that space: laundry detergent, other household cleaners, an iron and an ironing board, towels, bedding, and of course, dirty laundry.Add bins or baskets for instant clothes sorting. A big enhancement, if there is room, is the addition of a rolling table for folding laundry or doing arts and crafts projects.

Smart Storage:

For smart storage I recommend dedicated towers or cubes for each member of the family even one for pets. Add names to them and place them near a widely used entrance. They are great for creating a convenient system for sorting jackets, backpacks, mail, keys and leashes.

“Manners”. Are they becoming a thing of the past!?

SSovalcolor-w520-h320

“Manners”
I have always thought of manners as something that was the general rule of the land, or so that was what I was taught. You ALWAYS show your manners in every situation! The word manners was never intended to be used but for the good… saying someone has bad manners is not correct, so you either have them or not. We can’t pick and choose what parts of having manners we want to live by….The definition of manners states bullet points to go by….
Truthfulness
Self-control
Kindness towards one’s fellow beings
Learning by listening to everybody
Knowing that human knowledge is never perfect
Avoiding open conflict wherever possible should not be considered weakness
The importance of justice and morality
And yes I know none of us are prefect but if we try to maintain an awareness of these bullet points , we are for sure to be  observed by others as having manners.
Remember manners are not to make you feel comfortable in a situation but to make those around you feel comfortable…. That my friend is a noble action, and what having manners is all about.

Sent from my iPad

Why We Love Our Gargoyles

Gargoyles… What was their purpose? Gargoyles have been around since the time of the Ancient Greeks. Many were erected on churches and expensive buildings of that era. Why would a church in particular put something so often considered grotesque, ugly and most of all frightening in the sense of representing evil? Well the arugement for the times was simple…these creature were placed there to ward off evil spirits. The idea was that demons would be frightened away. It was an attempt to create a scary looking creature to protect the building, Almost all gargoyles at that time were carved with their mouths open,  to appear to be devouring their enemies. It is also believed that because literacy was not an option for most people of this era, symbolism was a great means of communication. The churches believe that it was a way to appeal to non Christians who were accustomed to medieval beliefs of half human and animal. The resemblance to the Roman gods could perhaps bridge the church and Christianity to a long time belief in pagan images.

We are familiarized with the possible reasons for these mounted creatures. I now want to tell you that they also served a practical purpose… They were mounted at the end of the roof gutters to direct the rainwater away from the building walls and foundations. Hmmm, and interestingly enough the gargoyles mouth being open was the point at which the rain water was dispersed.  They were there to “protect the building” from the evils of water damage! Well for whatever reasons these creatures came into existence, I for one am glad that they became a part of the architecture that remain a fascination with us today… I have a gargoyle by my door, believing all the while he will protect my home , and maybe even invite a few people inside…

Keeping your Jack O Lantern Fresh.

halloween,pumpkins,fall,tips

halloween,pumpkins,fall,tipsHalloween is fast approaching and if you are anything like us here at Southern Smarts, we love to get festive with our pumpkin carving.

This is a great tip to keep your carved festive Jack O Lanterns fresh for weeks longer.

After you carve and clean the inside of your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water. You will use One teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water. The bleach will kill bacteria and help keep your pumpkin fresher longer.

Once completely dry add Two Tablespoons of vinegar and One Teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water.  Brush this solution onto your pumpkin on the inside and outside to keep it looking fresh for weeks.

We all wish you a happy and safe Halloween season!

Touching up Original Brick.

008-w520

There has been an ongoing problem for some of us that happen to own an old brick house. It’s called unwanted paint splatter from years, and sometimes decades of trim painting to preserve its wood exterior. Many of us prefer a brick exterior as it has been deemed far less maintenance in the long run and choose to not paint all the brick on our homes.

Here at Southern Smarts we have found a great, simple and economic solution to this dilemma and have avoided the costly and messy process of sandblasting.

On our latest project we decided to match the color of the brick to a paint chart from our local paint store. By applying the paint to the splattered surface it completely covers the damaged areas, and creates nice new lines.

Please view the photo’s to see the results from the “simple tip”.

BEFORE

AFTER

Standard or Counter Depth Refrigerator? A Tip.

Counter depth

After looking at trends the last couple of years, we have noticed Americans are downsizing their footprint. Builders have ceased building the 4000 sq foot spec home, and begun building smaller homes in their place. If you have been following, or visited Southern Smarts in the past you know we have featured many kitchen renovations on our site, big, small, and in between.

We have received many questions regarding refrigerators and space provided in your perspective kitchens. This can easily be overlooked. Depending on the location of your refrigerator, you may wish to look into a counter depth. They are a fantastic alternative to a standard size as they do not stick out past your countertops,  or stick out like a sore thumb in an otherwise streamlined new kitchen. They still provide ample cold storage for all of our everyday refrigerated items.

Hope this often, overlooked detail is helpful.

Happy renovating!

Steven

Fetch Sit and Stay. An Entrepreneur and Her Story.

5x7print Option 2 FetchSit DMB_4340-w520

Welcome aboard the flight path that is my life. During this trip, you might want to pull down your window shade, fasten your seatbelt or occasionally don your oxygen mask! I am almost 50 years old and am reinventing my life. Having lost both parents too early, battling thyroid cancer, filing bankruptcy and losing my house, this path has been both difficult and challenging. I have embraced the hard times; though, and am now putting the pieces back together and running a successful small business called FetchSitandStay, 1st Class Concierge.  I am the face of many in the year 2013. I am an entrepreneur.

 

After my career as a commercial flight attendant came to an end, I moved on to private flying. I adored the ability to “make it my own.” I wore many hats and had so much responsibility and I thrived in that environment. I was able to unleash my need to be creative as I planned my international flights, set up executive meetings, developed menus, stocked the aircraft and prepared amazing culinary delights at 40,000 feet. But then one day; with absolutely no notice, I was ushered into the office, told they were ‘downsizing’ and asked for my badges, keys and credit cards. That was it. It was over.

 

After sending out hundreds of resumes, it seemed my time as a corporate flight attendant had come to an end. After dealing with the initial shock of yet another huge loss in my life, I knew that I had to do something better. I decided to take everything that I loved about that world and try to create a business where I could do it all at ground level. And so, I became FetchSitandStay, 1st Class Concierge. I wanted to be a personal assistant to busy executives and extra hands for the moms who had to juggle activities with children in three different schools. I got my Realtor’s license so I could assist my friends who didn’t have time to put a for sale sign up at a new listing. I got my Certified Nursing Assistant License so I could offer senior care. I took some cooking classes to fill another need for private chef services. I took event planning courses so I could help with Charlotte’s posh party scene. I also started walking dogs.

 

I have been involved in animal rescue for years and have done fostering, transportation, donating, networking and fundraising. I have helped build a fence for a dog who had only known a chain. I have taken newborn kittens from one city to another so they would have a chance at a happy life with a willing rescue group. I have donated time and money and have tirelessly posted unwanted animals on social media networks to spread the word of their availability. I hosted a huge fundraiser recently and was able to give $500 each to 3 deserving local rescue groups. Animals are my passion and based on the calls I get, this is where the needs are in my community. Pets are like children and most people want to make sure their pets are well-cared for even in hard economic times. For many, boarding is not an option and FetchSitandStay is the answer. What makes our company different, is that we stay in your home while you are away and not just from 9pm-6am like most. We are there, keeping your babies comfortable in their own environments, giving them the ability to stay in their normal routines and giving them lots of love and attention. We also offer daily visits and mid-day potty breaks and dog walks.

 

As my friends know, I have a hard time wrapping anything up and giving it an ending. My life is like that. It’s an on-going story of take-offs, cruises at altitude and sometimes rough landings. But I always land on my feet and start running again. Only now, I usually have a dog attached.

Stephanie Wade

 

www.fetchsitandstay.com

 

 

 

 

Southern Smarts Commitment to Entrepreneurs

SSovalcolor-w520-h320

It is with great pride we begin this new path here at Southern Smarts. As many of you know the major focus of Southern Smarts is “simple living for simpler times’. Unless one has been living under a rock, we have recognized the economy has been sluggish at best. Millions of people have found their lives changed forever and most look for exciting and innovative ways to recover.  An important segment of society that has been hit particularly hard is the 40-65 year old range. Through Corporate downsizing, and changing opportunities we are finding ourselves in the unique position of reinvention. companies no longer recruit in a traditional way. Older hiring practices have become obsolete. How can a group of educated, hardworking, and sensical potential employees become the work force of the future? How can this group highlight their skills, and share their many talents? Ultimately, how can this important group blow through many superficial barriers, and do what they do best?

This unique group has inspired Southern Smarts to focus on the “New Entrepreneurs”. These folks are taking their lives in new directions by starting new businesses and giving opportunities to themselves and others. It takes courage to switch gears anytime in life, let alone towards midlife. Many of us had planned, focused, and worked hard for many years to reach success and secure our futures, and we can do it again!

In the future, we will highlight people who have become a little older, and a lot wiser. They have faced huge challenges, and transformed them into something personally and economically rewarding.  We would love to hear your stories, and hope you enjoy all we have to share.

Southern Smarts will now be featuring a new Entrepreneur every two weeks that are making a difference and creating new lives for themselves and their communities. We certainly hope their stories will help promote their businesses and give hope to those that are trying to embark on their own path.

We encourage all our readers to please let us know if they or someone they know would like to be featured . We are so excited to be starting this new path and look forward to hearing from all of you. You may visit our FB page and comment or send us a private message regarding a featured entrepreneur. Stay tuned to hear about Stephanie Wade, our first featured entrepreneur.

Have a fantastic Day!

Steven Chaberek, Southern Smarts.

Onions. Myth or Legend.

005-w520

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu… Many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many died.
The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.
Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser. She said that several years ago, many of her employees were coming down with the flu, and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.
Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions:
Thanks for the reminder. I don’t know about the farmer’s story…but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia, and, needless to say, I was very ill… I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put it into an empty jar, and place the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs…sure enough it happened just like that…the onion was a mess and I began to feel better.
Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties.
This is the other note. Lots of times when we have stomach problems we don’t know what to blame. Maybe it’s the onions that are to blame. Onions absorb bacteria is the reason they are so good at preventing us from getting colds and flu and is the very reason we shouldn’t eat an onion that has been sitting for a time after it has been cut open.
LEFT OVER ONIONS ARE POISONOUS
I had the wonderful privilege of touring Mullins Food Products, Makers of mayonnaise. Questions about food poisoning came up, and I wanted to share what I learned from a chemist.
Ed, who was our tour guide, is a food chemistry whiz. During the tour, someone asked if we really needed to worry about mayonnaise. People are always worried that mayonnaise will spoil. Ed’s answer will surprise you. Ed said that all commercially-made mayo is completely safe.
“It doesn’t even have to be refrigerated. No harm in refrigerating it, but it’s not really necessary.” He explained that the pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in that environment. He then talked about the summer picnic, with the bowl of potato salad sitting on the table, and how everyone blames the mayonnaise when someone gets sick.
Ed says that, when food poisoning is reported, the first thing the officials look for is when the ‘victim’ last ate ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). Ed says it’s not the mayonnaise (as long as it’s not homemade mayo) that spoils in the outdoors. It’s probably the ONIONS, and if not the onions, it’s the POTATOES.
He explained onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion.. He says it’s not even safe if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator.
It’s already contaminated enough just by being cut open and out for a bit, that it can be a danger to you (and doubly watch out for those onions you put in your hotdogs at the baseball park!). Ed says if you take the leftover onion and cook it like crazy you’ll probably be okay, but if you slice that leftover onion and put on your sandwich, you’re asking for trouble. Both the onions and the moist potato in a potato salad, will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down.
Also, dogs should never eat onions. Their stomachs cannot metabolize onions.
Please remember it is dangerous to cut an onion and try to use it to cook the next day, it becomes highly poisonous for even a single night and creates toxic bacteria which may cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.

Deck+Stain=COLOR!

deck stain-w520

I know. Everyone dreads having to stain or restain their decks.  We recently had to tackle this project while creating a new outdoor living space for ourselves.  I don’t know about you, but we have tired of the myriad of browns that are available.

Upon searching for a stain for our deck project, we were happy to find color as an option.  The  green we chose set up a beautiful green blue hue that created quite a wow factor in the yard, and harmonized beautifully with nature. It also gave us the opportunity to use the color for accent pieces on our outdoor furniture, and inspired some beautiful container gardens.

So, next time you have to stain a dreary deck, think color!