If you’re considering buying a sauna for your home there are a few things you can get figured out to direct your purchase in the right direction. Most people are interested in getting a traditional sauna style, which essentially consists of a room made of wood and a heater, usually electric, topped with rocks. If you want to create steam in the room you can pour some water on the rocks once they come up to temperature. Go easy though, a little bit of water goes a long way in driving the humidity in the sauna through the roof.

Another thing that you could consider is going with an infrared sauna. They are often quite a bit cheaper than the traditional style saunas, though they do operate a bit differently. You can learn just about everything there is to know about them in MBISR’s helpful home sauna guide. You’ll have to decide if this alternative design is right for you, because if you’re a sauna aficionado you may want something that is a bit more authentic.

For the most hardcore sauna lovers among us, the one arguably supreme option remains. That option is the outdoor barrel sauna. These are about as real of an experience as you can get, and you can have quite a few friends join you if you get a larger one. If you equip it properly they can get quite warm and they can do so quickly. These are definitely not for the faint of heart though, because to use them you’ll most likely have to make a trek outdoors – regardless of whether its spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Let’s just make the assumption for now though that you’re going to choose a fairly straightforward home sauna as we’ve all come to know and expect, as that’s what most people will end up buying just based purely on statistics. If this is the case you’re going to have a few big decisions to make. Try approaching them in the following order as they are prioritized by importance.

First of all, how big is your sauna going to be? Is it just going to be for your personal use? Are you going to spend your time in the sauna with your spouse? Do you want to have friends and family join you too? Generally, at least a two-person sauna is recommended. The exceptions would be if you want something particularly large to accommodate lots of people or if you need something particularly small due to space constraints or something similar.

The other major thing you’re going to want to nail down is the type of wood you go for. Many saunas out there are manufactured from hemlock or cedar, and many people feel that this is superior wood. However, do keep in mind that the odors from these types of wood are quite pungent, and they only get more intense as the sauna heats up. Oftentimes it’s recommended that you go with a type of wood with a neutral odor like pine. You’ll have to pick whatever best suits your preferences.

One last thing to keep in mind is that when you finally get your sauna home you’re probably going to need to work with a professional electrician, as most of the standard saunas require a 220V power supply. The main exception here is with the infrared saunas, which can often just plug into a standard wall outlet. Good luck with your sauna purchase, and I wish you many hours of relaxing and undisturbed sauna time.

Snow Blower Maintenance Basics

The nice weather brings about the perfect time to give your trusted snow blower some much-needed attention. It’s easy to forget or neglect basic maintenance tasks in the depths of winter when it’s often cold, dark, and overwhelmingly coated with snow. In those cases, you mostly want to get outside to clear your driveway and your sidewalk and scurry back inside where it’s warm and cozy as quickly as possible.

The fact is, we rely heavily on our snow blowers to do their job when it counts. We owe it to them to make sure they have what they need to get the job done, and what better time to do it when you can actually stand to be outside for a minute. So whether it’s your first time giving your snow blower the attention it deserves or you’re just looking for a quick brush up on the best practices take these tips into account when you get ready to pull your sleeves up and get down to it.

Change the Oil

If you have a bit of experience with engine maintenance then this step should be pretty straight forward. Regardless, it’s one of the most important maintenance tasks to perform if you want your snow blower to keep running for years to come. You’ll want to drain all of the dirty oil out into an empty can, which you can bring to most garages for disposal. Then just replace it with high-quality motor oil of the correct type. Consult your owner’s manual for the right motor oil for your snow blower.

Check the Spark Plug

Gasoline engines require an energy source to start the combustion cycle, and this is almost always generated with a spark plug. Over time though the spark plug will corrode and will begin to function sub-optimally and eventually not at all. When you’re storing your snow blower always unplug the spark plug, but since you’re at it now take the time to inspect and replace it if necessary. They’re relatively affordable and will save you quite the headache.

Check the Shear Pin

Shear pins connect the snow blower’s auger to the drive shaft, ensuring that the blower can effectively break up and throw the snow. The point of a shear pin is to be the weak link in the chain should a jam occur, whether from a rock, a big stick, or a heavy load of snow. If your shear pin has broken then blower simply won’t work, at least where the auger has been disconnected. Again, now is a great time to replace it so take a look and get on top of it if it needs attention.

Check The Tire Pressure

Fluctuating temperature corresponds directly with fluctuating pressure. It’s described neatly in the ideal gas law that we were taught in high school chemistry. In practice it’s not perfect though, as minor gaps in tire seals or valve stems can lead to minor leaks over time, and your snow blower’s tires might lose pressure. You’ll want to make sure the tires are optimally inflated for the best performance. Use an air compressor to bring the pressure back into specification if it has drifted over the course of the season.

Decide If It’s Time To Buy A New Snow Blower

If as you’re going through this process you keep coming back to the idea that your snow blower is really coming upon its last days, it may be time to take a step back and decide if you want to keep putting the effort in to keep your trusted snow blower going. Snow blowers are no minor expense, but of course, there is an expected lifespan on every tool we buy. If you’re even feeling a little this way, it’s best to check out some snow blower comparisons to get a feel for whether or not it’s time to retire your old workhorse.

Pat yourself on the back for being a proactive homeowner, and rest easy knowing that when the winter rolls around again this year your snow blower will be rip-roaring and ready to go for the first storm.

How To Find A Suitable Garage Door Opener

When you first get a home with an attached garage, you’ll be amazed at how convenient it is. You can walk right out to your car without ever having to go outside, which is great for carrying groceries and even better for avoiding foul weather. You can even use the extra space in the garage for storage, which is awesome because almost everybody has more stuff than they know what to do with. It’s particularly great for machinery that you have to wheel out every time you use it, like snow blowers and lawn mowers.

There may come a time in every homeowner’s life where a critical component of the garage needs some attention. The most likely (and the most critical component) that will eventually need to be maintained or even replaced is your garage door opener. This is just not something you come across every day, as they work almost 99.9% of the time. When it comes time to buy a replacement, you might not know where to look.

Trusted Brands

When it comes to choosing a brand for your garage door openers it makes sense to go with one of the brands that has been in the game for quite some time already. Chamberlain is well known for their garage door openers, and they make quite a few products with a range of features that are sure to suit your needs. LiftMaster also makes quite a bit of quality products, those are the big two. There are other companies that will be perfectly fine as well, but whenever in doubt stick with a brand that has a good reputation.

Mechanism of Operation

You’re going to encounter a number of different types of garage door openers when you start your search. Let’s give you a quick primer on what all of these terms will mean. Chain drive garage door openers are usually the simplest and cheapest options you can find. The main issue is that they tend to be on the louder side, and they are more prone to requiring maintenance. Belt drive garage door openers are similar to chain drive, except that the chain is essentially a rubber belt. These tend to be quieter than chain drive models, but they belts may also wear out after some use. The best kind of garage door openers are direct drive. They offer both quiet operation and durability, but you’ll have to pay extra for it.

Extra Features

As with all electronics these days, you can find garage door openers with a wide range of features. You can get them with security cameras mounted so that you can monitor your garage remotely. You can get smart garage door openers that can interact with your other smart devices in your home. I’d recommend at least a wifi garage door opener, that way if you ever forget to check whether or not it’s closed you can always take a look.

Hopefully this article was helpful in making you aware of the important things to look for when buying a garage door opener. With any luck, this is a replacement you’ll only encounter once. They tend to be quite durable and last a long time. At any rate, it’s hard to make the wrong decision when it comes to be devices so don’t worry. Eve in the worst case it won’t be that bad.

Finding a Dog Crate for Your Large Breed

Dog crates come in all sizes and shapes and therefore when you are looking for one, it is essential that you factor in the size of your dog. Many dog owners’ especially new ones forget this important step and end up getting a dog crate that is too big or too small for their dog. If you fail to factor in the size of the dog, it will not want to stay in it and will often prefer somewhere else. The main reason you are getting a dog crate is so that it can have somewhere to sleep and chill while indoors instead of sleeping in every single part of the house. Dog crates are quite expensive, and once your dog rejects its own dog crate, it will be a loss of money for you.

Different breeds of dogs have different crates and designs meant for them. For example, if you have a small breed of dog, you will need one that is perfect for its size but at the same time allows it to move freely in the crate. The same applies to large breed dogs. You will need a dog crate that is big enough to allow it to move comfortably in it and have plenty of space. If you are looking for a dog crate for your large breed dog, below are some guidelines on how to go about it. These guidelines ensure that you get a perfect size and also details of what you need to know when planning to buy a dog crate.

Large Dog Crate

Dogs are like humans, and they have emotions and feelings too. If you have a large breed dog and you get it a small crate, it will become claustrophobic and feel cramped. In this case, it is essential that you get an extra large dog crate. Before heading out to the store to get the dog crate, size your dog first. Sizing the dog is simply measuring it to determine how large it is. If you are not aware of how to size your dog, you can visit any dog store, and they can do it for you. You can also find plenty of sizing guides on the internet to follow.

Usually, a large breed dog is 42 inches up to 52 inches. There are also larger breed dogs such as St. Bernard and Great Dane that are giant. Once you know the size of your dog, you can now go ahead to look for a dog crate for it that is larger than its normal size. Most dog crates stores have small dog crates, but there are a few brands that cater to large breed dogs. Do your research well and identify which brands and stores offer large dog crates.

Why Get the Right Dog Crate

A dog crate that fits the size of your dog perfectly has a lot of benefits for the dog. Some of these benefits include:

  • It reduces anxiety: if you get a small dog crate for a large dog it any develop anxiety. This is because it is cramped and scared because it has to squeeze in to fit. The dog may develop negative feelings for the crate because they associate pain to it. Never force a dog into a crate that it cannot fit in.
  • It makes training easier: if your large breed dog does not fit properly into the dog crate, training it to use it will be much harder. The dog will do its best to avoid the dog crate rather than use it.
  • Gives you an opportunity to travel. If you choose the right size of crate for your dog, you will be able to travel on airlines without any inconveniences because the dog is comfortable and able.

Ultimately the right dog crate will go a long way to help you, and its benefits as stated earlier are convenient. Your pup will be safe, comfortable, and happy, as long as you find a crate that is suitable for them to call home.

How to Choose A Sofa for Your Living Room´╗┐

When it comes to choosing the perfect sofa for your living room, there are so many things to take into consideration. You cannot just go into a furniture store and pick the first thing that catches your eyes. Trust me, you will regret that decision later. I know; I’ve done it. So to spare you that pain, I have created a list of things for you to consider when choosing the best sofa for your space!

1) What is your personal style?

There are four main interior design styles: modern, minimalist, glam, and farmhouse. Most people’s personal style consist of a combination. For example, you could be 80% glam, 18% minimalist, and 2% modern. You should know this before you begin shopping. It will help you choose what is best for your style. There are a ton of interior style quizzes on the web. Take a few of those to determine what you like if you do not already know.

2) Does the sofa match the furniture already present in your home?

If you are on the hunt for a new sofa, I am guessing that you want it to compliment the furniture you already have in your home. There’s nothing worse than getting to the store and finding something you like but then question if it will match what you already have. My best advice for this is to take pictures of your other pieces. Lots of pictures! Close-ups. Wide angels. Whatever will allow you to see the other pieces in their entirety. While you don’t necessarily have to match material, most people want to stay within their color family. 

The style of furniture is also extremely significant. If your home is super glam with sleek, acrylic items, you do not want to add a sofa that would normally be found in farmhouse decor. It will throw everything out of balance and look odd. 

3) What type of family do you have?

This is one of the most important things to think about before you even look at a sofa. Do you have children? Do you have pets? How big is your family? All these things matter. If you have children, think about their mannerisms. You probably don’t want a sofa that you cannot clean easily. Meaning that luxurious velvet sofa that looks amazing in the display at the store will not be the best things for you. Also, pets have hair. Pets are known for shedding said hair. You will most likely not want a couch where the hair fibers tangle in the sofa fiber. You also might not want a sofa that snags easily with children or pets. 

Also, think about the size of the sofa. It needs to be big enough to hold your entire family. If it’s you, a spouse, and one child, then a regular three-cushion sofa might be perfect for you. If you need more room, a sofa section that you can rearrange will do the trick. 

4) What is your budget?

I probably should have mentioned this first, but have a budget in mind before you go shopping. That way you can eliminate furniture stores that are outside of your budget. While most furniture stores do offer payment plans, some of them do not. So knowing what stores fit your budget is important in case you do have to pay up front. There will be no surprises in price when you find a sofa because the store is already in your budget. 

5) Will it fit inside your living room?

Measure, measure, and then remeasure! I cannot emphasize this enough. A sofa too small will make your living room look empty, and a sofa too big will make your space feel cramped. Neither is good. 

While there are other things that could go into choosing a sofa, I find these to be the most helpful. I hope they help you with all your sofa shopping adventures!

5 DIY Face Masks That Will Make Your Skin Shine!

Hello Friends and welcome to another edition of Shine, Skin Shine! 

Today we’re going to share fabulous ways to make your pretty little face shine like the sun. 

Let’s get to it. 

First and foremost, we’ll cover some important things to consider then we’ll get into making face masks using some basic kitchen ingredients. 

Important Thing #1) It is highly advisable to do a small skin test to the ingredients that you will be applying to your face. If your skin turns red, itches or swells, rinse, pat dry then move on to the next mask. 

Important Thing #2) Less Is More. We’re big fans here of using what you have because everything you need is in the kitchen. Keep it simple, less is more! 

Important Thing #3) This is going to be so much fun! As you are preparing your ingredients thank them for doing a wonderful job of making your skin shiny. Thank you avocado mask for your wonderful oils and making my skin so shiny and pretty. This is a wonderful experiment in delight, you get to play with your food and eat it too! 
Whenever possible, use organic ingredients. Clean in is clean out. 

Important Thing #4) Wash off the mask with warm water then rinse with cold. This is a wonderful form of hydrotherapy that gives your skin a nice rosy glow. 

Important Thing #5) Whatever you do, do NOT mix vinegar and baking soda. Vinegar and baking soda fizz like a mini volcano. Put another way, keep vinegar and baking soda away from each other. 

Alrighty then, now that we understand a few important things, let’s make some shiny skin masks. 

Shiny Face Mask #1) Molasses Grapefruit or Honey Lemon. 
These masks are a wonderful combination of sugar and citrus acids designed to slough off dead skin cells revealing the beauty below. You can mix your favorite citrus to any of these sugar acid substances like molasses and honey. We’ve found that molasses works well with olive and dark complexions, and honey works well with lighter ones. 
Feel free to mix your own perfect ratios of sugar to citrus. Leave on your face until you feel mummified, about 15-20 mins then rinse. 

Shiny Face Mask #2) Cool Black Tea Bags. Take some tea bags and let them soak in cool water with vinegar* for a few minutes. Take out tea bags and gently squeeze out excess moisture. Place tea bags on your face in a reclining position until you feel the moisture has dried up. No need to rinse unless you feel like you want to. This is a great mask for tightening pores. You can even drink the liquid when your done. 
*Keep tea bags soaked in vinegar out of eyes as vinegar will sting the eyeballs. 

Shiny Face Mask #3) Avocado Lime Salt Mash. Mash an avocado, squirt some lime and add salt for this delicious mask. The oily avocado does a great job of shiny skin. Keep this mask out of your eyes as well because the lime and salt will definitely sting the eyeballs too! 

Shiny Face Mask #4) Olive Oil and Baking Soda. Take any oil* you have in the kitchen, butter even and add a pinch of baking soda to it. Mix and apply to face. This mask you can rub off and pat dry with cool water. Be careful with this mask because oils and butter stain clothes. 
*Canola oil and lard are not recommended. Though if you must, do a small skin test first. 

Shiny Face Mask #5) White Egg Peel. Take the egg white and whip it lightly. Apply to face for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water then cool. This white egg wash is also excellent for burns, battle tested in many a fire station. 

There you go, Friends! Have fun with your shiny face masks and we’ll see you in another life!