Archive | June, 2012

Essential Cleaning Supplies Every Home Must Have

28 Jun

Cleaning at home is a lot easier when you have everything you need. Sure, it takes time to clean each room, especially the bathroom and the kitchen, but when you have all of the supplies you need, you will be able to work much easier and faster, allowing you to get back to what you really want to do.

Below are some of the essential cleaning supplies that every household should have:

  • Microfiber cloth – Many homeowners use old rags to dust cabinets and furniture. Although they may come in handy for other uses, when it comes to dusting, a microfiber cloth is a much better option.  Microfiber cloths gather more dust and dirt than ordinary rags that tend to just push it around.  So, cleaning is done in no time and you don’t have to dust as frequently.
  • All-purpose anti-bacterial spray cleaner – Yes, you need an anti-bacterial cleaner to thoroughly kill germs and bacteria and, yes, it should be an all-purpose cleaner. There are many specialized cleaning solutions out there, but an all-purpose cleaner will benefit you more.  It takes up less space than a collection of multiple bottles, and it will save you money because you only need to buy one cleaner.
  • Rubber gloves – Safety should always be a top priority, and using rubber gloves will help protect your hands from the harmful ingredients that are found in cleaning solutions. When using heavy duty cleaners, you may even want to use a disposable mask to avoid breathing in the fumes.
  • Garbage bags – Whether you’re cleaning out a particular area of your home or simply using them for your trash cans, garbage bags are much more sanitary than throwing trash directly into the bin.
  • Vacuum cleaner – When it comes to cleaning carpet and furniture, vacuum cleaners are the way to go in order to ensure you are truly getting everything clean.  Invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner that will last for several years.
  • Baking soda – This may seem like an unlikely cleaning supply considering baking soda is used in food preparation, but this natural ingredient is also a life-saver when it comes to removing stains, odors, and tough grime.
  • Toilet bowl cleaner – Your toilet bowl is one area that does require more than a basic all-purpose cleaning solution.  Use toilet bowl cleaner regularly in order to protect your family from germs.
  • Mops and brooms – A good mop and a strong broom are absolutely essential maintaining a clean, dirt-free floor.
  • Sponges, brushes, and scrubbers – These items help to get rid of tough stains, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

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OKC Offers More Advanced Parking Meters Starting in July

26 Jun

As part of Project 180, OKC city officials are planning to replace the old parking meters with a more advanced system. The Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority recently added over 600 on-street parking spaces downtown, so in line with those changes, they decided it was time to replace the old coin meters with more versatile pay stations.

Project 180 is a four-year city improvement initiative to implement ways to clean up the streets and sidewalks as well as provide more convenient facilities. With a budget of $160 million, Project 180 aims to redesign the streets and public parks and plazas through decorative street lighting, marked bike lanes, landscaping, and on-street parking spaces.

To better provide a convenient public parking, over 125 solar-powered pay stations will be installed in parking spaces, which will accept both coins and credit cards. The first phase of the meters will be installed at the Myriad gardens on Reno, Robinson, and Hudson streets. City officials said that installations will occur every two weeks, and the first phase of meters will begin operating on July 16.

The new digital meters will be easy to use, and unlike the older mechanical meters, they will accept credit cards in addition to coins.  A receipt will be printed for the driver to place on the front driver’s side windshield to make it visible. If the driver returns to their car before the time has expired, they can leave the receipt on their dashboard and transfer to another parking space without paying again.

There will be a minimum parking fee of 75 for 30-minute parking in either the one hour or two hour parking zones. One-hour meters will have blue caps, while two-hour meters will have orange ones.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

Decorate Your Guest Room with “Must Haves”

25 Jun

Having guests stay in your home can be a very enjoyable experience.  Company makes entertaining fun with more stories to tell, jokes to share, and memories to make.  And, while it’s nice to receive guests, it is also gratifying make them feel welcome and comfortable despite being away from home.

Providing them with everything they need will help make their stay more comfortable.  So, to make your guest feel “at home” inside your house, be sure your guest room provides these must haves:

  • Have all the bed essentials in their room. This includes two pillows, a warm blanket, extra linens, and perhaps a comforter in case they get cold at night. Extra linens can be stored under the bed or in a cabinet inside their room, so they will not have to ask you for anything if they need it
  • Empty a cabinet or drawer for them. Your guest will need a place to put all of their clothes, so provide them with a space, so they don’t have to live out of their suitcase.  Also be sure to provide plenty of counter space or storage containers in the bathroom for their toiletries.
  • Place a mirror inside their room. This will allow them to get dressed easily, and it is especially important if they are sharing a bathroom with others.
  • An alarm clock. Some guests are accustomed to waking up using an alarm clock, so be sure you have a reliable one for them on the side table in case they forget their own.
  • Toilet paper and a waste basket. Be sure here is a full roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and place a few extras in a nearby cabinet in case they need them. Also be sure there is a trash can in the bathroom.
  • Provide soap and shampoo. Most guests will bring their own, but some might forget them or expect you to have them. Err on the safe side and assume that your guests will not be bringing their own soap or shampoo, so they will not have to ask for it if they need it.
  • Lay out fresh towels for each guest. Again, you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable about asking, and you know they’ll need them, so
  • Include some entertainment. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a television for your guest room, but provide your guest with something to entertain themselves like a radio to listen to when they get dressed in the morning or books and magazine to read before bed.
  • Decorate with homey touches. Place fresh flowers on their night stand or hang some nice art pieces on their wall. Placing a small pad of paper and a pen on their dresser can also be a nice touch in case they need to jot something down.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

Decorating with Your Kids’ Art

21 Jun

We love the works of art that our kids create, and it’s exciting to see what they’re going to show us when they come home from school. Is it a picture of a colorful flower or a family in front of a huge house? Will there be new animals this time or the usual stick figures? Whatever the final product is, we love it and usually want to hang it somewhere inside the house.

Even though kids like to showcase their pieces of art inside their own bedrooms, it doesn’t have to be confined there.  In order to prevent artwork overload in your kids’ bedrooms and simultaneously share their work with everyone, you can hang their masterpieces in unconventional places like the hallway, the kitchen, or your home office.

Here are a few creative ways to decorate your home using your kids’ artwork:

  • Frame it. This is actually a common practice in many households.  Simply select a few of your child’s best creations and frame them.
  • Incorporate it in functional items.  For example, you can choose your favorite piece of artwork and add it to your morning tray. Laminate the artwork and stick it on top of your tray, and you’ll always be able to see your child’s work while drinking coffee or bringing morning tea to your house guests.  You can also have the artwork printed onto fabric to create a blanket, throw pillows, or even your kids’ bed linens.
  • Create a huge gallery. In one corner of a room, fill the empty walls with all of your child’s artwork in a collage style.  Make sure that each piece is well-protected in a frame, so they cannot be damaged easily.
  • Hang them – literally! Use a long wire or twine to hang pages of art as though they were photos that were hanging to dry. You can string each end of the wire or twine to end hooks and use decorative wooden clothespin to hang their artwork.
  • Stick them in cabinets. Laminate some of their smaller drawings and attach them, using glue or tape, to the inside of your cabinets, so you see them every time you reach for something.
  • Create a personalized refrigerator magnet. Rather than buying magnets for your fridge, create your own using your kids’ artwork. Cut out small pieces of their drawings, laminate them, and glue a magnet on each one.
  • Keep it as a reminder in your home office. Working at home sometimes blurs the lines between your work and personal life, so use your child’s artwork as a reminder that they need your time and attention too.  Place their art beneath the glass on top of your desk or frame it, so you can look at it all day and remind yourself of when it’s quitting time.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

Oklahoma City University to Add Software Engineering Degree This Fall

19 Jun

Oklahoma City University will be introducing a new degree program this fall.  Software engineering is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country, and The Wall Street Journal recently ranked it as the best job in the United States.  Undergraduate students will soon be able to pursue a degree in that field, and the graduate program is expected to be approved soon as well.

The software engineering courses will focus on the application of engineering to software development. Students will be able to study how to develop, operate, and maintain various software programs through a more quantifiable approach.  To help students prepare for and thrive in the field, the OCU degree will include a combination of business courses and software engineering courses.  The business aspect of the degree will provide the students with a marketing background, so they can successfully communicate and deal with high-quality companies in the future.

According to Steve Agee, Dean of OCU’s Meinders School of Business, the university had been receiving a lot of inquiries about the subject, which is what caused them to create a degree program for the next school year.  Even though the degree is new, rather than bringing in new professors for the program, the university will be pulling instructors from seven school faculties to teach the courses. Three professors will be taken from the computer science department, and the other three will come from the information technology department.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

Home Remodeling: Doing It Yourself or Hire a Professional?

18 Jun

Embarking on a home remodeling project can be exciting. As you imagine what your new room will look after you renovate, rearrange, and paint, it gives you a vision to work toward and the motivation to make it happen.

For some homeowners, doing their home remodeling themselves can not only save them a huge amount of money, but it can also be a lot of fun.  Homeowners can use their skills and learn new ones to tackle things like measuring walls, cutting wood, and installing floors and ceilings. Though it sounds fun, there are still a number of considerations a homeowner must take a look at prior to doing the project on their own.

The question becomes, “Will I do my own remodel or will I hire a professional?”

Let us first consider the cost.  By doing the home project on your own, you will be spared the contractor’s fee. That’s certainly a great savings, but when it comes to the overall cost, the contractor’s fee is not the only consideration.  If you do the remodel yourself, you must factor in a buffer to cover errors that would require you to buy replacement materials.  Contractors, on the other hand, are already equipped with the expertise to produce accurate, error-free results, so there is a much smaller likelihood that costs will exceed the bid.  This is particularly important to consider if you have little experience with do it yourself projects.

Second, consider the time that will be required to complete your project. Are you in a hurry to finish the remodel or would you be able to accommodate a potential extension?  Keep in mind that whenever you do a home remodel, you have a lot of tools and materials inside that can be dangerous, especially to kids. If you have an open timeframe to work with and aren’t concerned that construction materials would pose a threat to anyone, you can do it yourself.  If you have a specific deadline to meet or have small children and are concerned about having tools lying around, a professional can usually do it in less time and, therefore, address those issues.

Lastly, ask yourself if you actually know how to do what is required and if you will be able to finish the project. The last thing you want is to get halfway into a project and become stuck or mess something up that causes additional work to fix.  Giving the project a try without actually knowing how to do it or how to finish it will only waste your time, energy, and resources.

Home projects can provide an exciting opportunity to create something that you’re proud of, but if time and money are constraints for you, a professional is probably the safest option.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.00

Seven Summer Decorating Ideas for Your Living Room

14 Jun

Summer can be a lot of fun with its warm weather, vibrant colors, and open air living. This summer, transform the look of your dark, hazy living room into a bright and breezy place. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to transform your living room for summer.  All you need to do is remove some of our heavy, “winterized” decor and replace it with fresher finishing touches.

To help you get started decorating your living room this summer, here are a few ideas:

  • Remove heavy window treatments and replace them with light curtains. Your living room doesn’t require heavy thermal shields during the summer months because the fresh air and breezes from outside are actually pleasant and appreciated.  Choose cool colors and fabrics to play into the wind.
  • Bring out summer photos. Display some of your favorite summer family photos to remind you of great vacations and summer fun. The colors and themes of the photos make them more appropriate for the weather, and they add a nice fresh touch.
  • Decorate with flowers.  Place a vase of fresh flowers on your coffee table and accent it with other natural elements like pebbles and sand. You can also use them as a dining room table centerpiece or to display on shelves and counters.
  • Bring out your day bed. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy passing the hours in a bright and open living room.  A day bed provides the perfect place to read or take a mid-afternoon nap, and you can decorate it with accent pillows for a nice added touch.
  • Create a seashell arrangement. When you go to the beach, gather seashells in different sizes to display in your living room. Display one or two huge shells on a shelf or group multiple small shells together. You can also create a floral-shell arrangement by using a huge shell as the flower container.  If you don’t have your own shells, you can buy them.
  • Add some bright throw pillows to your furniture. Change the covers of your throw pillows and replace the winter ones with colorful, embellished ones. You can also make your own decorative pillows by gathering random buttons and adornments from clothes and other materials to form a funky pattern on your pillow.
  • Get rid of rugs.  When the weather gets warmer outside, area rugs will only serve to make your rooms feel hotter as well. So, instead of decorating your floors with area rugs, show off the beauty of your bare floors and help keep your rooms cooler. Just be sure to clean your floors as often as possible, so you are able to maintain the clean, crisp look.

Jennifer Fields
Oklahoma City & Edmond Real Estate Agent
405.330.0031