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Creating An At-Home Spa!

After a week of work and have-to routines, take time to pamper yourself for a few hours with an at-home spa. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to treat yourself to a little TLC. The tricks – and we culled several from the pros – are easy, affordable do-it-yourself ploys that will decompress those knotted nerves and help you unwind from the day-to-day hubbub!

PAMPERING 101

1. Get rid of distractions and disruptions and get in the mood. Fire up Pandora and tune into the Relaxation Station. Make a cup of chamomile tea or sip on some champagne. Light some incense and let your body slow down.

STEAM AND SCRUB

2. Steam your face for 10 minutes over a pot of hot – not boiling – water with a few drops of essential oil or fresh herbs. Canyon Ranch, with spas in Arizona, Massachusetts, Las Vegas and Turkey, details the many benefits of an herbal steam facial from boosting circulation to unclogging pores, and lists the pros and cons of several herbs so you can custom choose results.StarAnise

For example, anise seeds are a natural antiseptic which makes them ideal for acne-prone skin, as well as wounds or scars.

3. Use any exfoliating body scrub recipe (like the coconut coffee scrub from Hello Glow or the vanilla sugar scrub from Thank Your Body) and apply it in the shower. Most are gentle enough for face and body, and exfoliating your face after a steam is great for minimizing blackheads.sugarscrubpinterest

MASK MAGIC

4. Apply an oil hair mask of your choice and wrap your head in a towel. Studies show coconut oil and olive oil both penetrate the hair and make it stronger.

5. Run a moisture bath with a can of coconut milk, a tablespoon of almond oil and 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Be sure to dim the fluorescents, light candles and bring your tea and tunes with you!

6. A face mask is next – after a quick shower to rinse – and Reader’s Digest has a list of masks for different skin types, from hydrating to tightening, and The Healthy Honeys offer recipes for five clarifying and detoxing masks.

TIP TO TOE

7. A body butter for your feet is a spa essential, while the face mask is working its magic. Apply one of these: an intense healing cream from Say Not Sweet Anne or peppermint whipped body butter from Thank Your Body.peppermint whipped BB
Then swaddle your feet in plastic wrap and a hot, wet towel for 10 to 15 minutes. This is the pièce de résistance at the spa, so don’t skip this step!Strawberry-lime-cucumber-and-mint-water-2

8. Infused water is refreshing and the perfect finishing touch. Here’s a strawberry, cucumber, lime and mint-flavored water recipe from Oh My Dish and even though it only takes 10 minutes to make, you’ll want to prep it ahead of time so all you have to do is pour!

Glamour Magazine has a few additional at-home spa tricks, and of course Pinterest has another 687!

Spa Day at Colliers Hill 

The spacious baths in the new homes of the master-planned community of Colliers Hill are perfect for creating sensational spa experiences. Tour one of 10 stunning models from Shea Homes and Richmond American Homes to explore both ranch and two-story designs, available from the upper $300s to the $600s.

2017 HGTV Smart Home Ideas

Carley Knoblock, the tech lifestyle advisor, says adopting the right technology can be life-changing, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Knoblock is responsible for the tons of smart features in the 3,300 square foot, Southwestern-styled 2017 HGTV Smart Home in Scottsdale, AZ.

She won’t mind if you find some high-tech ideas here you can appropriate for your own smart home. Most are seriously digital, mind-bogglingly sci-fi, and convenient for busy lives.

Automated Sky-Lighting

The HGTV Smart Home has VELUX skylights that let in the light via app-controlled shades and with the touch of a button, open the skylights to let in fresh air. If inclement weather is on the way, a rain sensor will automatically close the skylights and keep the moisture OUT.

State of the Art Wine Station

smart homeThis posh high-tech device from Napa Technology is one super smart automated wine preserving and dispensing system. The unit has space for four different bottles of wine and three pour size options: taste, half and full glass. It pours the perfect wine, at the perfect temperature, for the perfect occasion.

Wall Art

Knoblock chose innovative wall art in the way of two digital canvases from Meural.com. The Meural Canvas gives you instant access to 30,000 works of art and it’s also easy to upload your own images.

Climate Control

To make your home more energy-efficient and save you some time and body heat, look into smart climate control. Knoblock installed an electronic programmable thermostat so the new homeowners could sync it to their smart phones. They can set it while they’re home, or if they forget to turn it up, down or off, before leaving the house, the can control it from anywhere in the world.

Light Switches and Outlets

What would a smart home be without motion sensor switches to automatically shut the lights out when you leave a room? Knoblock found these for kids’ rooms, laundry rooms, and the garage – or any room where you tend to forget to turn the lights off.

Instead of traditional bulbs, Knoblock installed CFL and LED bulbs to give off a nice warm hue and because they last longer and use very little energy. These bulbs require a little more of an investment, but the tradeoff is worth it. Where an old incandescent bulb will last for 1200 hours, you’ll get 8,000 hours with LEDs.

smart homeThe adorne® pop-out outlets disappear when not in use. You just push on the outlet, and it pops in or out, and includes capacity for three plugs.

Home Security

The app-based SimpliSafe wireless security system is preprogrammed and can be installed in under an hour. With a five-minute video to show you how, you’ll see there are no wires to connect and no drilling required. The 24/7 alarm monitoring costs 50-cents-a-day with no annual contract..

Keyless Entry Systems

You no longer need to duplicate metal keys for the babysitter or visiting guests. With keyless entry systems like Kevo’s, opening the front door to a smart home has evolved to next epoch. An app on your phone becomes the key to your house which you can temporarily share with others. Just tapping on the deadbolt, app in hand, will automatically lock or unlock the door.

Biometric access is a system that scans your fingerprint and allows you to open the door once it positively identifies who you are. With the Ekey system, you can add other people to the database and turn them on and off, at will. You can also set a temporary passcode to the system which will allow someone to get in and out of your house, as well.

Digital Peepholes

When someone knocks on the door and you want to see exactly who it is before opening, this high-tech peephole from Brinno gives you a much wider view and requires no construction. If you’ve already got a peep hole, you just snap it on. And, the upgraded version can be activated by lights or motion sensors and allows you to snap a photo of anyone at the door.

Full Home Automation

Imagine being able to control your lights, your security system, even your thermostat from wherever you are with your smart phone. The box from Mi Casa Verde is a total DIY solution for home automation. You can install a camera and monitor when your kids come home (or go out!), or use it to observe a rental property or vacation home. Just plug in the box via its Ethernet port. Once you buy the sensors and the box you’re good to go. And you can monitor your energy usage to adjust your thermostat accordingly.

Colliers Hill Smart Buys

All the new homes in the master-planned community of Colliers Hill are smart buys and you can tailor your favorite to meet all your smart needs. Tour one of 10 stunning models from Shea Homes and Richmond American Homes to explore both ranch and two-story designs, available from the upper $300s to the $600s.

Four Mistakes Home Buyers Make

Real estate experts predict more home buyers will apply for mortgage loans during 2017 to take advantage of still-affordable home financing.  When you’re ready to make a long-term commitment on your first or next home, here are four common mistakes you’ll want to avoid!

“I Have No Plan.”

 Writer Alan Lakein said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Figuring out everything you need in a home – and want – before you start shopping is a practical first step to getting the house of your dreams.

Do you and your family want a back yard? How about a basement? And what about location? Do you want a 45-minute commute or less?home buyers

Make a list of features that are important in your home and investigate favorite locations to narrow your search. Identify an acceptable price range (more on that later), plus the minimum number of bedrooms, bathrooms and any amenities. Do you want a park nearby? Walking paths or hiking trails? What about award-winning schools? Does your family want to live near a swimming pool? A recreation center? Shops and restaurants?

Without a specific wish list, it will be more difficult to recognize a home that meets your needs and expectations. And you may make the mistake of looking at homes that aren’t really in the running. A realistic and fine-tuned game plan will save time and reduce the hassle from home buyers.

“I Can’t Afford to Buy.”

home buyersIf you think you can’t afford to be a home buyer, you might want to check with an accountant or your financial planner before ruling it out. Mortgage rates are still flexible and the tax laws continue to favor home ownership.

And while no one can guarantee that a specific home will appreciate in value, the odds generally favor the homeowner. Tax advantages mean the money you pay in mortgage interest is deductible, and that alone can make owning a home cheaper than renting.

“I Don’t Know My Limits.”

If you’re serious about buying a house, start a conversation with a loan officer before you start shopping. If you don’t know how much house you can afford, house hunting can be a recipe for frustration and disappointment.

Potential home buyers who have a pre-approval letter from a lender can make an offer as soon as they see “the one.” Some sellers won’t even look at an offer from a home buyer that is not accompanied by a pre-approval letter from a lender.

To get pre-approved, you’ll need proof of income, proof of assets, a good credit score, verifiable employment and self-documentation.

Record low mortgage rates are poised to rise, but even at 4.25 percent experts like Motley Fool say home buyers are still benefitting from cheaper home financing than we’ve seen in the last half century!

“I’m Loyal to My Lender.”

That’s noble, but what you need to be is a mortgage shopper. Just because you’ve worked with one lender and been pre-approved, doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. In fact, to get the best loan terms you should compare quotes from different lenders. Fannie Mae (a leading source of financing for mortgage lenders), found that only two-thirds of home buyers make the effort to get more than one mortgage quote.

And as one wise momma once said, “You better shop around!”

Shop Around Colliers Hill

With its enviable menu of features, amenities and proximity to downtown Erie, you can’t make a mistake buying a home in the master-planned community of Colliers Hill. Tour one of 10 beautiful models from Shea Homes and Richmond American Homes. You’ll find stunning new ranch and two-story designs are available from the upper $300s to the $600s.

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