A Vineyard Day Trip

Living in the Alameda area of California, you are practically surrounded by beautiful vineyards. In fact, this is the perfect place to organize a day of vineyard hopping or reserve the area of a vineyard for a day. In this account, Lucy tells us about celebrating her grandmother’s birthday at a vineyard.

“I am lucky enough to have my great grandmother live to the age of 90. I think part of what has kept her healthy so long is receiving elder care in Alameda, CA while living in the comfort of her own home. When she reached this particular birthday, my family wanted to have a big celebration. Living in California, I thought it would be a great idea for us to all meet at my house and take a bus up to a vineyard in Northern CA for the day. Having so many brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, and aunts, we were able to all chip in for a great celebration.

The best part about having a vineyard day for my grandmother’s birthday party was that it was calm and peaceful. We were able to sit outside and enjoy spending some family time around beautiful views of the valley. It was also great because she has an early bedtime. This was better than doing a family dinner because it was during the day time, and we were able to get her back home in the evening. The kids were able to play outside while the adults sat back and enjoyed some wine.

Going to a vineyard for a family day was the perfect activity that we could all enjoy. Look at the places closest to you to see their reservation rates and deals.”

Vineyards are great places for family get-togethers, celebrations, dates, and even weddings. They are also great places to spend a day off of work or go on a weekend trip. You don’t need an excuse to spend some time outside with wine, food, and friends. Click here to find more information on vineyards near you.

Why Buy Replacement Windows To Save On Heating Costs

In the coldest months of the year, your heating bill can rise to astronomical heights. You need to save money where you can so that your furnace doesn’t drain your budget. Leaky windows can lose large amounts of heat in the winter and this can translate to hundreds of dollars in energy costs. Don’t let your money fall through the cracks! Look at fiberglass replacement windows like those you can see at http://bnwbuilders.com/fiberglass-replacement-windows/ to save on heating costs. The warmer and more insulated your house is, the happier you’ll be when you have a comfortable home free of drafts. If you need more incentive, here are a few reasons why you should upgrade your windows.

  • You can take advantage of free energy from the sun. Passive solar energy is a big component in the building of new, energy efficient homes. Windows are designed to capture sunlight and heat during the day, and at night, they hold the heat in. Taking advantage of this resource is completely free and will save you hundreds of dollars on your heating bill during the winter. That’s money that you can spend on something else you need.
  • They will pay for themselves over time. Energy efficient windows are more expensive but you should try buying the most efficient windows you can afford. You’ll save money in the long run on energy bills. Plus, you’ll add value to your home and it’ll be more attractive to a potential homebuyer. Not many people are going to buy a house that loses large amounts of heat during the winter. If you’re looking for a good investment, this is one you should make.

fiberglass windowsWith the money you can save on heating costs, you can improve your home even more. Or you can take that vacation you’ve always wanted. Either way, you should get replacement windows to save on heating costs. You’ll stay warmer during the winter and cooler during the summer. Stop throwing your hard earned money out the window! Invest in your energy savings today.

Landscaping Ideas With Stone Pavers

A Great Way to Add Style to Your Landscaping

Pavers are a very versatile landscaping tool which can be used for a variety of projects in the backyard. Typically pavers are made from manufactured stone or concrete like the pavers here sold by Pete Rose Landscape supply. This type of product has become much more popular recently and with how great they will look in your yard it’s no mystery as to why.

If your front or backyard is not taking advantage of this great landscaping product, hopefully this article will soon change your mind and give you a few different ideas on the best ways to use them on your property. Another reason why homeowners are utilizing pavers more is because they are low cost and yet durable. So what sorts of projects are they being used for?

walkway paversWalkways – Stone pavers are perfect for a walkway out to your garden, garage, or to the front of your home. You can either create a stepping stone like pattern or a solid

pool paversAround a pool – Pavers can also be a great to put around a pool in your backyard. They provide a great patio like area where you can lay out or have a nice clean surface to talk around.

Patios – Speaking of patios, you can create a great patio space with just pavers. If you don’t have a usable deck, this is probably the best way to make space outside for sitting around, grilling and enjoying time with friends.

firepit made from stone paversFire Pit –Did you know you can also construct a fire pit from certain types of pavers? A fire pit is a great addition to any outdoor space when used responsibly, especially in the cooler months of the year.

For a relatively inexpensive way to improve the look and usable space on your property, it’s hard to bat landscaping stone pavers. Whether you want a simple walkway to add a little functionality or style to your yard, want to create a patio or fire pit, this is an upgrade you need to look into as a homeowner.

The Reasons Why Andersen Windows Last

Chic, High Performance Windows You Will Love

When you install new windows on your house, you want them to last for quite some time. It can become expensive very quickly if you have to replace windows frequently. You’re better off going with a brand that has a proven record of outlasting the competition. Andersen Windows are built for the long haul. I recently had the opportunity to stay with a friend in Philadelphia who just got new Renewal by Andersen windows. You can find their local website here if you are also in Pennsylvania.

I was struck by how beautiful and high quality they were. The room I stayed in had 3 windows and while it was cold out, it stayed very cozy inside. I talked to my friend a big about them and she explained to me some of their benefits including why Andersen Windows last.

  • They are made from the highest quality materials. When you take the best ingredients and mix them together, you know you’re going to get an exceptional product. Andersen Windows are made with the best glass and plastic, ensuring that they last for many years to come. Competitors use cheaper materials that lower the price of their products. Don’t fall victim to the discount! Pay for quality that you can count on.
  • They are built to last. Some companies earn their profits by making a cheap product that is made to break. Since their product doesn’t last very long, the consumer is forced to buy the product more frequently. After a while, the less expensive product doesn’t seem like a great deal anymore. Luckily for the consumer, that is not the case with Andersen Windows. They know that customers keep the business alive. That’s why they earn customer satisfaction with a quality product that lasts years longer than the competition. Customers get tired of buying the same product again and again. Andersen Windows earns customer respect one great window at a time.

The answer is simple. Andersen Windows are just better than the rest. Other window manufacturers cut corners so that they can grow their profit margins. This strategy is bad for the customer because they get a low quality product. Customers are looking for a product they can trust and rely on for the long run. That’s why Andersen Windows last; because the customers believe they have a great product.

See Clearly With A San Francisco Window Replacement Company

It’s frustrating when you open your blinds to look out at the world in the morning and all you see is dirty, foggy windows. If that’s what you see when you look outside, you may be due for some new windows. Fortunately for you, the right window replacement company near San Francisco is out there waiting for your business. Windows come in all shapes and sizes and they’re even energy efficient. Your local replacement window installers in the San Francisco Bay area has all your window needs covered.

A Replacement Windows that Works in Any Climate

san francisco bay picture replacement windowLiving in California, you know that the weather can get warm. But there are also still seasons and varying weather at times. During those rainy days, you’d like to look out at the world through the comfort of your home. If your windows are out-of-date and are in need of replacing, look to your window replacement specialist for help. They’ll know exactly what you need once you tell them the budget you have in mind.

With San Francisco’s warm climate, you may not realize that you can save money on your energy bill with energy efficient windows. When you have the energy efficient windows, they act as a barrier that keeps the air temperature indoors constant. So when you have your air conditioning on, you lose less cold air to the hot air outside. Over the lifetime of your windows, you’ll save so much on your energy bill that the windows will pay for themselves in energy savings. If you plan on being in your house for a while, this might be something you want to look into. Energy efficient windows are also a smart investment if you plan on selling your house, too. With so many people conscious of their carbon footprint, an energy efficient home will be very attractive to potential buyers.

Talk to your local window specialist today to find out if your home is ready for some new windows. They’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Hot Water Extraction vs Steam Cleaning for Carpets

If you frequently (or infrequently) hire a carpet cleaning service near you to get out stains or do a complete cleaning of the carpeting or rugs in your home you may want to read this. Carpet cleaning companies, even the professionals can use vastly different methods during their cleaning process. Today I wanted to compare two different styles or methods of cleaning and show you why it might be time to shop around for a different cleaner; you will see why I say this shortly.

Carpet Cleaning and Your Health

First, think to yourself what is really important when getting your carpets “cleaned”, is it more about appearance or about health? Typically when you clean up, its about both but personally I am a big believer in keeping a healthy home for myself, my kids, and even my pets.

The Power of Hot Water Extraction for Carpets

hot water extraction carpet cleaning methodSo lets first take a deeper look into how hot water extraction, the method they use at Chem-dry of Duval carpet cleaning in Jacksonville Florida, and all other Chem-Dry locations across the U.S. including the location I used before I relocated found at http://carpetcleaninginva.com/. One of the seemingly smaller details that I like about their service is that the carpets and rugs they clean dry a whole lot faster than steam cleaning, this is because the power behind their cleaning system is carbonation instead of moisture and chemicals like most other services. They always dry in only a couple of hours instead of up to 3 days as I have experienced with other home cleaning companies. This carbonated method they use consists of millions of tiny bubbles, similar to club soda that attacks dirt naturally. Instead of pushing it farther into the carpet, it actually lifts it up out like you want it to.

What You Need to Know About Steam Cleaning

steam cleaning carpetsI used to think steam cleaning was the healthiest method available. When I first started using a steam cleaning service in my home years ago I was under the impression the steam simply came from heating up water similar to the iron I use to press my work clothes. But before long I started noticing a distinct smell coming from my carpets which didn’t seem natural. You see, there is more to the steam than meets the eye, it usually contains some pretty harsh detergents and chemicals mixed in with the water. With a longer drying time, mold can also build up because of the extended periods of moisture that lasts deep in your carpeting. Finally, the steam is applied using a lot of pressure which can damage your carpets, making them not a supple as they once were.

This information isn’t readily available to the average homeowner who is either in the market for or already regularly hires an in-home carpet cleaning service, but it should be. Decide for yourself which method is best for your home by all means and do more outside research but for me and my home I now exclusively hire Chem-Dry which does a great job with the carbonated hot water extraction method of cleaning carpets, rugs, and even furniture/upholstery.

Celebrating Occasions on a Vineyard

Vineyards in Virginia are a great place to spend anniversaries, birthdays, or even to propose. They don’t say “Virginia is for lovers” for no reason! The beautiful scenery and sunsets can make for a great private getaway. If you are planning on commemorating a trip with an engagement ring or other piece of jewelry, check out some of the great jewelry stores in Richmond VA.

Best Jewelry Pieces for Each Occasion:

If you’re having some difficulty on which kind of jewelry would make the best gift for your special occasion, we put together a guide of which pieces will get the best message across. Of course, you know your loved one more than we do, so use your best judgment. In the end, any piece of jewelry is special.

  • Anniversary: If you are going to a vineyard for your anniversary, engraved pieces are a great choice. A ring, bracelet, or locket that has a date or message etched inside is a great way to make your trip memorable. You may also consider a three stone ring, which represents past present and future.
  • Birthday: A popular choice for a birthday is a charm bracelet. This is the perfect way to show someone how well you know and care about them. Fill the bracelet with charms of their favorite things or to represent things you’ve done together. You could use a palm tree to represent a vineyard tripbeach vacation or a tennis racket to represent their favorite pastime. A birth stone is also a great option- as long as she likes her birthstone!
  • Holiday: For a holiday, a traditional necklace, bracelet, or earrings are fine. These are days don’t require a special message or meaningful touch because you didn’t pick them! However, every girl will love a Tiffany necklace on any occasion.
  • Proposal: If you are going to a vineyard to propose, the pressure is on to find the perfect engagement ring! The first step is to look at the shape of diamond and style of ring your significant other likes best. From that point, use your budget to figure out the size. Do your research on the 4 c’s before walking into a store so you won’t be swayed in the wrong direction.

For any occasion, there is the perfect piece of jewelry to make it truly memorable. The most important part is to find something that she will love forever. Check out some vineyards in Virginia to find the best place to take a trip!

Removing Wine Stains from Your Home Carpets

So you are enjoying a beautiful weekend at home or maybe even one of your favorite wineries, and you or one of your guests spills a glass of red wine on your white carpet. Unfortunately, accidents like this happen and almost every wine lover has experienced this exact same scenario at some point. You are panicking with every second that passes because you can feel that dark stain seeping deeper and deeper into your carpet. Don’t worry Dr. Chem-Dry, the industry experts for carpet cleaning in Phoenix, are here to help you with step-by-step instructions to removing wine stains from virtually any carpet.

Step 1:

Whether your carpet is dark, light, low-pile, or high-pile, the first thing you are going to want to do is absorb as much of the liquid up from the carpet as possible. This is an important first step. Be advised that you should not apply any cleaning solution to the stain until you have extracted as much of the wine from your carpet as possible first. The Phoenix carpet cleaners at Dr. Chem-Dry advise using a white wash cloth so you are better able to see the wine being lifted from the carpet. Be sure that the cloth is clean and dry before applying it to the stain. Apply as much pressure to the cloth as possible, even by stepping on the wash cloth. This could take multiple cloths and anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes of pressure before you are able to apply the recommended cleaning solution.


Step 2:

If you have a spot carpet cleaning solution, continue by following the recommended product instructions. If you don’t have a spot cleaning product on hand don’t stress. There are multiple carpet treatments that you probably already have around the house.

Club Soda: Club Soda is an age old trick for getting virtually any stain out of any kind of fabric. It works so well because the combination of both carbonation and sodium elements act as a natural stain lifter. Pour the club soda over the spill and continue to blot with a clean, dry cloth or towel as previously described. If the stain still remains, apply a mixture of four cups of warm water and ¼ of a cup of dish soap. Continue blotting until the stain is completely removed, dilute with water, and vacuum the general area.

White Vinegar: If you don’t have club soda you can substitute by using white vinegar. Mix a home carpet cleaning solution of one tablespoon of liquid dish soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water. Using a dry wash cloth, blot the stain with your white vinegar solution. Continue to alternate between applying the vinegar solution and dabbing with a dry rag. Finish by blotting with cold water to remove any cleaning solution residue.


Step 3:

Invest in regular, professional carpet cleaning services throughout your entire home every 6 to 12 months. Properly maintaining your home carpets with regular care and maintenance will make the occasional stain removal, when needed, more successful. Also ask your local carpet cleaning expert about applying a stain resistant pre-treatment to your home carpeting as a precaution or your most active rooms or high traffic areas.

Purchasing the Right Air Conditioner

Carrier Air ConditioningWhen it comes to upgrading your home air conditioning system you don’t want to purchase an under-performing brand; because over time you will have to pay hundreds in repair and high energy costs. You will want to make sure that you look for certain criteria when looking for an air conditioning brand.  Before we go on I want to make sure that we all know we are not talking about window units – we are talking about full system air conditioning for your home.

Carrier has built a very good reputation for building affordable and reliable air conditioning systems for residential buildings. These systems have been able are built to last and even when they need repair there are many professional Carrier air conditioning repair companies, like Aire Serv. Their technicians are trained to work on these systems and get them back into operating capacity.

In order to gain the max benefit out of your new system it is important to understand a few things before making the final purchase. You need to know the amount of space that you will have to cool so that you can by a powerful enough system. If your new system is too small then you will never be able to keep your home at the temperature wanted.

The other two aspects that you want to think about when purchasing a new system is the efficiency and sound. The more powerful the condenser unit will lead to a louder operating sound which can cause some discomfort for you and your neighbors. Make sure you purchase a system that doesn’t operate about 75 decibels; it will be difficult to find an affordable system that operates lower than 40 decibels.

Finally you want to purchase one with the best SEER, seasonal energy efficiency ratio, rating. The higher the SEER rating the higher your energy savings will be. You can read California’s 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report to get a specific breakdown of how to calculate the SEER rating for your current system. This can be very complicated to do by your-self, but it is possible. The main object to remember is that the higher the rating the more your savings will be using that system.

SEER rating chart

Now you have all the tools needed to purchase the best system for your home. Remember that this is a very big investment and you should purchase a brand that has a great track record and that is easily repaired and installed. Make sure you look at the SEER rating and the decibel rating for each product before you make the final purchase.

Tips for Your Next Weekend Winery Excursion

Often times if you are planning on visiting wineries across the country, you are going to want to make an experience out of it. You may even plan an entire weekend of events and activities for your group of families and friends. After you decide which wineries you want to visit your next big decision will be choosing where you want to stay. Whether it’s a hotel or a bed a breakfast, you are going to want to have a happy and tranquil experience. But, a dirty room can really ruin the entire weekend for you and your guests. We’ve written up a checklist of the top 3 hotel items to keep in mind and examine before you get comfortable and start to unpack your bags.

Floors and Carpets

Take a good look around to check for dirt and grout. Pack a new pair of white socks and walk around the room a couple times. If the floors haven’t been properly maintained and cleaned, it will show by turning your fresh white socks to gray. Also before you check in, inquire from the hotel staff how often they have professional companies come in to maintain the floors as well as the furniture. Any reputable hotel should be able to tell you how often they have carpet, furniture, and upholstery cleaning services.

Sheets, Duvets, and Comforters

The main reason you are spending money on a hotel room is so you can have a comfortable place to rest your head. I know when I stay in a hotel I always look forward to the white, fluffy, and comfortable linen. I also prefer white bedding because it is easier to inspect. Don’t be the person that just crawls into the bed without inspecting it first. Do a thorough inspection by completely removing the comforter and any duvet covers. This way you see the bed linen from top to bottom; not just what they want you to see.

The Mattress

This is something that almost everyone forgets to do. You may think ignorance is bliss, but don’t you want to know what exactly you are sleeping on? Take all of the covers off the bed and inspect the mattress. Mattresses should be replaced once every decade, if not this can lead to increased risk for mold, bed bugs, and other bacteria. Lastly, don’t think that you are stuck with the room you are given. According to a 2009 poll from Trip Advisor, 57% of people said they have asked to change rooms due to dissatisfaction with the lack of cleanliness. If you are not satisfied with the condition of your hotel room, don’t be afraid to speak up.